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take-off-surf copie

The take off

This is the magical and dangerous moment when the wave lifts you up, and your speed and the wave’s speed are as one.  With this speed you will be able to stand up.

Depending on the height of the wave, this is an impressive moment, or not.  If the wave is 3 metres high and you mess up the take off you will fall 3 metres and will be swallowed up in about 3 metres of foam.  You will instantly sink 3 metres because foam is made up mainly of air and you will have the unpleasant sensation of being inside a washing machine.

A manager can take from this the importance of a sense of timing, courage and an ability to take quick decisions.

A manager must understand his or her environment and the wave (the competition, the economic environment, etc.) and understand how to be synchronised with its movement.   It is also vital to choose exactly the right moment – starting too soon or too late and both the surfer and the manager are finished, lost – left waiting for the next opportunity or the next wave.

In today’s world both the surfer and the manager must demonstrate agility, flexibility and adaptability.  With a successful take off, the surfer will use the wave’s speed to stand up and make a quick turn, so as not to be caught up by the foam, and continue to surf the breaking wave (to the left or the right).  A manager must not rest on his laurels, the start of the business, the new product, the new service or the project has been a success, but everything is still to play for!  He must continue to balance on the wave.

Both the manager and the surfer must find the invisible rhythm of the wave and get in tune with it.  The manager must connect his or her team to the raw, indescribable power which is the chaos of today.  The days of the industrial revolution with its flat hierarchical structure, with its fixed job descriptions and power in the hands of a few is disappearing – to be replaced by the surfer who is perfectly connected to the environment – to the ocean: the surfer adapts to it.  Our world today is interconnected and interdependent: at a personal level and the level of ideas.

The drop which follows the take off is the moment which changes the surfer and the manager.  It is an intense moment of freedom; you have succeeded to be as one with the movement of your surroundings.  Your product has been launched, your decision has been made and it has started to bear fruit.  You have the satisfying feeling that you are learning far more about yourself than you did during hours of coaching.  It is at this exact moment that the manager will share the sense of the mission with the team.  In becoming part of the system and in becoming as one with the movement they will discover and participate in what the company really is about – its direction and its creativity – finding the freedom and the inventiveness of the surfer to arrive on the beach ready play a role in something altogether bigger than they have known before – the ocean.


Charles-Henri Dumon, CEO & Founder of Morgan Philips Group @CHDumonMorgan


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