California Pizza Kitchen Inspires Action on Sailing Adventure

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Executives of the California Pizza Kitchen are creating positive change within their organization taking the time to invest in their most important asset, their people.  Keeping this in the forefront of their mind, they were challenged to learn, communicate, and constantly adapt to a changing environment as they sailed through Newport harbor.

When you examine the characteristics of a successful organizations, the ability to challenge the status quo always surfaces.  In sailing, like in an organization, what is working now will not be the best strategy to use in the future.  In fact, attaching yourself to one strategy will undoubtedly take the wind out of your sails, pardon the pun.

These executives experienced a profound business process when examining changing wind patterns or water currents.  That by recognizing, communicating, and then taking action as one unit, they were able to move forward no matter what conditions were present.

In order to get to places you have never been you must think and act in ways you have never before.  For these executives, only a handful with sailing experience, they were challenged to learn skills in sailing.

Once you have a fundamental grasp of skills and talents you must constantly adapt and change with the environment.  You may have the most talented person at tacking the sail to the starboard side, but if you do this when the wind is blowing the opposite direction, no matter how good you may be at tacking, you will not go anywhere.

By the end of the day each these executives were pointing out ripples in the water, flags blowing in different directions, and changing wind patterns within the sails.  These are called indicators, and if you can effectively identify these you will have a significant advantage over anyone on the water.

Capturing their performance here as a direct translation to the success of California Pizza Kitchen, they were reminded to ask themselves the question, “What are the indicators within my work?”

Just as that person talented at tacking the sail will fail without any direction, an employee equally skilled at his job is doomed to the same fate if no one pays attention to the indicators of the environment.

California Pizza Kitchen left this adventure with the realization that change is inevitable, but if you use it to leverage your ability to thrive, then you will be unstoppable.


June 18, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Executive Retreat, Executive Teams | No comment

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