A Workplace “Change” Lesson from a Rafting Guide

My wife and I and 24 others were standing on the river bed of the Gallatin River preparing our rafts for a white water excursion while on vacation.

After placing the rafts on the edge of the water, the head rafting guide call us together for a safety talk.

The instructions were pretty generic, and some basic common sense but did include specific scenarios we needed to aware of.

About mid-way through the 10-minute talk, a young boy of about 12 years old raised his hand.

The guide acknowledged him for a question.

I couldn’t hear it completely, but it began with “what if…”

Without skipping a beat replied the guide replied:

“Young man, in life there are a lot of ‘what if’s,” you’re just going to have to adapt and overcome!”

With that the guide gave us a few more instructions after which the young man’s hand was again in the air.

His older sister standing in front of me begged the guide not to call on her little brother again, to no avail.

Another “what if” question ensued.

The guide responded with just 3 words, “adapt and overcome!”

I thought that was such great advice, especially for a very impressionable young man like that.

So many of my small business clients seem to struggle with employees who struggle with “change” in their workplace.

In the 21st century change is coming at us faster than ever, especially regarding technology.

Employees of different ages and generations are all struggling with various levels of change.

Small business leaders must be steadfast in their expectations regarding employees dealing with workplace change.

The expectation should be that employees be proactive in identifying ways to “adapt and overcome.”

If a 12-year old boy rafting down white water rapids can do it, adult employees in a work environment certainly can.

’til next time, make it a great week!



P.S.- To triple your ability to communicate with impact over the next year, get 52 Power Words sent to you, one per week for a year at  www.52PowerWords.com to subscribe today!

5 thoughts on “A Workplace “Change” Lesson from a Rafting Guide

  1. Arthur Bodiker says:

    I have learned from a few good Marines that the culture of the Corp is “Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome”. This culture is conspicuously absent from just about everywhere. What I believe your readers would appreciate is how Improvise works in communication.

  2. Skip Weisman, Workplace Communication Expert says:

    Thank you for being inspired to leave a comment here in response to my article. I appreciate your comments and suggestion and will work on doing as you suggest, as I agree it would be helpful to offer communication tips to be able to “improvise, adapt and overcome.” My raft guide left out the improvise piece, which after working in an Improv Troupe for a year, I learned an awful lot about how to do that. Look for some thoughts later this week.

  3. MANUEL DE ACUÑA says:

    Adapt and Overcome,
    I’d like to add to these two words: “The Show must go on”
    We are living in a world where everything changes very fast. You are working in a safety job and tomorow you have to begin a new life, may be you become unemployed after a long safe time of hard work in a good company. Yes, you have to adapt and overcome all kind of situations because “the show must go on”.
    Thanks Skip for your always interesting advices.

  4. Garry Williams says:

    Skip, this blog article really struck a chord with me and I think it is exactly the type of mindset and approach every small business must have.

    We have a small team ​here at Utility Survey Corp. and I’ve forwarded this article to everyone on our staff. I’m making it required reading.

    I always tell people that running this small business is way harder than running a much larger one I had many years ago back in the UK.

    How could that be?

    Well, with big companies you can be assured of finding someone to step in and take on the tasks of others when an unexpected need arises.

    With a company of our small size this is almost impossible. But, we still need to get the job done.

    Our clients and team members are relying on each of us to be at our individual posts.

    I think your email explains what our mindset, as owners, operators and employees of small businesses should be when thinking about our responsibility to clients, co-workers, and how we approach life in general.

  5. Skip Weisman, Workplace Communication Expert says:

    Thank you for your comment. I’m pleased you found value in the article and are using it as an internal resource for your team at Utility Survey Corp..

    Many people can have an initial knee jerk reaction to dealing with the unexpected which causes them to recoil and resist those situations. I’ve found it useful to expect something unexpected to happen, always, which makes it easier to take an immediate “adapt and overcome” mindset into situations.

    Thanks, again for the comment and please come back again.

Comments are closed.