The Power of Perspective

Three sailing instructors walk into a regatta party. One instructor says to the others, “My students asked me, ‘If there is no racing for the day due to no wind, do we get a refund?’”

“Do we get a refund?”

If you are a sailor, that’s the punch line. I was one of the instructors and I laughed incredulously. And then I said, “What a brilliant question!”

2023 Sailing World Regatta Series – Annapolis

Sailing isn’t just a sport, it’s a culture. And for some it’s all in. Sailing takes all day, there are regatta parties at night, and that is your whole weekend. In places like Annapolis, there is weeknight sailing Monday through Friday. Your vacations are spent cruising, going to regattas, or chartering boats in gorgeous places. You plan your wedding around making sure none of your sailing friends have regattas that would conflict. Or you have your reception at a regatta.

The idea of getting a refund for no wind is hilariously preposterous to people inside this cultural bubble. In fact, in seven years of teaching sailing, no one had ever asked me this question!

And this idea is also brilliant. If you are a business strategist or a coach, this is a powerful question. This is the kind of out-of-the-box, against-the-grain thinking that revolutionizes industries, helps companies gain market share in an economic downturn, and helps executives reframe problems.

So, if you see a sailing school start offering refunds to gain market share, or a regatta start offering refunds to get more entries, or an executive willing to look at at a situation in reverse or upside down, think about that student, asking a question.

Start asking questions. It’s amazing what can happen!