The submarine story

Once more, I have been to a conference given by Jean-François Zobrist. It’s always the same ; he tells what he have learned during the years he was managing FAVI ; and it’s always different as he adapts the content to the audience.

This conference was organized by Germe Bordeaux groups at ISG. Germe started as an initiative of APM, a not for profit organization regrouping entrepreuneur’s local clubs to improve their management practices. Jean-François Zobrist tell stories connected to what he has learned during APM or Germe’s sessions.

This post to deliver one of those stories, and to invite you to met him in a conference or to read what he wrote to transmit all the learnings

So, the story. During one session organized by Germe, they invited a nuclear submarine captain to explain his management role. They were really surprised by the fact that the captain is not supposed to do anything in the day to day of the submarine. He could spend all his days in his cabin without being disturb by anyone.

What if an “enemy” submarine was just crawling in front of their nose? The team would not disturb him as they know perfectly what to do in those kind of situation. But if a shoal of fish looked really too similar to a shoal of fish for the board instruments, then they will probably call him.

This short story shows the importance to setting an efficient system (people, teams, organization, processes…) and to let this system work, and at the same time listen to weak signals that will drive today’s actions or tomorrow’s innovation.

He explained that when a surgeon was explaining the challenge of heart operation was to deal with the clock, because of the growth of microbes. Favi started to look at this problem and develop new antimicrobial alloys.


Header image is the “Typhoon3” by Bellona Foundation. Licensed under Copyrighted free use via Commons.