Teach Them to Yearn for the Sea

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men and women to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea. — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry site

One will weave the canvas; another will fell a tree by the light of his ax. Yet another will forge nails, and there will be others who observe the stars to learn how to navigate. And yet all will be as one. Building a boat isn’t about weaving canvas, forging nails, or reading the sky. It’s about giving a shared taste for the sea, by the light of which you will see nothing contradictory but rather a community of love.


Here we find inspiration for the kind of work that inspires self-organizing growth in reliability of complex systems.

Learning from incidents will gradually and steadily build a library of learning reports and related themes. The persistent, even stubborn truths about our system will emerge from the steady growth of this body of learning reports and themes.

For further inspiration, see also Flight Operations at Sea.

See also Cormac Russell's Four Modes of Change: To, For, With, By: pdf