Mutiny – An open rebellion against authority.

Teams and leaders are such important functions in our world. People who lead and people who follow. The essence of the thing is that the people who follow are inspired by the people who lead – or at least think they know where they are going!

Mutiny happens when people – or at least one person – stops believing in their leader and starts thinking there might be a better way, or that they might do a better job.

For me it was all about there being a better way, I knew there was, I’d been a part of it. To now be expected to put up with a terrible way, was unacceptable. It helped that I was new to the team and didn’t really know or like the boss, it helped that I had a friend.

When I started working on my second cruise ship nobody in the shops ever got off in our home port – that’s the place where the passengers go home and all the new food and stock comes onboard and it’s often the place where the ship is registered.

On my previous ship we had always got our stores (new stock) in and unpacked within a couple of hours and then gone off the ship for lunch, shopping, maybe even to catch a movie. It was our only time in America and it was precious to me.

On my new ship it took ages to find the stores, everyone dawdled putting it away and then they went for lunch halfway through! We never got off the ship in America and that was unacceptable to me.

I talked to our manager, asked her why nobody got off, why it took so long. She believed it was impossible to finish in enough time to get off and had no intention of changing anything. She probably also thought I was a rude, ignorant, upstart and had no intention of letting me get my own way. But I was determined.

I talked to my new roommate about how we used to do it and how I believed we could do it here. she wasn’t particularly positive but was willing to try it. She was lovely and friendly and had been on the ship a while.

The next time stores came on she and I didn’t go for lunch but stayed behind to unpack the boxes. The week after that two more people stayed behind and we finished half an hour faster. The week after that almost everyone but the top team stayed behind and we finished an hour and a half faster. The problem now though was that the stores weren’t getting to us fast enough in the morning.

The next week I negotiated to get off with our Assistant Manager first thing in the morning. He was used to standing around waiting, I went off to find our stores. I didn’t know what I was doing or where I was going but we got them found, I explained the difference it would make to get them sooner and they were delivered.

From then on our stores were one of the first things to get on the ship. We all worked like trojans as soon as they came on to get them unpacked and then we got off the ship.

In ship terms I mutinied against my manager to get my own way. In my mind I saw a better way to do things and when I couldn’t change her mind I demonstrated the solution to my teammates. I led the way. I was willing to miss lunch to make my point, and my friend was already with me.

In this day and age I think many of us can see a better way. Perhaps for us it’s more inclusive, or more environmentally protective, perhaps it’s better for our children or for our sick but our leaders seem to have a different vision in mind.

The concept of mutiny changes its name when it gets on land: rebellion. Historically (and contemporarily) rebellions have been nasty and bloody, but that doesn’t mean they have to be.

Get enough people on your side, convince them of the vision in your head and get clear that mass and sense must take precedence over guns and force, and then get to work.

The world can be a better place, our leaders are driving us off course, I don’t know why but I think it’s high time for a mutiny.


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