Is sailing realistic? One of the most common reactions to the sailing paradigm is whether it can really be done at the organizational level. It is easier to believe it works at the personal level. Organizations, on the other hand, are objective entities with working relationships with the outside world. There are commitments to staff, clients, investors and government.

How does one wait on the wind to blow while there are salaries to pay, supplies to purchase, and government forms to fill? Is it easier to see how sailing works with a small mission agency, with volunteer staff and an understanding board of directors? Can a complex multi-level organization even dream of abandoning powerboating for sailing? These are very good questions that deserve good answers.

The answers are more accessible that we might expect. Dr. Roger Parrott, president of Belhaven College in Jackson, MS, has been applying sailing principles for several years, and has amassed a lot of practical experience. I have had the opportunity to meet Roger and visit the college twice this year.

The second time I visited Belhaven, I was part of a group of ministry leaders examining together the implications of a sailing paradigm in our work. Roger was part of our meetings and we were able to question him concerning practical applications of the paradigm. His answers consistently demonstrated that leading a large complex organization according to a sailing paradigm is not only possible but also quite beneficial to students, faculty, staff and the larger community.

Dr. Parrott has collected his insights and lessons learned in a very practical book for leaders released this month with the title “The Longview: Lasting Strategies for Rising Leaders”, (David C. Cook Publishers) The book is available at If you have been intrigued by the sailboat paradigm and wonder whether it is practical, I believe you will find Roger’s book very helpful.