Smooth sailing: How harbor dredging offers insights into prioritizing our strategic focus

A dredging ship anchored in a harbor and working on the shipping lane

I recently had the chance to get away with my family for a little beach vacation in Oceanside, CA. The beach where we stay is right next to the harbor entrance, which is used by private, commercial, and even the Marines at Camp Pendleton. As we pulled up to the beach, we saw a very large vessel situated in the middle of the harbor inlet connected to a large pipe which ran from the vessel to the beach and then south past the pier.

I was curious about what was going on, and thanks to a quick Google search, I quickly learned something new. The ocean currents constantly move sand around. Over time, sandy beaches are eroded, and that sand ends up in many places, including the mouth of the harbor. If nothing were done, the beaches that so many people enjoy would be eroded, and buildings near the beach would be endangered. Additionally, the harbor entrance would become shallower, creating a dangerous obstacle for ships attempting to pass through, and creating dangerous waves where there should be calm waters.

Basically, every year the Army Corps of Engineers coordinates with the City of Oceanside and a private contractor to dredge the harbor. The process of dredging removes the sand from where it shouldn’t be and places it where is should be.

That’s cool Brian, but what does this have to do with anything? Well, I’ll tell you. We are almost halfway through 2024. We all have a lot of initiatives, goals, and projects that we have been working on this year, but I would guess that not everything has gone to plan.

Just like those currents that move sand, taking it from a place where it should be and depositing it somewhere it shouldn’t be, we are faced with constant external influences that alter our priorities. Our focus and efforts start to mount in a place where they shouldn’t be, and we ignore other areas that we should prioritize.

So, I am recommending we take some time to do a little strategic dredging. This includes the following:

  • Look back at where you wanted to be at this time and find any areas where our attention has eroded. Whether it was our strategic plan or our personal to-do list, we all get a little distracted from time to time. Let’s first find out where we are lacking focus and attention to make sure our strategic beach doesn’t erode too much.
  • Find out where you are currently focusing and determine if that is creating an obstacle. Are we working hard but focusing in all the wrong places? Just like the sediment building up in the harbor, we can impede our own progress if our actions aren’t aligned with our priorities.
  • Make a plan and realign your efforts with your priorities. Now that you know where you need to make adjustments, patiently create balance. Dredging takes concentrated effort and coordination to do properly, but the results are worth it.

This year, 266,000 cubic yards of material were removed from the Oceanside Harbor and placed on Oceanside beaches. Now the beaches are ready for everyone to enjoy this summer and ships can safely pass through the harbor channel. How much balance could we bring to our organizations if we take a little time to reprioritize our focus through the end of the year?

Brian Lee

Brian Lee

Brian Lee is the President/CEO for Landings Credit Union in Tempe, AZ after previously serving as the credit union's Chief Financial Officer. Brian joined the credit union movement after ... Web: Details