Thursday, November 2, 2017

My response to NAUI Dive Team Report 10/26/2017 Podcast...



I'm not sure if "Culture" is the correct way to define what's the issue at hand and what needs to be changed. You mentioned that "the educator is up against cheap and quick." I think that's the real problem. It's not that the industry necessarily wants it that way, but somewhere, someone thought that's what the consumer wanted, and did everything to convince them of it. Now, everyone thinks it's this way -- the industry promotes it that way. I believe that it doesn't have to be done like this. The reason NAUI excels in the marketplace is specifically because, the other agencies can't compete with us. They won't do work, they won't put in the time, and they often believe that a dive shop or dive equipment is the gateway to diving that all divers need. As we all know, certification cards and fancy gear doesn't create divers... Diving and dive education does. Alex Byrlske said it best, "Certification alone does not guarantee competence." NAUI's educational process and giving the instructor the flexibility to meet the needs of each student is how we will always come out on top. But, there is a piece of the existing ideology that must be changed, and that is that the student should be lead to believe that by the end of their initial course that they are better than they are. Some students are even lead to believe that they have mastered their skills after their initial certification dives. Because of this, continuing education is minimal and refresher courses allow the card holder to not practice with regularity because two hours in the pool is what they are being allowed to pay for after years away from diving. That doesn't mean that I'll never cut the proverbial "umbilical cord" from my students and set them off on their own, rather it means that I have to give them a better set of tools to use by the time that happens. I allude to this by something I hear instructors in the Pacific Northwest tell their students. "If you can dive here, you can dive anywhere." Not only is that not true, but often those students that enter the warm, clear, tropical waters are worse off than prior to their first pool session. The statement is only true when the diver takes the skills they learned in the Pacific Northwest and applies them at and during their tropical dive destination, not because of their arrival. I've seen a lot of instructors that swim the swim, but don't dive the dive -- and they're very often not NAUI instructors. Training isn't about performing a skill, it's understanding why we do the skill the way we do... Training is knowing (among several other things) that a diver's instruments doesn't tell them how long, how deep, how much, and how not to, but confirms the actions and information that they should already know. The best instrument the diver should always take with them over all others is that grey matter between their ears. Their instructors are teaching that, right? One definition of "Culture" I found is "the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, encompassing language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts." This would be synonymous with a stating and believing that graduating from law school and medical school creates lawyers and doctors all the while never conceding that some people are terrible orators (able to tell a convincing story) and others have terrible interpersonal relationship skills (have a good bedside manner). What I believe has to change are the agency's "just culture." It's time to hold organizations accountable for poorly designed systems. We need to create a "Brand." Be what the student thinks of when they tell others about scuba. If we don't build relationships, scuba will fail. We need to rethink scuba because for every educator, scuba is not a sport, but a lifestyle, way of life, catharsis, and connection to a bigger and greater world. "The Brand" is the student's perception of their instructor and what they learned. Someone that gets them, didn't pressure them, that coached them, that motivated them to build the confidence they always had, to express the competence we believe they're capable of. When the customer becomes the student, then the student becomes the diver, and the diver manages the intangible, anything is possible. "Brand” is not just an offer for service or just running a business, but showing them how to do something they've never done before and helping them to learn to trust themselves over that internal voice telling them to bolt to the surface. A diver, stops, breathes, thinks, then acts... a c-card holder does not. In all, some of this may sound beyond the scope of teaching someone how to scuba dive, but...

"The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership."
--Harvey S. Firestone


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