Barnacles and battleships both live and work in the water. They have a very close relationship and yet it’s a positive relationship for only one of them.
Learn why you need to detect the Barnacles on your team.
Before I get into whether you want to be a Barnacle or a Battleship, let’s first take a look at the difference between the two – which, if you know anything about either one, goes beyond the obvious difference of size.
Let’s first take a look at Barnacles. If you’ve ever seen one, they look pretty harmless. They aren’t big and don’t seem to do much of anything:
- Barnacles aren’t that well known
- While there are many different kinds, the typical kind is less than an inch in size
- They can’t move on their own
- They attach themselves to things in order to live
- Typically, they attach themselves to the bottom of piers, or docks, or ships – like battleships.
Battleships, on the other hand, are built to be powerful. They’re huge and designed to move fast:
- Battleships are pretty famous ships having had important roles in many of our countries wars from the Revolutionary War through the Civil War and both World Wars, up to modern day battles.
- They’re huge – In fact the newer battleships are over 600 feet in length!
- They certainly move on their own and in fact, they have speeds up to 34 miles per hour.
- And their role in life is to move and be powerful as they travel all over the world.
I’m sure after reading that list you’d agree that Barnacles don’t even compare to Battleships! Battleships move, Barnacles don’t. Battleships are HUGE, Barnacles aren’t. Battleships are fast, Barnacles are stationary. And yet, a simple 1 inch barnacle can take down a battleship, can travel all over the world, and can even force a Battleship out of the water and into drydock!! How is that even possible?!
In order to live, a Barnacle must attach itself to something bigger and better. It can’t just live on its own, so it has to find something to mooch off of. That something is often a Battleship. Where ever that Battleship goes the Barnacle goes as well – all over the world in fact. And yet, the Barnacle can’t even move by itself, but it doesn’t have to if the Battleship does all the work. The Barnacle, incapable of moving on its own has flown through the water at speeds of up to 34 miles per hour as it hugs the bottom of the Battleship traveling to exotic and exciting locations worldwide!
So what’s wrong with that, you might ask. Maybe you’re thinking the Barnacle is pretty smart. It’s figured out how to see the world without having any ability to move by itself. And, if it was only one single 1 inch Barnacle that ever stuck to the bottom of a Battleship, I’d be holding the Barnacle up as a pretty smart crustacean super-hero.
But in fact, the Barnacle is a threat to something as powerful as a Battleship because it’s never just 1 Barnacle. They’re chicken like that. They live in groups, BIG groups and tons of them. Now imagine our Battleship with tons of Barnacles all clinging to the bottom of it while it hauls them all over the world. Suddenly our Battleship isn’t so fast-moving anymore as it slows down from the drag and extra weight caused by the Barnacles. And, because it’s now a slow-moving Battleship, it’s no longer a good one. Eventually, it might be shot at and sunk. Or, it must be hauled out of the water, put into something called dry-dock, while all those free-loading Barnacles get scrapped off its hull. So now, our Battleship can’t move at all – just like our Barnacle.
Your team has Barnacles on it as well. There are players out there who want to go every place the team goes, play in all the big tournaments, get in front of all the college coaches, and yet they never want to do all the work. Ever have any of those teammates? So they’re carried around by all the Battleships on the team – those players who are all about action, and results and going places, putting in the work and getting things done.
And, just like our friend the real Battleship, if your team gets too many free-loading Barnacles on it, it gets slowed down, dragged down, and eventually goes nowhere! You see, a Barnacle can’t move, won’t move and doesn’t want to move – but – that doesn’t mean it doesn’t want to go places. It wants to see the world, go fast, and seem big time – but only if someone else does the work.
So I ask you:
- Are you a Barnacle or a Battleship?
- Will you Eliminate the Barnacles on your Team Before They Take You Down?
For more help with this topic, and with other team chemistry issues, check out our book:
- Book: A Coach’s Guide to Creating Team Chemistry (while the title says it’s for Coaches, it’s also really helpful for players)