Being a Trimtab

By Shae Hadden | Bio

With each passing day, it seems as if every environmental and social crisis we’re facing is heading into even more dangerous waters. In the conversations I’ve been having, it has been quickly apparent to me who is resigned about this state of affairs and who is engaged and in action. Although the latter group appears to me (for the moment) to be in the minority, I’m reminded of Buckminster Fuller’s concept of the ‘trimtab factor’ and of the potential influence a small group of people can have on the future…and I am inspired by their actions.

Similar to how a trimtab influences the course of a large ocean-going ship, we can shift the direction we’re heading in any large-scale issue by leveraging the influence of a powerful sector of society. ‘Being a trimtab’ is analogous to being the small tab-sized rudder on the back of the enormous rudder on a great ocean liner. The mass and momentum of such a large ship may be enormous, but when a small amount of pressure is exerted on the trimtab, it uses the resistance of the ocean to create the force/energy to turn the big rudder and alter the course of the vessel. The ‘trimtab factor’ in the world today could very well be all about leveraging that sector of society that has the power to influence our global village—the business community. Businesses are made up of people, and it’s those individuals in action who can ‘be the trimtabs’, the leaders of change who are committed to creating a world that works.

Today, I am committing to ‘being a trimtab’, to developing people as leaders who are empowered to take on turning the seemingly intractable problems of the world into unpredictable opportunities.

Thank you, Jim, for your commitment to empowering and developing me as a leader and for making it possible for me to make this commitment.