What might you find hidden under your nose?

bioluminescence cayman

Last night was my last evening on this trip to Cayman.

I took my boys on a Bioluminescent Bay tour with Cayman Kayaks.

As you can imagine from the photo above, it is an amazing experience to see the light emanating from micro-organisms as you swish your feet, arms etc through the warm Cayman waters.

What also blew my sons and me away, though, was the location of this amazing natural spectacle in Grand Cayman.

Though these night-time tours are quite a new attraction, this natural phenomenon had been right under our noses all the time.

What might you find hidden right under your nose?

So, we thought that the boat tour would have to take us into some isolated cay that had been newly discovered as having bioluminescence.

Imagine our surprise then, when we realised that they took us into a shallow bay full of holiday homes, places we had visited many times for weekend barbeques and get-togethers over the years. At those afternoon gatherings kids would often kayak and play in the water, yet never did we have any sense of the millions of bioluminescent organisms present.

In fact, that bay is, apparently, one of only six such known bays in the world where bioluminescence is consistently present.

So, how was it discovered? Well, I guess all it took was someone to kayak at night in the dark of the moon and see the light coming off their paddle. Why did that take so long? I can imagine that people typically wouldn’t kayak at night in a bay full of holiday homes, kayaking is a daytime activity in that area.

Now, since the first tour company started this, several others have joined the party, so there are lots of people doing such tours now (though it is not at all crowded yet, still tranquil and a feeling of being a special discovery).

Learnings for Leaders

Now, for many years I was involved closely in national tourism policy and marketing for Cayman. Never once did I have any clue we had such an amazing asset under our noses, nor did my peers in those meetings rooms and conferences.

Perhaps because I wasn’t out working on the water giving kayak tours then going out one evening and accidentally discovering the presence of bioluminescence.

I take my thoughts on this to general business leadership and the power of trusting people in your organisation, at all levels, to come up with new ideas for the leadership, rather than all the ideas coming from the top.

Of course, this happens often in almost all organisations at some level, but there is also a level of “top-down” belief that the best ideas come from the visionary CEOs etc.

We could all do more to encourage people at all levels of their value and that they may be the ones to find the hidden assets right under our noses.

How might we do that? Many ways. Let’s start with asking them for their ideas as to what might be hidden under our noses, and let us ask them often and consistently.

Also published on Medium.