Moving Forward into Digital

internet

I had been asked to do a presentation to a group of technical divers in Dubai on some of the ship wrecks that I have been fortunate enough to discover off Durban, South Africa along with Dave Griffiths, PADI Examiner and TEC Instructor Trainer as my co-presenter. I had planned to arrive in Dubai at 5am on the direct flight from Durban with Emirates Airlines, get in a few hours sleep and be ready and set up for the start of the presentation at 7pm.

The day before I checked in online and the flight was on time. I spoke with Ahmed Sayed, the PADI Regional Manager for the Middle East and he confirmed that there would be close to 100 attendees for the presentation. I arrived at King Shaka International three hours before the flight, checked in and went through to the International Departures hall. About an hour before boarding we were notified that due to bad weather the plane had been delayed by three hours. No problem, as I still had plenty of time. Needless to say, South Africa was hit that evening by extensive thunderstorms with terrible flooding, hailstorms and strong winds. I eventually got to board my flight at 2 pm the next afternoon. There was no way that I was going to make the presentation in time given that I was in for an eight hour flight.

Fortunately I had remembered that Emirates Airlines has Internet connection on the plane. I had confirmed with the very helpful ground staff that our plane had internet and confirmed that it was working. I told Ahmed that I was still going to do the presentation, but it would be from the air and not in front of the audience live. I Dropboxed Ahmed my Powerpoint Presentation and ran through it with him. Ahmed was to set up everything at the conference Centre and I would connect via Skype. We arranged to meet online two hours prior to the start of the presentation to check that everything would work. The Emirates flight crew had arranged for me to use the rear Galley to do the presentation from as this would give me some privacy.

We took off and I waited for the seatbelt sign to switch off. Twenty minutes later I had my laptop out, logged on to the airplanes wifi, bought 500 megs of data for $1 and connected to Ahmed in Dubai. Absolutely mind boggling.

in flight internet

The connection was fantastic. The sound was clear and I could control the presentation from my laptop. Just then we encountered same bad turbulence and I was sent back to my seat. This was minutes before the presentation was due to start.

So I ended up doing the presentation 35 000 feet above the ground, somewhere over Kenya, some 4000 km from Dubai, with the laptop resting on my lap, earphones on and all my co passengers sitting in the seats around me listening intently to the presentation.

My presentation lasted 56 minutes. Not once did I loose connection, the audible was clear and in real time and the presentation went by without a hitch. Something I would struggle to do even from my home office.

tec-diving-dubai

The next day when I went visiting the dive centres in Dubai, everyone seemed more amazed by the fact that I had done the presentation from the plane rather than the content of the talk. Ah well, I will just have to up my game.

Having to try to tell someone this story 10 years ago would have been like trying to convince someone that unicorns existed. Not possible. And yet it worked and we have the technology to do it. No longer do we need to send a pigeon with a bit of paper strapped to its leg to deliver a message.

The diving industry has seen this revolution and entry into the digital age. PADI has all the core courses available to download to your mobile device onto your PADI Library. Your prospective customers could be 4000 miles away, 35 000 feet up in the air doing their Dive Theory, Knowledge reviews and exams, ready and prepared for the start of the course when they land.

padi digital products

Times have changed and our customers expect to have the latest technological offerings available to them. They want to have the opportunity to decide when, where and how they do their theoretical knowledge. Nothing is ever going to replace the need for an instructor in the swimming pool or open water, but by using the digital materials available to you, you can then spend more time in the water with a better prepared student, practicing the required motor skills and applying their theoretical knowledge.

I have found that quite often it is the Instructors that are resistant to change. They find that it is comforting to teach using the methods they were taught with. And then they use this as a reason that their customers would prefer the traditional paper and classroom methods for receiving lectures.

If you don’t offer your customers the full range of products that are available, they will seek out those dive centres that do. Maybe it’s time to move forward into the digital era?

 

Soft Skills Do Matter.

stand-out

When you applied for your first job as a PADI Scuba Instructor you probably listed all the courses that you have done, what skills you have mastered, what courses you have attended, even your accomplishments at school. And these are all important to get a job. Just as you as an Instructor needs to have the knowledge and skills to dive, so do as an example dentists need to know how to fill holes in your teeth and perform root canal treatment.

Beyond the technical skills expected from a dentist, which dentist do you go to? The one who is pleasant and takes time to answer your questions; or the one who treats you like a number in a long line of numbered mouths?

In these situations, and all the others like them, it’s the soft skills that matter.

While your technical skills may get your foot in the door, your people skills are what open most of the doors to come. Your work ethic, your attitude, your communication skills, your emotional intelligence and a whole host of other personal attributes are the soft skills that are crucial for career success.

With these soft skills you can excel as a leader. Problem solving, delegating, motivating, and team building are all much easier if you have good soft skills. Knowing how to get along with people – and displaying a positive attitude – are crucial for success.

The problem is, the importance of these soft skills is often undervalued, and there is far less training provided for them than hard skills. For some reason, dive centres seem to expect people know how to behave on the job. They tend to assume that everyone knows and understands the importance of being on time, taking initiative, being friendly, and producing high quality work.

However, when you look around your own dive centre, it is usually fairly easy to find those employees lacking soft skills. They are the ones unwilling to accept any kind of change, the ones unable to properly manage subordinates, and the ones constantly upset about one thing or another (whether in their professional or personal life).

What should a manager do with employees lacking these skills? Fire them? Just put up with them? Why not help them develop the skills?

Dive Center Divers

Assuming that soft skills are universal leads to much frustration. That’s why it’s so important to focus as much on soft skills training and development as you do on traditional hard skills.

Soft skills can’t be learned by just studying about them. They have to be learned through a process of change that can be difficult and uncomfortable at times, but it can have dramatic effects on your company’s bottom line. The following six-step process is a basic overview:

1. WILLINGNESS TO CHANGE

While this isn’t a big step, it is an important prerequisite. You cannot force people to become more self-aware; they must be willing to begin the process of change themselves. If this basic building block is not present, there isn’t much that can be learned through this process. If this is the case in your dive centre, there are many good resources available for creating “readiness for change.”

2. EDUCATION

While learning soft skills is not simply “book learning,” there still must be an aspect of education on best practices. Reading books like Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and Marshall Goldsmith’s What Got You Here Won’t Get You There are great starting places for learning the basics.

3. EVALUATION

It is one thing to know the best practices—it is another to know how you measure up against them. Assessments help to evaluate where an employee stands (areas of strength and areas in need of improvement) as well as to describe the natural tendencies an individual has. It is important to include both self-assessments and assessments that include input from others as both types give important feedback. Does your dive centre even do staff assessments?

4. SELF-REFLECTION

Once employees have learned more about themselves (strengths, faults, tendencies, etc.), it is necessary for them to reflect on what they have learned. Are they humble enough to realize they aren’t perfect? Are they willing to put in the effort to grow even though it may be difficult and uncomfortable? Can they understand their natural tendencies and see how they interact with others?

Go

5. GOAL SETTING

Defining a clear vision for the future is an important next step, which should involve choosing three to five tangible goals to work toward. These goals should be developed from the information learned through the process (especially feedback from others), and then should be shared with others (supervisors, direct reports, peers) so observers are able to notice the changes and hold the employee accountable.

6. PRACTICE

Soft skills do no good in a vacuum. They have to be put into practice in “real life” over a long period of time. Some failure is inevitable, but growth will come. After a few months, employees working toward change should revisit the goals with coworkers to gauge the progress being made.

This process can be done on an individual basis or in groups; it can be completed internally or with an outside facilitator; it can be used at work or at home—but the key takeaway is that it is a process. It’s different than book learning and can take some time, so be patient. In the end, the time invested will be worth it—both to the employees involved and the dive centres bottom line!

 

Open Water Touch Affiliation Links Available in More Languages

Add links to your website and automatically affiliate Touch or eLearning students with your store so you generate revenue around the clock. Use the link below and plug in your store number along with the corresponding course ID.

Affiliation links are now available for Open Water Diver Touch in these additional languages: Spanish, Polish, Korean, German, French, Italian, Arabic, Dutch, Japanese and Portuguese.

For Touch, Certification Paks and eLearning use:

https://www.padi.com/elearning-scuba-registration/default.aspx?irra=StoreNumber&courseid=CourseID

For ReActivate use:

http://apps.padi.com/scuba-diving/shopping-cart/product/productAffiliation?ProductId=B4956EA2-9985-4356-A9DA-42BEF212D8D8&StoreNumber=StoreNumber

Here’s the full list of available affiliation links:

Make sure you check your Courses Offered preferences under the My Account section in the PADI Pros’ Site so you can use the corresponding affiliation links. If the proper courses are not set up in the Pros’ Site, your store will not be auto-affiliated.

Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

On my travels over the past year or so to many different types, sizes and locations of dive centres I have come across many different types of plans in these dives centres. Although there are many dive centres that have plans and strategies in place there are very many that do not. Of this group of dive centres I think that the types of planning I see can be broadly grouped into two main categories. The first and most common one I see is the “Make it up as we go” strategy. The second type is the dive centre that has a year plan proudly displayed in the office but mid way through the year hasn’t implemented any of the well thought out plans they had put together for the year.

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Having a plan within your business becomes critical to staying ahead of the competition and significant to the future success of your business. Failure to acknowledge the power of planning can be the end to any growth within a business and if you don’t know where your business is going, it’s going nowhere.

Regardless of what method of planning you decide to carry out, there are a few basic questions you should be trying to answer in your planning processes. These questions should include some of the following:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to go?
  • How are we going to get there?
  • Who will do what and by when?
  • How are we measuring our success?

This is a pretty simple way to describe planning but if you are focusing on some form of these questions, you can put together a road map for your dive business. The planning process does not have to be complicated. In fact, if your planning process is complicated then you run the risk that nobody  will understand it or people will interpret it in a different way to what you had envisioned.

There are two types of plans to implement. The first is your strategic plan. This is developing a strategy for the dive business. The second part is the planning. What steps need to be taken to execute the Dive businesses strategy.

PADI Instructor 1

Some of the benefits of Strategic Planning include the following:

  • Provides a method for decision making within a business.
  • Allow staff to ask and answer important questions within a business.
  • Should reveal future opportunities and concerns.
  • Sets objectives and goals for the business and staff.
  • Provides a measuring stick for performance.
  • Develops team and team work that is focused on the business’s future

Having a Business Strategy gives your dive business the ability to better anticipate and prepare for change. You’ll lose valuable momentum being reactive rather than proactive. Customer expectations, competition, and economic changes are all variables that can rock the dive boat and send you to the sea floor if you don’t have strategies in place.  

The lack of a strategic plan can also send your employees morale down to the sea floor too. Besides the obvious need for your employees to receive a salary they need a reason to come to work everyday. Without a focused plan, morale falls and employee interaction becomes vague and lifeless. A good plan lets your employees know who is doing what, why they’re doing it, and how they individually contribute to the success of your dive business.

Having a plan allows you to set benchmarks and assists you in assessing your performance. A  plan requires you to measure and document performance. Doing so will allow you to benchmark where you’ve been, allowing you to adjust your trajectory of where you are going. Documenting data is a wise business decision to keep your organization moving forward. Do you know how many certifications, launches, charter customers you had in the same period last year and what are you aiming for in the months to come?

Failing to plan is indeed planning to fail.

Changes in Attitudes

Attitude… Its a little thing that makes a BIG difference!

How often have you heard this? On your path to becoming a PADI Pro you would have realised that there are people that you have met along the way that have had such an amazing attitude and have positivity influenced you but just the same you have met people that just should not have got out of bed that morning.

PADI Instructor 1PADI Instructor 2

Enhance or change your attitude toward scuba instruction by identifying the importance of your role, and  professional duty, as a recreational diving counsellor…

A great instructor not only conveys knowledge and skills, but also transfers enthusiasm for our sport to the student. Why did you decide to become a PADI Instructor? At some point in your career there was probably a PADI Instructor that so inspired you or positivity changed you that all you could think about was one day becoming like that person.

In the dive centre or resort that you are currently working at or have recently visited there will be instructors and dive masters that you are drawn to and like to dive with or listen to them interacting with their students. You may noticed that these PADI Pros are truly living the dream. but what are the attributes that are making them successful?

Today’s diving consumer:

  • Interested in many sports
  • May only dive once/twice a year
  • Free time is at a premium
  • May be 5-10 years old!

So…

  • Challenge and thrill of new experiences is critical
  • Your experience and enthusiasm with regard to success in the experience is invaluable

Why do people come to us for our services? If you ask your students most of them will include high up in their list that they wanted to become a diver to have some fun. Too often the Instructors goal is to simply get the student certified and they forget about having fun themselves and with their students.

Change your attitude. Your new goal should be to create lifelong divers rather than certifying students.

What do we Sell?

What do we sell?

Fun

This is generated though a transfer of enthusiasm for our sport through proper equipment counselling, challenging and adventurous educational experiences. If the diver is enjoying himself/herself (having fun), the investment in equipment, further education and additional experiences is just the means to the desired end.

Equipment

The most influential person on when, where and what a student buys is…

The PADI Instructor!!!

Surveys indicate that 65% of PADI divers made buying decisions based on recommendations from their instructor.

Equipment Sales

Prepare them for success with proper equipment outfitting

  • Will the students be more comfortable?
  • Is it critical to be more comfortable in initial training?
  • Might they progress better with consistency in their equipment?
  • Might it be safer?
  • Will they have more fun?

Education Counselling

  • Your attitude toward learning experiences is key to success
  • Must truly believe in benefit of training to achieving student’s goals
  • Challenging educational programs entwined with new equipment exposure and adventurous experiences will maintain the diver’s interest in our sport

Experience Counselling

  • Adventurous experiences may be the impetus to buy equipment and continue training
  • The thrill and allure of experiences could have been the spark of their interest
  • Extreme exposure is attractive
  • Extreme exposure requires equipment
  • Your experience contributing to theirs is invaluable

Have a look at how you are doing things in your dive centre. Have a look at your approach towards your students. When you arrive tomorrow morning try and have fun.

The Power of Attitude

“Our lives are not determined by what happens to us, but by how we react to what happens; not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life.  A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes.  It is a catalyst…a spark that creates extraordinary results.”

Instructor

 

PADI Pro Member Benefit #8: Free Digital PADI Instructor Manual

manual-digital

All PADI Professionals who have renewed their PADI Pro membership for 2016 will automatically get free access to the digital edition of the latest PADI Instructor Manual.

The PADI Instructor manual provides all PADI Standards and performance requirements for core PADI courses and programs in a simple, user-friendly format. The digital edition benefits from navigation menus to help search for specific terms or standards with the click of a button.

To download the PADI Instructor Manual, visit the PADI Pros’ Site and select ‘Training Essentials > Digital Instructor Manual’.

manual

You can then choose to download:

  • The latest edition of the PADI Instructor Manual (*2016 edition coming soon)
  • Versions from previous years
  • Summaries of the changes between each year
  • PADI Instructor Manuals in other languages

PADI Professionals who would still prefer a paper-based copy of the PADI Instructor Manual can order theirs from their PADI Sales Consultant or eShop.

Remember: Renew your 2016 PADI Professional Membership before 31st January 2016 and you’ll be able take advantage of our special renewal offers. Find out more here.

Ready to renew? Click here to renew your membership online, or contact Customer Services by email ([email protected]) or telephone (+44 (0)117 3007234)

PADI Pros: 2016 Membership Renewal Offers Extended to 31 January

Renew your 2016 PADI Professional membership before 31 January 2016 and you’ll be able to take advantage of several exciting renewal offers which we’ve extended from the original deadline from the end of last year.

#1 – Free PADI Digital Product

Complete your renewal before 31st January 2016 and you’ll be able to take advantage of our free digital product renewal offer as a thank you for renewing, by choosing from either a free PADI Open Water Diver Touch or PADI Equipment Specialist Touch. That’s a benefit worth up to £65 / 88€ / 96CHF to you straight away. Find out more about PADI Digital products here.

To claim this offer, simply renew your membership and contact your PADI Sales Representative to claim your free Open Water Diver Touch or Equipment Specialist Touch today!

Renew Online and Get Your Free PADI Digital Product!

#2 – 5-for-4 on PADI Digital Products

Renew your PADI Professional membership and get the 5 for 4 offer on all digital products; that’s a saving of 20%!* Don’t miss this chance to save on PADI’s latest digital products – contact your local PADI Sales Representative to place your order and take advantage of this benefit for renewed PADI Professionals!

Renew Online and Get 5-for-4 on PADI Digital Products!

#3 – Automatic Renewal Discount

PADI’s Automatic Renewal service saves you even more money and registering is easy! Sign up to have your membership automatically renewed for 2017 and you’ll still get the discounted rate for your 2016 PADI Professional membership! Simply select the option to register for Automatic Renewal during your 2016 Online Renewal process to take advantage of this fantastic benefit.

Renew Online and Sign Up for Automatic Renewal Today!

If you have any questions about your PADI Professional renewal for 2016 please contact Customer Services by email ([email protected]) or telephone (+44 (0)117 3007234).

Don’t miss out on these fantastic offers above – click here to Renew Online Now

Together We’re #1 In Diving!

It’s no mystery why PADI is the world’s leading diver training organization. Members value the high quality of PADI materials and excellent customer service while divers get the benefits. All of this has made PADI the global leader and most trusted source for diver training since 1966.

*5-for-4 Offer ends 31st July 2016. Offer available only on multiples of five of the same product, not available as mix and match. Available to PADI Instructors who have renewed their PADI membership for 2016.

Blue Water Series: The Dive Behind the Photo – Part 3

Schooling Jacks by David Valencia

“Cabo Pulmo is a National Marine Park located some 70 miles NE of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. This place has become a source of pride for the small Cabo Pulmo community – and all of Mexico. It was not long ago that the community of Cabo Pulmo was a fishing village. Fishing for subsistence, the families there had been fishing the area for generations. A few elders in the community began to notice fewer catches and smaller fish than in the past. There was a movement in the community to preserve the area and, in 1994, Cabo Pulmo became a National Marine Park. Now, the community works to conserve the area and the marine life that dwells there. The community shares their special place with divers and other visitors from all over the world.

This giant school of jacks has become iconic in describing the success of the marine park. The size of the school is impressive. The school can fill an area as wide and long as a basketball court and ~15 meters (50 feet) top to bottom. In this shot I was following my dive buddy, Adil, as he took video of the inside of the school. Finally he emerged from the middle of the school of jacks and there were two goliath grouper right in front of him. The fish slowly separated and formed a nice frame around my friend and the groupers.” – David Valencia, Underwater Photographer

The conservation success story behind David Valencia’s captivating photo can’t help but motivate us as divers to protect what we love (and love to explore). While there are certainly many hurdles to overcome and much work to be done to preserve our marine environments, inspiration can always be found in the victories, from local movements such as the Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park to global initiatives like those announced at the Our Ocean Summit in Chile earlier this year.

Whether or not your customers have the opportunity to witness an incredible sight like this, they can always be inspired by David Valencia’s stunning photo, “Schooling Jacks” on the limited-edition “Blue Water Series” PADI Replacement certification card. Order one of the three different limited-edition Replacement cards for your student divers through the PADI Online Processing Center or for yourself by going to Your Account on the PADI Pros’ Site Learn more.0701 Replacement Card Blog Post Graphic

PADI Pros: Renew Your 2016 Membership Before 31 Dec and Get These Offers!

Renew your 2016 PADI Professional membership before 31 December 2015 and you’ll be able to take advantage of several exciting renewal offers:

SS021949000_D6i-Novo_Stone_Front_Metric_Airtime#1 – Win a Suunto D6i

Renew before 31st December 2015 and you’ll be entered into a prize draw to win a Suunto D6i dive computer in one of four colour options (stone, stealth, black or white excluding metal strap variants). PADI Pros that have already renewed their 2016 individual PADI membership will also be entered into the prize draw. Terms and Conditions apply.

Renew Online and Enter the Prize Draw Now!

#2 – Free PADI Digital Product

Complete your renewal before 31st December 2015 and you’ll be able to take advantage of our free digital product renewal offer as a thank you for renewing, by choosing from either a free PADI Open Water Diver Touch or PADI Equipment Specialist Touch. That’s a benefit worth up to £65 / 88€ / 96CHF to you straight away. Find out more about PADI Digital products here.

To claim this offer, simply renew your membership and contact your PADI Sales Representative to claim your free Open Water Diver Touch or Equipment Specialist Touch today!

Renew Online and Get Your Free PADI Digital Product!

#3 – 5-for-4 on PADI Digital Products

Renew your PADI Professional membership and get the 5 for 4 offer on all digital products; that’s a saving of 20%!* Don’t miss this chance to save on PADI’s latest digital products – contact your local PADI Sales Representative to place your order and take advantage of this benefit for renewed PADI Professionals!

Renew Online and Get 5-for-4 on PADI Digital Products!

#4 – Automatic Renewal Discount

PADI’s Automatic Renewal service saves you even more money and registering is easy! Sign up to have your membership automatically renewed for 2017 and you’ll still get the discounted rate for your 2016 PADI Professional membership! Simply select the option to register for Automatic Renewal during your 2016 Online Renewal process to take advantage of this fantastic benefit.

Renew Online and Sign Up for Automatic Renewal Today!

If you have any questions about your PADI Professional renewal for 2016 please contact Customer Services by email ([email protected]) or telephone (+44 (0)117 3007234).

Don’t miss out on these fantastic offers above – click here to Renew Online Now

Together We’re #1 In Diving!

It’s no mystery why PADI is the world’s leading diver training organization. Members value the high quality of PADI materials and excellent customer service while divers get the benefits. All of this has made PADI the global leader and most trusted source for diver training since 1966.

*5-for-4 Offer ends 31st July 2016. Offer available only on multiples of five of the same product, not available as mix and match. Available to PADI Instructors who have renewed their PADI membership for 2016.

Enjoy More of the PADI Family Benefits!

For a limited period PADI is offering IDC Crewpak bolt-on merchandise packages to Individual PADI Pros and Dive Centres. Whether for yourself, your Dive Centre or for IDC candidates, take a look at the Bronze, Silver and Gold packages on offer. And when bought together with an IDC Crewpak enjoy a further discount.

Bronze package:

  • 85209 – iContour pen
  • 85202 – Key fob
  • 85201 – Bubbles lanyard
  • 85207 – Water bottle (black)
  • 82019 – Mouse mat
  • 82713 – Yellow sunglasses
  • 85200 – Wrist band
  • 85212DB – Carabiner clip
  • 80079 – EFR keyring
  • 80555 – Orange Eynsford bag

Price with IDC Crewpak (60038) – £20/€28
Price without IDC Crewpak – £25/€34

Silver Package:

  • 85209 – iContour pen
  • 85202 – Key fob
  • 85201 – Bubbles lanyard
  • 82019 – Mouse mat
  • 82290_l82713 –  Yellow sunglasses
  • 85200 – 5 Wrist bands
  • 85212DB – Carabiner clip
  • 82290  – Red water bottle
  • 80026 – EFR mug
  • 80079 – EFR keyring
  • 80555 – Orange Eynesford bag
  • 85210 – Valencia silver pen

Price with IDC Crewpak (60038) – £32/€44
Price without IDC Crewpak – £37/€50

Gold package:

  • 80026_l85209 – iContour pen
  • 85202 – Key fob
  • 85201 – Bubbles lanyard
  • 82019 – Mouse mat
  • 82713 – Yellow sunglasses
  • 85200 – 5 Wrist bands
  • 85212DB – 3 Carabiner clips
  • 82110 – Instructor hat
  • 82285 – Blue water bottle
  • 80026 – EFR mug
  • 80079 – EFR keyring
  • 80555 – Orange Eynesford bag
  • MKT82717 – Green sunglasses
  • 85210 – Valencia silver pen
  • 82299 – Flexi clock
  • 82619 – Shark key ring
  • WX1303PI10 – A4 folder with notepad and pen
  • 82714 – Black mug

Price with IDC Crewpak (60038) – £45/€62
Price without IDC Crewpak – £50/€68

For more information, contact your local Sales Consultant at [email protected] or telephone +44 (0) 117 3007234 during business hours.