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how many knots?


You've likely heard that a boat or ship is traveling at X 'knots' per hour. But have you ever stopped to wonder what 'knots' are?

Believe it not, they were originally....literally....knots.


Without getting too much into the weeds, a knot is defined as 1 'nautical' mile per hour, which is the distance between two points of latitude on the globe, or roughly 1.15 statute miles. So a boat traveling at 20 knots, is going approximately 23 miles per hour.


However, in the beginning, they were simply knots on a rope.


In the 1500's, well before electronic navigational instrumentation, sailors in the Netherlands devised a method of tossing a piece of wood overboard with a rope attached. The rope, wound onto a reel, featured a knot every 50 feet. They'd flip an hourglass over with 30 seconds of sand within it, and start counting how many knots flew overboard during that time. If 10 knots were pulled off the reel, they were traveling at a speed of 10 knots and were sailing 10 nautical miles in an hour.

Obviously ships don't use that same method any longer. However the term 'knots' is still used internationally. Interesting that even now, the term is referenced with most who utter it having no idea why.

How does that apply to your business practices? Are there terms, methods, or standard operating procedures that should be revisited? Just because it has always been done that way, doesn't mean it's the best method today.


Take a moment, step out of your owner/manager/operator shoes, and review your procedures, products & services through fresh, open minded, and yes even naive eyes. You may be surprised to find that a new method, principle, product or service could positively alter the course of your company's future.


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