Summer serial: a taste for adventure and leadership (ep. 4)
In the austral summer of 1915, Shackleton’s ship L’Endurance was trapped in the Antarctic ice and sank.
The 28-man crew are on an ice floe, far from the rest of the world.
Shackleton and his crew set off on a Homeric voyage, first dragging their longboats across the ice chaos to reach an open sea.
Aiming for Elephant Island in the South Atlantic aboard longboats is a risky gamble. But there are few alternatives!
This navigation is a real feat. The sea and weather conditions are so degraded. It is almost impossible to use the sextant (I remember using this instrument in the past on calm seas… I had “brilliantly” and uselessly determined my position between Dakar, Montevideo and La Huerta).
But Shackleton realized that the crew could not stay on this inhospitable island. He had to leave for South Georgia. He selected 5 crewmates on the basis of their skills, but not only that. In fact, Shackleton, a connoisseur of humans and a true strategist, took with him men he knew would challenge the authority of his deputies who remained with the crew on Elephant Island. He knows how to keep his friends close, and his adversaries even closer!
The crossing is appalling. The men are literally frozen. They have no drinking water. Mouth ulcers prevent them from eating… And just like in a Hollywood movie, they’re about to face another storm that will cause a much bigger cargo ship to capsize…
The longboat made landfall in April 1916, and had to cross the island in Dantean conditions…
Shackleton did not forget his crew on Elephant Island. He mounted a new rescue expedition that took him to Argentina and then Chile, where he was able to obtain a ship. In August 1916, he was reunited with his 22 crew members, who glorified him.
Not one man (from the Endurance) died in the course of this adventure.
This extraordinary adventure underscores authentic leadership that appears simple when embodied. But behind this apparent simplicity lies experience, an exceptional personality, complex, inspiring and determined.
What type of leadership do you draw inspiration from?
You can contact us to talk about Shackleton, and perhaps also to discuss your issues and needs in terms of commitment in your company, audacity, the agility of your teams and their ability to adapt, your definition of extraordinary situations!
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