From our distant African origins to the igloo-dwelling Greenland Inuit, humankind has always extended our reach into whatever new and unexplored land lay at our domestic frontiers. We have not shied away from the most extreme of environments. Rather, we have learned, through trial and error, how to enter, how to survive and even thrive … More “All or nothing: When do you take the big risk?” Sometimes you just have to plunge ahead.
Every accomplishment of every kind, from insignificant to monumental and the whole range between, starts with an idea and then proceeds through plan and execution to accomplishment. Simple enough in concept, especially for the thousands of minor accomplishments that constitute our daily lives: get breakfast, get to work, get home to dinner, get to bed. … More “Will the Results be Worth the Effort?” Extreme decisions in the heroic era. . .
Promises and commitments are the outward signs of mutual trust between parties, a shared understanding, and a bargain to be upheld at each end. A contract, if you will, whether written and signed, or verbal and committed over a handshake, to terms large and detailed involving the exchange of vast sums of money, or as … More As Good as Your Word: Promises made to be kept
Who’s on your team? The question springs from a generality, an easily understood concept that in corporations, as in any organization made up of leaders and followers, the combined strength of the team in its members and its output is fundamental to the success of the project. But in the specifics, we must all ask … More “Who’s on your team?” More than you thought.
The concept of “leadership” has a lot of currency these days, addressed in academic disciplines and institutes, and in countless corporate trainings and seminars. Regardless of the enterprise, there has to be some place in any management hierarchy that is indisputably the pinnacle, occupied by a person who is unquestionably recognized “the Boss.” But that … More Who’s in Charge? The Fundamentals of Leadership
While holding a book event for “When Your Life Depends on It” yesterday, I was asked to talk about some of the bad decisions that were made. A very short, unqualified answer could be: “There are no bad decisions, only bad results.” Decisions quickly made under extreme circumstances in the face of sudden unforeseen hardships … More Re: What About the Bad Decisions?
The two conferences previously mentioned (the SouthPole-sium v3 and the meeting of the Shackleton Appreciation Society) with their hopefully biennial convocations each have a social and educational value far in excess of their modest cost. Although neither—relatively informal as they are—will add much luster to your academic portfolio, you may well learn as much from … More On the Value of Informal Antarctic Conferences
—from the diary of Thomas Orde Lees— “18 August: The menace of last night materialized this morning, for we are thickly beset by the accursed ice, and it stretches in every direction further than the eye can see. It is a rotten day. The brightness has gone from the sky and snow comes from it … More Shackleton’s ‘Endurance’ Expedition, Elephant Island, August 18, 1916: “. . . we are thickly beset by the accursed ice. . .”
—from the diary of Thomas Orde Lees— “17 August. A sudden drop of 15deg in temperature should be expected to produce a sensation of cold, but quite the contrary is the case, for the sun shines brightly and the air is dry, and so it feels warmer than when it is twice as warm by … More Shackleton’s ‘Endurance’ Expedition, Elephant Island, August 17, 1916: “Limpeting proceeds apace. . .”
–from the diary of Ernest Joyce, published as “The South Polar Trail”— “A week to-day the sun returns. I am training the puppies, but have made a mistake; that is, I should have tied them up before putting them into harness; they were frolicksome. In a week they travelled in harmony with Oscar, Gunner, and … More Shackleton’s Ross Sea Party, August 15, 1916: ” A week to-day the sun returns.”