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
It’s unlikely that any of us will find ourselves in Tom Crean’s situation when, in the closing days of the Antarctic autumn of 1912, at the end of a 1300-mile walk, he set out to go another 35 to save his companions. We no longer find ourselves trekking such extreme distances on such minimal resources, … More “Can You Do It?”
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
“Spectacular achievements come from unspectacular preparation.”* The leaders of the most successful Antarctic expeditions knew this well. So do the most successful of entrepreneurs in any field. The most compelling parts of any expedition story always seem to begin when the unpredictable forces of nature seem ready to overwhelm, or when the glimmering hope of … More “Spectacular achievements come from unspectacular preparation.”
Like it or not, “luck” can have a lot to do with the outcomes of our efforts. Apparently random sequences of events beyond our control can determine the success of our endeavors, for good or ill. The most carefully planned and industriously executed plans can come to naught, or worse, in the sudden confluence of … More ”Luck” and Discovery
It’s never too late to have another try. Life, business, and polar discovery can all be described as an ongoing chain of decisions, each devolving from the results of those that have gone before. Sometimes an unanticipated upset overtakes and dooms even the best-laid of plans. But as some of the explorers’ life stories can … More Inspiration, Will, and Forethought
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. . .”