Another book for the pile of stuff to be read once our baby decides he needs less attention: Leading at the Edge: Leadership Lessons from the Extraordinary Saga of Shackleton Antarctic Expedition by Dennis N. T. Perkins. CEO Blogger Cyberlibris talks about their impression of the book in a recent post: Leading (entrepreneuring) at the edge
One of the strong messages that strikes me as a vital one is the following one: When disaster strikes, as it did when the Endurance was caught in the ice and then sank, one thing that is of the utmost importance is to give your team the sense that there is still a goal to achieve even if this goal is no longer the one that the team and you signed on at the inception of the venture. Being stubborned (anchored, or worse falling in love with your project) and/or being unable to redefine a goal in the midst of the crisis is a self-fulfilling prophecy: You fail or you die. Shackelton was able to manage each nightmarish turnpike he and his team were facing. The ultimate goal that he assigned to the whole crew was bold but more importantly crystal clear: Everybody will go back home in one piece.
Most workplace disasters aren't nearly so grueling as spending two years on a frozen tundra (and surviving!), but we see the same problems in the workplace. Fail or die cannot remain the valid options.