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Shackleton's Way
Cover of Shackleton's Way
Shackleton's Way
Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer
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Lead your business to survival and success by following the example of legendary explorer Ernest Shackleton
Sir Ernest Shackleton has been called "the greatest leader that ever came on God's earth, bar none" for saving the lives of the twenty-seven men stranded with him in the Antarctic for almost two years. Because of his courageous actions, he remains to this day a model for great leadership and masterful crisis management. Now, through anecdotes, the diaries of the men in his crew, and Shackleton's own writing, Shackleton's leadership style and time-honored principles are translated for the modern business world. Written by two veteran business observers and illustrated with ship photographer Frank Hurley's masterpieces and other rarely seen photos, this practical book helps today's leaders follow Shackleton's triumphant example.
"An important addition to any leader's library." -Seattle Times
Lead your business to survival and success by following the example of legendary explorer Ernest Shackleton
Sir Ernest Shackleton has been called "the greatest leader that ever came on God's earth, bar none" for saving the lives of the twenty-seven men stranded with him in the Antarctic for almost two years. Because of his courageous actions, he remains to this day a model for great leadership and masterful crisis management. Now, through anecdotes, the diaries of the men in his crew, and Shackleton's own writing, Shackleton's leadership style and time-honored principles are translated for the modern business world. Written by two veteran business observers and illustrated with ship photographer Frank Hurley's masterpieces and other rarely seen photos, this practical book helps today's leaders follow Shackleton's triumphant example.
"An important addition to any leader's library." -Seattle Times
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Excerpts-
  • From the book The Path to Leadership

    When Ernest Shackleton was at the zenith of his popularity as an explorer, he was invited back to his boys' school, Dulwich College in London, to present some academic honors. That was about as close as he ever got to a Dulwich prize, he joked, to the cheers of the students.

    Indeed, Shackleton's early years revealed little promise of the glories to come. An early biographer, Hugh Robert Mill, a friend and mentor of the explorer, joked that the only sign in Shackleton's childhood that he would go to the Antarctic was a class ranking that was decidedly "south of the equator and sometimes perilously near the Pole." At the time of the Dulwich speech, a teacher interviewed by a schoolboy magazine remembered the young Shackleton as "a rolling stone." Students and teachers alike saw the boy as an introvert who was more interested in books than in games but who had a hard time with his studies. "He could do better," was a common refrain in school reports.

    One classmate did see a hint of Shackleton in the making. He recalled some forty years after the incident how the young student had beaten up a schoolyard bully who had been picking on a smaller boy. From an early age, Shackleton gravitated to the role of protector, stepping up to the front to insist on fair play.

    Ernest Henry Shackleton was a natural as a big brother. He was born on February 15, 1874, in Kilkea, County Kildare, Ireland, the second of ten children. He was a healthy and good-looking boy, with slate blue eyes and dark hair. His family and closest friends saw him as humorous, imaginative, and mischievous. By all accounts, he grew up in a loving home surrounded by attentive females. In addition to his eight sisters, his grandmother and aunts often helped his mother with the children. It is no wonder that many people would later remark on his strong feminine sensibilities. Despite a burly physique; enormous stamina; and a tough, no-nonsense manner, he could be nurturing and gentle, quick to forgive frailties, and generous without seeking thanks in return. One friend called him "a Viking with a mother's heart." Both men and women saw this duality in Shackleton and found it irresistible. Shackleton himself was aware of it: "I am a curious mixture with something feminine in me as well as being a man.... I have committed all sorts of crimes in thought if not always in action and don't worry much about it, yet I hate to see a child suffer, or to be false in any way."

    The family home had its own split personality, according to Dr. Alexander Macklin, the physician on two of Shackleton's three independent expeditions. He wrote that Shackleton's Irish mother, Henrietta Gavan, was "warm-hearted and altogether happy-go-lucky." His father Henry, on the other hand, was "a grave, cautious, solid Yorkshire Quaker." A Shackleton ancestor had immigrated to Ireland in the eighteenth century to open a school. Shackleton's father ran a farm and settled his family in the lush land of county Kildare. When Ernest was six years old, the elder Shackleton left farming to study medicine at Trinity College in Dublin. He became a homeopathic doctor, a vocation that provided the family with solid, upper middle-class comforts.

    Shackleton learned from his family a broad and sympathetic view of the world that helped shape his evenhanded, democratic leadership style.

    Henry Shackleton headed a strict, though apparently not oppressive, household. The Bible was read aloud in the home, and young Ernest, who had flair for the dramatic, led his siblings into the children's temperance movement. They would gather outside pubs, singing songs about the perils of alcohol-a display of youthful activism that...

Table of Contents-
  • Shackleton's WayPreface by the Honorable Alexandra Shackleton
    Introduction
    Shackleton resonates with executives in today's business world. His people-centered approach to leadership can be a guide for anyone in a position of authority. Some of today's leaders are successfully applying Shackleton's methods to their own work situations.

    1. The Path to Leadership
    The values Shackleton learned from his family helped form his uniquely progressive leadership style. He worked his way into the forefront of a new field. He turned bad experiences into valuable work lessons. He insisted on respectful competition in a business climate that often demanded cooperation.

    Former U.S. Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig sees Shackleton's broad cultural interests as a main ingredient of thoughtful leadership.

    2. Hiring an Outstanding Crew
    Shackleton built a crew around a core of experienced workers. He conducted unconventional interviews to find unique talent. His second in command was his most important hire. He looked for optimism and cheerfulness in the people he hired. He gave his staff the best compensation and equipment he could afford.

    James Cramer credits Shackleton's optimistic example with saving his hedge fund and TheStreet.com from an early demise.

    3. Creating a Spirit of Camaraderie
    Shackleton made careful observations before acting. He established order and routine so all workers knew where they stood. He broke down traditional hierarchies. He was fair in his dealings with his staff. He used informal gatherings to build espirit de corps.

    Eric Miller, a senior adviser at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, sees Shackleton's strategy as fitting well into today's workplace.

    4. Getting the Best from Each Individual
    Shackleton led by example. He understood and accepted his crewmen's quirks and weaknesses. He used informal one-on-one talks to build a bond with his men. He was always willing to help others get their work done. He helped each man reach his potential.

    Luke O'Neill runs Shackleton Schools in New England to put into practice Shackleton's message about individual achievement.

    5. Leading Effectively in a Crisis
    Shackleton let everyone know that he was in charge and confident of success. He inspired optimism in everyone. He put down dissent by keeping the malcontents close to him. He got everyone to let go of the past and focus on the future. He worked to keep spirits high. He sometimes led by doing nothing.

    Jeremy Larken of Octo Ltd. uses Shackleton as a model for intelligent leadership facing a crisis.

    6. Forming Teams for Tough Assignments
    Shackleton balanced talent and expertise in each team. He ensured all his groups were keeping pace. He remained visible and vigilant. He shored up the weakest links. He got teams to help each other.

    Apollo 13 commander James Lovell sees similarities in how Shackleton and he led their crews through crises.

    7. Overcoming Obstacles to Reach a Goal
    Shackleton took responsibility for getting the whole job done. Even "Old Cautious" sometimes took big risks. He found the inspiration to continue. He kept sight of the big picture. He stepped outside his work to help others.

    Jaguar's retired chief of North American operations, Mike Dale, used Shackleton's story to spur his sales crew to new heights.

    8. Leaving a Legacy
    Shackleton's leadership had a lifelong impact on his crew. His appeal spans generations. His lasting contributions to leadership. He influenced a pioneer project in space. Using his example to promote social change. How we view Shackleton's success today.

    Shackleton's...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 3, 2000
    The heroism of British explorer Ernest ShackletonDbest known for his failed 1914 Antarctic expedition in which he saved his 27-member crew from perishing under harrowing conditions for more than two yearsDhas been chronicled in numerous narrative accounts and, most recently, became the inspiration for another book of business nostrums, Leading at the Edge (Forecasts, Apr. 3). Although they tread in that book's footsteps, Morrell (a financial expert who has studied Shackleton's life and leadership style for 15 years) and Capparell (a Wall St. Journal business editor) have produced a first-rate business primer. With the help of diaries and other first-hand accounts, they vividly describe Shackleton's expeditions and his powerful leadership style, relating them to today's business world in a streamlined presentation. The authors also include the insights of a handful of modern-day leaders, including James Cramer, who believes that his own following of Shackleton's example in hiring talented, optimistic people made the difference for him at the TheStreet.com. Morrell and Capparell's book is strongest in its emphasis on leading a team against desperate odds over an extended period of time ("Give your staff an occasional reality check to keep them on course. After a time, people will start to treat a crisis situation as business as usual and lose their focus"). (Jan.) Forecast: With a first serial in the Wall Street Journal and a five-city author tour, this solid book may come from behind to overtake its competition, Leading at the Edge.

  • Library Journal

    February 15, 2001
    Overwhelmed by the outbreak of World War I, the incredible story of Sir Ernest Shackleton has now resurfaced in a timely wave of Shackleton mania that reminds us of the importance of learning about heroes. In 1914, after the wreck of their vessel, the Endurance, left his crew of 27 men stranded on an ice floe in the Antarctic 1200 miles from civilization, Shackleton led them through a two-year fight for survival. Authors Morrell (financial representative, Fidelity Investments) and Capparell (an editor and writer for the Wall Street Journal) use anecdotes, diary excerpts from the seamen, and Shackleton's own memoirs to present a refreshing and timely business manual on supreme leadership disguised as an adventure story. Their story is linked to modern-day business challenges, emphasizing lessons of leadership that include working cohesively with all sorts of diverse personalities and talent, maintaining morale, creating order out of chaos, hiring good workers, managing crises with limited resources, and, most importantly, leading by example. Thankfully, the authors focus on the revealing words of those directly involved in this most amazing experience. Highly recommended for all libraries, along with works on the actual story, including Alfred Lansing's Endurance (Carroll & Graf, 2001), Caroline Alexander's The Endurance (LJ 10/15/98), and Shackleton's memoirs, South (1970). Dale Farris, Groves, TX

    Copyright 2001 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    January 1, 2001
    In 1914, British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton led a failed attempt to cross the Antarctic continent, where his 27-man crew became stranded for 20 months. The story of their struggle recently gave birth to a number of books, documentary films, and museum exhibits. A common theme is Shackleton's perseverance and leadership skills. Dennis Perkins was the first to target business readers with " Leading at the Edge: Leadership Lessons "from the Extraordinary Saga of Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition (2000), in which he identified 10 strategies for effective leadership. Now come Morrell and Capparell, who take the same tack, but they cannot be accused of jumping on the bandwagon. In fact, they helped start it rolling. Morrell has been studying Shackleton for 15 years and uses his story in team-building workshops she conducts. Capparell profiled "Shackleton-mania" in a lengthy " Wall Street Journal" article in April 1998. Relying on crew diaries, historical accounts, and interviews with current business leaders, they capture the magnitude of Shackleton's feat while highlighting the skills and qualities a leader must possess. Documentary photographs enhance the authors' narrative.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2001, American Library Association.)

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Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer
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