Synopses & Reviews
In December of 1914, the British Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, led by Sir Ernest Shackleton, sailed from the island of South Georgia in the Southern Ocean. Its goal: the first overland crossing of Antarctica. Soon trapped in a prison of solid pack ice, the crew became engaged in a legendary fight against brutal cold, impenetrable ice, dwindling food, and complete isolation. Despite these seemingly insurmountable obstacles, the team remained cohesive, congenial, and mercifully alive - a fact that speaks not just to luck but to an unparalleled feat of leadership.
Part adventure tale, part leadership guide, Leading at The Edge demonstrates the power of strong leadership in times of adversity, uncertainty, and change. This engaging and practical book reveals Ten Strategies for Success™, illustrating how leaders can:
• Instill optimism while staying grounded in reality
• Have the courage to step up to risks worth taking
• Consistently reinforce the team message
• Set a personal example
• Find something to celebrate and something to laugh about
• Never give up—there’s always another move!
The second edition features new case studies highlighting the strategies in action, tools to uncover and resolve conflicts, and expanded resources. An updated epilogue compares Shackleton’s leadership style with that of famed polar explorers Roald Amundsen and Robert Scott, and offers insights into how their contrasting approaches led to strikingly different outcomes.
Today’s leaders have much to learn from this gripping account of survival against all odds. Leading at The Edge will help them navigate the rough waters of any turbulent environment and achieve success in the face of adversity.
Advance Praise for Leading at the Edge
“Shackleton’s extraordinary adventure demonstrates invaluable, practical traits of leadership. I could not recommend Leading at the Edge more highly.”
— John H. Dalton, Former Secretary of the Navy
“Fascinating. Great story after story, along with important learnings about leadership.”
— Ed Lawler, Director, Center for Effective Organizations, USC
DENNIS N. T. PERKINS, Ph.D., is Chief Executive Officer of The Syncretics Group, a consulting firm dedicated to effective leadership in demanding environments. A graduate of the United States Naval Academy, he served as a Marine company commander and later a faculty member of the Yale School of Management. He has taken his passion for The Edge to Antarctica, where he retraced Shackleton’s journey, and now resides in Madison, Connecticut.
MARGARET P. HOLTMAN, PAUL R. KESSLER, and CATHERINE McCARTHY, Ph.D., are consultants specializing in leadership, coaching, and team development.
Part adventure story, part leadership guide, this intriguing book examines Shackleton's legendary Antarctic expedition through the lens of business to reveal a set of powerful strategies for corporate leaders.
"Part adventure story, part leadership guide, this intriguing book examines Shackleton's legendary Antarctic expedition through the lens of business--to reveal a set of powerful strategies for corporate leaders.
In the chronicles of extraordinary adventures and against-the-odds survival, nothing compares to the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his team of South Pole explorers. Stranded in the frozen sea for nearly two years, they endured extreme temperatures, hazardous ice, dwindling food, complete isolation, and perpetual blackness.
Yet, despite the seemingly insurmountable obstacles, the group remained cohesive, congenial, and mercifully alive--a fact that speaks not just to luck but to an unparalleled feat in leadership.
Now, for the first time ever, Leading at the Edge draws on this amazing story to reveal the power of effective organizational leadership under conditions of uncertainty, ambiguity, and rapid change. The book uncovers 10 lessons-- complete with stirring examples from the Shackleton expedition, as well as contemporary business case studies of the strategies in action--on what it takes to be a great leader. Readers learn how to:
* Set a personal example with vivid symbols and behaviors
* Instill optimism while staying grounded in reality
* Reinforce the team message constantly
* Find something to celebrate and something to laugh about
* Have the courage to take big risks, and more.
For managers and executives who feel stressed out or stretched thin, these memorable strategies will help bring order to chaos--and success in the face of the most daunting adversity."
Includes bibliographical references (p. 247-260) and index.
About the Author
Dennis N. T. Perkins, Ph.D. (Branford, CT) is president of the Syncretics Group, a consultancy that specializes in effective leadership. Margaret P. Holtman is director of employee development at Hartford Life, Inc. Paul R. Kessler is a managing consultant at Stromberg Consulting. Catherine McCarthy, Ph.D., is a principal of the consulting firm Kaye & McCarthy.
Table of Contents
"The Shackleton Saga
Part I: Ten Strategies for Leading at the Edge
1. Vision and Quick Victories: Never Lose Sight of the Ultimate Goal, and Focus Energy on Short-Term Objectives
2. Symbolism and Personal Example: Set a Personal Example with Visible, Memorable Symbols and Behaviors
3. Optimism and Reality: Instill Optimism and Self-Confidence, but Stay Grounded in Reality
4. Stamina: Take Care of Yourself: Maintain Your Stamina and Let Go of Guilt
5. The Team Message: Reinforce the Team Message Constantly: We Are One--We Live or Die Together.
6. Core Team Values: Minimize Status Differences and Insist on Courtesy and Mutual Respect
7. Conflict: Master Conflict--Deal with Anger in Small Doses, Engage Dissidents, and Avoid Needless Power Struggles
8. Lighten Up! Find Something to Celebrate and Something to Laugh About
9. Risk: Be Willing to Take the Big Risk
10. Tenacious Creativity: Never Give Up--There’s Always Another Move
Part II: Case Studies in Leading at the Edge
11. Introduction to the Case Studies
12. Business Communication Systems (AT&T): Back to the Future
13. Rice Health Systems: Healing a Sick Organization
14. Weyerhaeuser Company: Transforming a Culture
15. Malden Mills: Rising from the Ashes
Part III: Continuing Your Expedition
16. Learning to Lead at the Edge
17. Epilogue: A Perspective on Success and Failure
Part IV: Resources for Leading at the Edge
Critical Leadership Skills Survey
Your Leadership Expedition: A Personal Development Plan
Further Readings from the Edge