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You want a leadership manual? Read this.

This will have to be a particularly short blog, as I will spend today flying a few hundred passengers to Chengdu and back. But I have to mention this week’s unlikely discovery of the century old ship ‘Endurance’ in frigid Antarctic waters.

In 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew set out on the Endurance with the objective of arriving in Antarctica then transversing the continent by foot. For my mind, the story of what proceeded is the 20th century’s most incredible tale of survival. Shackleton was an exemplary leader. He was blessed with his fair share of personal shortfalls, but was a man who deeply cared for his team and their welfare. He moved seamlessly from command, management and leadership roles as the situation dictated, and was constantly in the service of his men and the mission.

Yesterday, I spent 90 painful minutes having Shackleton’s family motto ‘Fortitudine Vincimus’ tattooed on my arm. Roughly translated to ‘Through Endurance, We Conquer’, this phrase is particularly meaningful to me for a couple of reasons, and is certainly a fitting description of Shackleton’s ill-fated expedition. (My tattoo was pre-booked…that it happened to fall within a day or so of the discovery of the Endurance is pure coincidence!)

You want a leadership textbook? Buy Alfred Lansing’s amazing story of Shackleton, his crew and the ‘Endurance’.

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