Leadership in crisis Harvard Case Solution & Analysis


Ernest Shackletonembarked for his third Antarctic journey having no prior experience on ice; this expedition which started in 1914, almost took two years to end which is not less than an enthralling story of leadership which was hit by thechallenges and hardships back to back.

Earnest Shackleton, from his childhood was an ambitious boy, he had some kind of fascination with the sea. By the age of 24,Shackleton attained a rank of master in the merchant marine. His exceptional confidence and bold attitude made him win the trust and gain respect along with promotions. His appointment to the NAE connected him to an adventure that requiredthe highest qualities a man can possess i.e. a high tolerance level, willpower and physical strength.

Two attempts were made by him in order to reach the South Pole but unfortunately he failed. Despite of the failure,Scott (major of royal navy) and Shackleton managed to farther push south. The bitter experience of Shackleton with Scott in previous journey to South Pole made Shackleton’s plan an expedition of his own.

Shackleton knew that to launch such a journey he would require an extensive funding. Using his persuasive qualities, connections and creative thinking he convinced the targeted individuals to fund his mission and soon by 1907 he got the funds and scientific endorsement necessary to sail. The mission, Shackleton had embarked on was extremely dangerous with almost no chance of any error to be made in order to succeed in his mission.

Since the beginning of the expedition he faced many unexpected challenges. The moment Shackleton’sship reached the last southern port. Local seamen advised Shackleton to postpone his adventure because of the high probability of sudden shifts in temperature that can traptheir ship in a thick pack of ice but Shackleton was so determined and passionate,that no warning seemed to stop him from completing his mission. He ordered his crew members to continue and as warned by the seamen; the weather shifted and the ship got trapped on the pack of ice. Months passed by and the ship which was held by the ice, could no longer bear the pressure and started to sink. The ship was gone, along with all the things that were stored in it.

Leadership in crisis Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Shackleton soon realized that his plan to reach South Pole has turned into a mission of survival and by each passing day, there will be a new challenge for him becoming an obstacle in his mission of crew member’s survival but he didn’t give up on hope as he was a person of strong mindset; he knew that in order to survive, he had to keep his men on track. Now his goal was to take his team back to home with safety.

The team members were skeptic about his plan but instead of opposing their possible refusal of undertaking the plan;he tried to bring them to an agreement of performing in accordance to the plan he proposed; by winning themand when the ice started melting, he took the lifeboats that were left and reachedon an Island which was the sign of relief and joy for them, he then rescued theremaining men left on the ship..............

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