Leading at The Edge: Leadership Lessons from the Extraordinary Saga of Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition Hardcover – May 5 2000
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From Publishers Weekly
Although their experiences may sometimes seem torturous, most managers aren't facing dangerous or life-threatening conditions. Even so, argues consultant Perkins, they would do well to learn from both triumphant and failed expeditions. A former Marine lieutenant, Perkins introduces 10 key concepts he believes are essential to productive leadership with lively anecdotes from the adverse but ultimately successful expedition to the South Pole led by Ernest Shackleton in 1914 (his entire crew survived on the ice with almost no supplies or hope for rescue after their ship drifted off course and was crushed), which he contrasts with a disastrous Canadian expedition launched at almost the same time. Among the principles in the book's first half: "Minimize status differences and insist on courtesy and mutual respect"; "Take care of yourself, maintain your stamina and let go of your guilt"; "Set a personal example with visible, memorable symbols and behaviors." He also suggests that managers can benefit by keeping an "expedition log" in which they write about their current work situations. The second half of the book consists of four business case studies, including one of Malden Mills, a family-owned company that remained open despite fires that virtually shut down its operations. General readers are likely to find these studies less compelling, though experienced executives may identify with some of the management issues. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
...should be read by anyone who aspires to the mantle of leadership. -- National Post, May 25,2000
Perkins has distilled 10 principles from [Shackleton's] survival experiences he offers them as a guide for business leadership at the edge. -- The New York Times, May 28, 2000
Top Customer Reviews
There are bound to be comparisons between the author's 10 Leadership Strategies and Covey's 7 Habits. While there may be differences in focus (the 7 Habits are focused on development of personal succes while Perkins' 10 Strategies are focused on leading a successful organization), Perkins steps into the cold, hard world of real life drama played out in boardrooms, production facilities and corporate culture by demonstrating the key 10 leadership strategies he has gleaned from Shackleton's overwhelming drive to get his crew home safely against odds that could easily have crushed the bravest of souls.Read more ›
Perkins has applicable background, in Vietnam and management consulting and teaching which make this book doubly fascinating.
I found his style and wit so easy to read and yet remember the points being made. There are many one can take away from this and use, however two that stand out in my mind are: great leaders don't enter knowing everything, e.g. Shackleton had never even slept in a sleeping bag before, much is learned; second, in At Edge experiences, overcome uncertainly with structure and distractions.
So much more could be said about this excellent contribution to leadership. It is well structured with Shackleton's lessons first, then biz cases which are each unique and contribute to illustrations of these leadership lessons. After each section there is reflection, while at the book's end, more intense follow-up excercies and resources to be pursued.
One great leadership adventure!
Perkins carefully organized the book into four inter-related parts. After briefly summarizing the Shackleton expedition, in Part One Perkins presents his 10 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.
Interwoven with these strategies are detailed accounts from Shackleton's expedition and real world business examples to fully illustrate the strategies' applicability to today's leadership environments.
Part Two is case studies of four organizations that successfully applied the strategies and achieved remarkable success.Read more ›
1. Never lose sight of the ultimate goal, and focus energy on short-term objectives.
2. Set a personal example with visible, memorable symbols and behavior.
3. Instill optimism and self-confidence, but stay grounded in reality.
4. Take care of yourself: Maintain your stamina and let go of guilt.
5. Reinforce the team message constantly: "We are one -- we live or die together."
6. Minimize staff differences and insist on courtesy and mutual respect.
7. Master conflict -- deal with anger in small doses, engage dissidents, and avoid needless power struggles.
8. Find something to celebrate and something to laugh about.
9. Be willing to take the Big Risk.
10. Never give up -- there's always another move.
Examine any of today's great organizations and you will encounter an abundance of evidence of these ten lessons' effectiveness.
In Part Two, Perkins provides four case studies based on Business Communication Systems (AT&T/Lucent Technologies), Rice Health Systems, Weyerhaeuser Company, and Malden Mills. The material in Part Three suggests how to "lead at the edge" and then, in an Epilogue, Perkins provides his "perspective" on success and failure.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
The author, Dennis N. T. Perkins, shows extraordinary insight in leadership with 10 clearly stated principles. Read morePublished on May 12 2003 by K. Stearman
Leading at the Edge reaveals in detail how to take the qualities of an icon of leadership and how to translate those qualities into practical use for today's business climate and... Read morePublished on Dec 10 2002 by museumperson
This is the type of book that you will seek out over and over again as you gain insight and understanding into your own individual leadership. Read morePublished on April 25 2002
When British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton was busy saving his crew after a shipwreck in the Antarctic in 1914, you would guess that he wasn't thinking much about teaching... Read morePublished on Feb. 23 2001 by Rolf Dobelli
I found this to be truly engaging. A great storyteller, Dennis Perkins interweaves the drama of the polar expedition with the urgent demands of today's executives, as they grow and... Read morePublished on June 12 2000 by Andrea Sehl
This book provides a great example of the FACT that anything can be done with the right state of mind. Read morePublished on June 9 2000 by Gene Rachmansky
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