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Leadership: A Key For Survival During Crises – Lessons From Ernest Shackleton

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 “For scientific discovery give me Scott; for speed and efficiency of travel give me Amundsen; but when disaster strikes and all hope is gone, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton.” – Sir Raymond Priestly, Antarctic Explorer and Geologist.

Leadership, according to Douglas MacArthur is “having the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others”. This defines Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton on the popular Trans-Antarctic Expedition between 1914 – 1917. Shackleton is the subject of a new case study in Harvard Business School, analyzed to inspire business leaders in times of adversity.  This has further cemented his legacy as a leader.

This makes us ask, what has Shackleton to teach leaders? And why would an account of leadership during a largely failed expedition be inspiring? The short answer is – a true leader will need to expect and face off adversities, show strength, flexibility and adapt through crisis. Simply put, Be a Shackleton!

Endurance Frozen in the Ice, Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1914-1916’ by Frank Hurley.
(Courtesy of Royal Geographical Society)-Wikipedia.

Shackleton’s objective on the Endurance Expedition was to cross the Antarctic continent from coast to coast. Despite warnings about the possibility of the sea freezing, he and his team decided to embark on this journey.

About a month in, the ship froze and was no longer able to move – crushed by packed ice, the pressure ridges were ripped away from the rudder and forced the men to abandon ship and seek refuge on sheets of ice for months. Eventually, the ship was engulfed by sea. 

In this article, Shackleton’s leadership response through the crisis is our main concern. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy”. Their response when adversity sets in is what makes a leader like Shackleton great and the reason he is seen as heroic.

With a sinking ship, faced with certain expedition failure, Shackleton set a new goal to ensure the survival of all 28 of his crew members and getting every man back to Britain safely.

He re-evaluated his obsessive dedication to cross the Antarctic continent, and he was flexible enough to change his cause to match his current situation. A man, he said, must shape himself to a new mark the minute the old one goes to ground. To be a successful entrepreneur and Leader, this is a must-have skill.

Not only should you be able to quickly adapt from a failed objective and strategy, but you should also be able to set a new challenging objective to meet your current realities. Armed with a new adventurous goal and having only sheets of ice to drift on for months, all 28 explorers survived the harsh conditions, devastating and potentially deadly setbacks until they arrived Elephant Island. When disaster strikes, adapt. 

“How he did what he did is very instructive,” says Nancy Koehn – a Harvard Business School (HBS) Professor of Business Administration. “It has both inspirational lessons and things we don’t want to do.” It is this duality, she says, that makes Shackleton such a compelling case, knocking him off a mythologized pedestal and into the messy stew of humanity, where good and bad, success and failure coexist.

Shackleton’s new objective saw challenges under the demanding circumstances of mind-numbing, seemingly unending boredom, and having one of his crew members become rebellious. He, however, consistently showed up with quick decision making like paying the entire crew until they get to England, placing his crew on a strict daily routine, and introducing different activities such as poetry, readings for their long nights. This helped stop the rebelling crew member from influencing others and in keeping the crews’ morale high.

You see, anyone can be captain when the sea is calm because navigation is all fun and straightforward! It simply requires paying attention, following the map, and going with the flow. However, when turbulence begins and the sea becomes violent, the true leader’s litmus test is set up.

To finalize, these few Shackleton practices are essential for success as a leader and can be helpful in whatever capacity you find yourself, during and after Covid-19;

  1. He continuously met with himself to assess and reassess his approach to the changing mission.
  2. He showed relentless commitment to his primary objective, which was now the safe return of his crew members.
  3. He maintained his team’s belief in the mission by managing both collective and individual energy.
  4. He took full responsibility for the mission and continued to improve it.
  5. He, before setting on this journey, meticulously chose his crew members, he mentioned this about the Nimrod Expedition – “The personnel of an expedition…is a factor on which success depends to a very large extent”
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Business

How Open Innovation Can Reduce Innovation Cost

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As mentioned in my previous article, investing in innovation will help you grow your business, stay ahead of the competition and help you take advantage of new technologies.

However, when it comes to innovating, the challenge for most companies is how to spend money smartly. To be able to innovate at an increased pace, companies need to reverse this predicament by weighing the costs with the potential profits and make the best decision.

One of the best ways to reduce the cost of innovation as a company is by applying open innovation methods and principles;

Open Innovation

Prof. Chesbrough defines open innovation as “the use of purposive inflows and outflows of knowledge to accelerate internal innovation. And expand the markets for external use of innovation, respectively”. The advice for companies looking to innovate is that they should make use of external and internal ideas or paths to market, as they look to maximize profits and minimize cost from their innovative activities.

Organizations are partnering with a wide range of external parties such as startups, software publishers etc to tap into their ideas, insights and solutions. With open innovation, you would be reaching a large group of potential partners quite easily. The good thing is, you would only pay participants if a solution is found. This way, the overall cost is likely to be smaller in relation to the amount of ideas and input. This is profitable for companies especially in a downturn.

For example, in 2006, Netflix offered a reward of 1M USD to the team that could deliver successful innovative method, instead of attempting to develop this internally with no guarantee of success. This process was cost-efficient and also reduced the risk of a failed investment. Although, Netflix did not use the original winning algorithm, there were other excellent candidates to choose from. They went with one of the runner ups who also had something close to what they were looking for.

This paradigm when done effectively would help mitigate many of the risks involved in innovation. Thereby giving you a better chance at securing the best results for your organization.

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Business

Top 3 Social Trading Platforms For Copy Trading

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social trading

Let’s talk about social trading networks, shall we?

Imagine earning from Forex or a trade without having to dedicate most of your time and resources. Imagine the ease of learning how each strategy works when it comes to trading. This is what social trading allows you to do and far more. What is social trading? You might ask, don’t worry, I will tell you.

Social trading is a form of investment that permits investors to watch the trading behaviors of both their peers and experts within the trading world. It allows you to follow their investment strategies using either copy trading or mirror trading.

This method of trading makes it easy for beginners to link their trading accounts to those of expert traders and imitate their trades automatically. It was even described by the World Economic Forum as a low, sophisticated alternative to traditional wealth managers. Little or no knowledge of the financial markets is needed.

Lately, social trading is being talked about as one of the best things to have happened to the online trading community. There are numerous Social trading platforms out there, it keeps increasing. However, here is our Top Three Social Trading Platforms with some of their main features;

1. Etoro

Founded and run by Yoni Assia, eToro is a great platform for starting traders. It provides a huge variety of investments and also a community of traders where users have the opportunity of interacting with each other like every other social media platform. With their News Feeds feature, users have the opportunity to monitor and manually copy any trader of their choice.

This platform has an interesting feature called the Copy Trading where users can automatically copy traders in bits thereby managing both exposures and risks. What I love the most about this platform is the free and unlimited demo account made available to everyone.

2. Naga Trader

They boast of having some of the best social trading features that include social networking, social trading, copy trading, and innovative investment services such as the NAGA portfolios.

Social networking involves, starting a unique project that traders from all over the world can join hands to work on. Copy-trading allows Naga traders to reproduce the success of elite traders and make it their trades.  These two practices have gained popularity within the global markets so much that Naga Traders were nicknamed – the “Tinder Of Trading”. This platform also gives you access to their social trading network where you meet, interact, and share with fellow NAGA traders

3. ZuluTrade

Founded in 2017, ZuluTrade is a Social trading system that works with dozens of brokers. It is best for hosting the most advanced social trading features. This platform works by gathering many elite investor trading data and records their trading strategies. You can analyze this in a minute and replicate their performance by customizing the risk and investment management. You can also have access to a free demo account, where would practically learn how to start and clarify your ideas.

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