A lecture series hosted by the Kelley School of Business Indianapolis will share the valuable leadership lessons gleaned from the epic adventure of Sir Ernest Shackleton, whose 1914 journey to the South Pole is the subject of a new exhibit at the Indiana State Museum.
Shackleton and his crew of 27 survived 20 months in the bitter Antarctic cold after their ship, the Endurance, was trapped and crushed in the Weddell Sea. Shackleton led his entire crew to safety despite meager supplies, makeshift shelters and unrelenting weather and seas.
The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition runs from Oct. 15 to Feb. 19, 2012, at the Indiana State Museum. The exhibit will feature a large photo display from the expedition, diary entries from crew members and vintage film footage as it resurrects one of the most awesome man-against-nature sagas of the 20th Century.
Since his joyous return in 1914, Shackleton’s story has been presented as the benchmark for extraordinary leadership by academics and Fortune 500 companies alike. His exemplary leadership in the face of adversity is woven into much of the curriculum taught by business professors at Kelley Indianapolis.
Philip Cochran, associate dean for Indianapolis operations and director of the Randall L. Tobias Center for Leadership Excellence, will present three lectures on various leadership values displayed by Shackleton.
October 27, 2011
Selling the South Pole: A Lesson in Leadership Vision?Leaders must have vision, and they must be able to share it, inspiring an array of audiences. Shackleton successfully shared his enthusiasm with financial backers, the press and his crew. He exemplifies a major leadership principle: A leader provides vision for the organization.
December 8, 2011
Building the Right Team: A Lesson in Leadership Strategy?Leaders must select and nurture outstanding teams. One of the key leadership characters highlighted in the Endurance story is Shackleton’s ability to select the best possible team for the task. Who he chose and why he chose them is a very interesting study. The crew worked well together and had complementary skills. This could have been particularly difficult because the crew included some interesting “characters.”
January 17, 2012
Maintaining Morale: A Lesson in Leadership Management?Leaders must know how to maintain morale. One of the truly amazing observations about the Shackleton expedition is the way Shackleton found ways to have parties and fun under truly horrendous circumstances. Shackleton understood the importance of celebration. He understood the supply of morale is, in many ways, more important than the supply of food.
“When you consider what Shackleton and his men had to overcome, and the limited supplies and resources they had to do it with, the story really becomes one of survival against the most impossible of odds,” Cochran said. “Future business leaders may not face life-and-death decisions, but they will be faced with challenges to manage teams, motivate others and rise to meet challenges. Shackleton confronted all these obstacles and more.”
Having a local university as a contributing sponsor to an exhibit is a rarity for the Indiana State Museum. However, the content of the exhibit fits perfectly with leadership qualities developed for Kelley students, said Tom King, president of the Indiana State Museum.
“Business school curriculum these days is about leadership, as well as technical skills required in business,” King said. “This sponsorship by Kelley Indianapolis connects this exhibit with leadership, as well as demonstrating leadership to the community by helping to bring the exhibit to Indiana. This partnership will lead to a stimulating and educational museum experience.”
The Kelley School intends to bring student groups through the exhibit and to hear Cochran’s leadership lecture series. Two undergraduate leadership courses will participate in the series, and the 2011 group of Hoosier Fellows Program, a leadership-training course offered through the Center for Leadership Excellence, will meet during one of the lectures.