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No joke, I just got off a cruise ship today owned by the same company. We watched the news updates of the Costa Concordia sinking while sailing on our ship off the coast of Cuba (see below). It was not amusing.
After reading reports and watching various videos, I have some questions:
Why did the captain go to shore hours before the last passenger?
Why did they continue to tell the passengers it was merely an electrical issue?
Why was the evacuation so disorganized and delayed?
The answer is: Leadership!
In this case, it was a lack of leadership. Here are six lessons we can all take from this leadership debacle:
It’s not “if” bad things will happen, but “when”. We must always be prepared.
When bad things happen, we must meet the challenges head on. We cannot deny them. We cannot hide from them.
Leaders must care first about those under their care. Will anyone follow that captain again when he gets out of jail?
It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s not okay to make people suffer or die covering them up.
When everyone knows there’s a crisis, communication is key. Silence creates more problems.
If you don’t have a real leader, you must be the leader. We need you!
What happened on the Costa Concordia is inexcusable. It is wrong. Someone must make the hard decisions. Someone must communicate.
This wasn’t just a failure of the captain to lead in the moment. It was also a failure of the captain to surround himself with real leaders.
Nobody had to die.
As I’ve said before, there is a place for bravery in a modern world. Leaders must face their mistakes. Leaders must be the first into danger and the last to leave it behind.
Leaders must speak clearly, honestly, and with strength to take scared followers and turn them into brave warriors as they face their own battles each step of the way.
Disclosure: I had surgery recently and am back on prescription Vicodin after trying to get off the pain meds too quickly. I’m learning some new lessons and think they might be applicable to everyday life. Hear me out.
We can learn something from my pain.
Here is what I notice as I try to work through the pain and medication:
I forget things and I repeat myself.
I won’t say things as well as I could if I wasn’t in pain or medicated.
I use bad grammer.
I get distracted from what I’m working on.
I repeat myself after I forget I already said something.
I ramble on.
I wonder if we all make similar mistakes when coping with the pain of going through a breakup, dealing with death, losing business (or a job), or facing other severe challenges in life.
Many try medicating the pain away so they don’t feel it.
Others try ignoring it until they break.
Some try both.
Of course surgery is one thing and life is another. However, when we see a fellow warrior struggling to get back up after a painful incident, we should help. For those of us in pain, we should accept help.
We can’t afford to ignore it. We don’t have time to waste.
All of us are guaranteed pain in life.
It’s how we deal with it that determines our future. We can’t do it alone.
PS. If you’re curious how I’ve been tweeting, feel free to follow me at my @Biebert account. Unfortunately, the new new twitter won’t let me reply twice, so I’ve left some of the bad tweets. I probably should take the advice of my doctor and sleep more, tweet less. Let me know what you think.
This Joe Paterno and Penn State leadership child molestation cover up is sickening.
What’s even worse is that some of it could have been easily avoided. The pain and shame so many feel right now was unnecessary.
It’s clear that some leaders at Penn State covered up disturbing crimes happening on their campus. I won’t point fingers at anyone in particular, but two people are now facing criminal charges. Others are facing moral charges from thousands of people who are wondering why they didn’t do more. Say more.
Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking, not just the “legal minimum”. It means calling the cops when something like this happens, not just calling your boss.
I understand this would have been a major distraction and black eye for their successful football program at the time, but now it may be a crippling blow.
Leaders can work hard to achieve record success, but if they allow unethical behavior on their watch, it may all mean nothing. Regardless of records, legends, or stellar reputations, all leaders will fall when moral issues like this are ignored. There is more to life. There is more to success. Leadership without honor is hollow.
Leaders must have their success and honor too.
“Success with Honor” is Penn State’s motto. Now they have neither.