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.