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Leadership in Crisis: Ernest Shackleton and the Epic Voyage of the Endurance

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Table of Contents Analysis of the Endurance expedition: 3 Was the exploration a success or a failure?: 5 Relentless pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled”: 5

Analysis of the Endurance expedition:
The expedition of E. S in 1915 can be analyzed as a scientific endeavor, as an entrepreneurial venture and as well as an imperial opportunity.
Scientific Endeavor: In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the world was eager to know the unknown parts of the world. England was not behind that race. They wanted to accumulate the fullest information about the great unexplored and little known areas of Earth’s surface. Explorers had it in their mind that the exploration ought to be conducted on scientific methods. The quest for scientific knowledge drove many explorers and their supporters to go for polar expedition. Ernest Shackleton’s journey was also considered as a scientific quest. Though the South Pole was already discovered in 1911, and it looked like he had nothing new to discover. Yet he wanted to go beyond the South Pole. The thrust of knowledge to see beyond that point is of course considered as a scientific endeavor. It is considered as an endeavor because, it was not easy to pursue. Collecting money, gathering the right crew, putting together the right nutrition for the crew members, managing in the proper way and most importantly surviving in the challenging weather were not very easy to achieve.
Entrepreneurial Venture: At the time S. wanted to pursue this quest, he had no money. After the South Pole was discovered in 1911, he no longer had a continent to conquer. When he started to raise money for his journey he had to face a challenge because people were less interested in polar exploration as World War I started whipping across Europe. It was not an ideal circumstance. He seked help from the press, and wrote letters to all the wealthy people who were likely to give donation for his quest. At the same time he looked for suitable crews and gear for his journey. He looked for optimistic, cheerful crews. He looked for people who had experience spending long hours on frozen North Sea. He looked for people who has the ability to survive the most difficult mental and physical trails. He also looked how they would interact with rest of the men. He knew that nourishing a crew properly in subzero conditions presented key challenges to every polar expedition. They not only need enough food but also the right combination of food values. He also paid strict attention to the quality of equipment and clothing for the journey. He also had to find not only one but two sheep, dogs, someone to teach the dogs to sled for his quest. I would say that it was an entrepreneurial venture because, an entrepreneur has a goal in front of him and to achieve that he puts all the necessary things together. That is exactly what Shackleton did. An entrepreneur changes his goal as situation changes. As soon as the ship Endurance was frozen, Shackleton knew that he had to change his goal. He knew that he could no longer walk across the continent of Antarctica, the new goal was to survive. He was able to see that and keep that clearly in focus. This is very hard for people to do, to give up on a long-sought-after goal. Shackleton started as an entrepreneur of exploration but as the journey proceeded he became an entrepreneur of survival. Shackleton was very good in revising, resting his objectives as the context changed. After two years of extraordinary hardships, he ensured the survival of all twenty-seven of his crewmen. He was successful at this entrepreneurial venture of survival.
Imperial opportunity: Explorers from different countries who succeeded in mapping new territory or reaching previously undiscovered areas were hailed as national heroes. The island, bays and mountains they reached were often named after their monarchs or sometimes even after themselves. The success also led to professional success, fame and fortune at home. After Shackleton’s 1907 polar exploration he earned a knighthood. He set the new record for “farthest south”. In 1911, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole. In 1915 Shackleton wanted to go further. Discovering new territory was a reason but the fame and honor also motivated him. So I would say that the exploration was an imperial opportunity.
Was the exploration a success or a failure?:
If we think about the initial goal of the exploration, it was a failure. One of the reasons could be Shackleton’s ego that he found very hard to divest until the ship ran into trouble. The whalers at South Georgia predicted about the ice floes. He could have waited instead of sailing out of South Georgia Island in the winter of 1914-15. He wanted to cross the South Pole but he did not even reach there. But if we think about the second goal he pursued, bringing back all of his 27 crew members: it was a success. By 1920, when Shackleton wanted to go for another venture, eight of his previous crew members came to England from the corners of the world to embark on one last adventure with the “Boss”(this is what the crew members used to call Shackleton).
Relentless pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled”:
The perception of opportunity in the absence of resources helps explain the differences between entrepreneurial leadership from that of corporate administrators. The emphasis on team rather than hierarchy, equity rather than cash compensation and fast decision rather than deliberation. When it comes to decision making process we can choose either of these two ways: we can look at the variety of choices that was made before and pick the best available option and try to make it fit, or we can do what an entrepreneur does, figure out the best possible option and make it available. The definition of entrepreneur was true for Shakleton when his objective was to cross the Antarctica. He had to pursue opportunity. He had no money. After the South Pole was discovered in 1911, he no longer had a continent to conquer. When he started to raise money for his journey he had to face a challenge because people were less interested in polar exploration as World War I started whipping across Europe. It was not an ideal circumstance. He sleeked help from the press, and wrote letters to all the wealthy people who were likely to give donation for his quest. At the same time he looked for suitable crews and gear for his journey. He looked for optimistic, cheerful crews. He looked for people who had experience spending long hours on frozen North Sea. He looked for people who has the ability to survive the most difficult mental and physical trails. He also looked how they would interact with rest of the men. He knew that nourishing a crew properly in subzero conditions presented key challenges to every polar expedition. They not only need enough food but also the right combination of food values. He also paid strict attention to the quality of equipment and clothing for the journey. He also had to find not only one but two sheep, dogs, someone to teach the dogs to sled for his quest. The definition above suggests that entrepreneurs are not born they are made and it is a way of managing. Shackleton started as an entrepreneur of exploration but as the journey proceeded he became an entrepreneur of survival. Shackleton was very good in revising, resting his objectives as the context changed.
Ernest Shackleton never achieved his goal of crossing the continent of Antarctica. As soon as his ship Endurance was frozen, without any delay he decided that the goal was no longer to traverse the continent of Antarctica but to survive. After two years of extraordinary hardships, he ensured the survival of all twenty-seven of his crewmen. He was successful at this entrepreneurial venture of survival. So I would say that he was an entrepreneur.…...

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