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Factions, Negotiation, and Diplomacy

The year is 204 B.C., and Publius Cornelius Scipio stands, blade and standard in hand, over now-conquered Utica. The numerically superior forces of Hasdrubal and Syphax almost completely annihilated in a nighttime assault by the Romans, and the Carthaginian field forces were entirely out of commission in Northern Africa.

The Carthaginian Empire is the verge of ruin, with Scipio's forces clear to take the capital -

And lo! Envoys appear.

Not just any envoys, but 30 Members of Carthage's Council of Elders, the highest and most respected spokesmen for the state.

What Leaders Can Learn from The Costa Concordia Tragedy

On A Driver Minded Guy Living in a Passenger Minded World

The Costa Concordia was Europe's largest-ever cruise ship when it launched in 2006, however, not a lot is being said about that now with the ship being on the rocks. Considering the age with high tech GPS and mapping systems,it is pretty hard to believe something like this could happen. Furthermore, it is more than tragic the lives that have been lost in something attributed to human error. So what could leaders learn from this awful tragedy?

Before we get into that, let's address one of the major leadership issues of this particular tragedy. The captain. What does this captain's actions after the crash say about the state of leadership today? It seems with not only this tragedy, but the more recent business "crashes" that gone are the days when leaders/captains stayed with the ship to ensure everyone is taken care of before worrying about themselves. I would have been ok if he darted from the ship to go for help, but from most estimates, he didn't even send a mayday call. What is going on here? What has happened to the leadership today that whether it be large cruiseships or large companies, no one sends mayday messages or helps their passengers/associates get to safety before bailing themselves? Now that the soap box is done, let's talk about some of the lessons.

Lesson 1: Stay the course. From the reports, we have have learned the captain went off of the normal course and right into a patch of rocks which took the ship to its doom. So often, leaders get brazen and neglect to follow the standard instruments used to keep the business in the "right lane". Of course, there are times when following your gut could lead to tremendous success, but you have to weigh out the costs of those decisions on those on the ship with you. Unfortunately, there are also times where staying the course, as boring as it may seem, is what needs to be done for the safety of your passengers.

Lesson 2: Be sure to use the mayday signal. I am not sure whether it is pride or stupidity that prevents a lot of leaders of companies to admit they need help. A true leader leans on the experience and knowledge of their team and is willing to be open to asking for help when it is needed. There are a number of resources available to leaders who need help with a particular problem in their company. Everyone experiences bumps or potholes in the path, the smart thing to do would be to lean on help from those who may have already tracked down a similar path. Wisdom is often as easy to obtain as learning from the mistakes of others.

Lesson 3: Make sure everyone knows the directions for the lifeboats. If you've heard any of the accounts of when the ship went down, you heard the mass chaos which ensued once everyone on the ship was aware of the scale of the tragedy. As a leader, you must make sure everyone on your ship knows the necessary directions for when trouble arises. Mass hysteria can add unneeded noise to a tense situation. If everyone on your team is aware of the "disaster recovery plan," things will go a lot smoother. Additionally, if you take the course most commanders do in the army, be sure you have a statement of "commander's intent." As a leader, you cannot possibly be there to help your team think through every single dilemma they experience, but through the use of the CI statement, you can at least arm them with what they need to know.

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