Today is February 19 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “how often do you find solutions?” Navigating the chaos often requires one to think differently and identify an uncommon solution.
On the night of April 29, 1849, The Hannah, a brig transporting immigrants fleeing the famine in Ireland sank in the Gulf of Lawrence. Encountering heavy winds the brig struck an ice berg that punched a hole in the hull. Captain Curry Shaw, along with his first and second officers, fled in the only lifeboat leaving the passengers to fend for themselves.
To escape the sinking Hannah the remaining crewmen helped the passengers onto an ice floe next to the bow. The passengers viewed the very object that caused their tragic event also as a potential life-saving strategy. They climbed onto the ice floe and waited for help to arrive. The Nicaragua under the command of Captain William Marshall appeared the next day and rescued the 127 survivors. The Hannah’s passengers and crew demonstrated a combination of the characteristics of successful people. There was no one secret to their survival. They had a bias toward action, engaged with each other, and created options for themselves by viewing the ice floe as a life-saving solution.
Sixty-three years later, on April 14, 1912 the RMS Titanic collided with an iceberg in the north Atlantic and sunk in less than three hours leaving just 705 survivors from its 2,200 passengers and crew. While the Titanic’s passengers and crew used 16 lifeboats and waited for the Carpathiato rescue them they ultimately failed to utilize the iceberg as a mean of survival like those from The Hannahdecades earlier.
As Tony McCaffrey and Jim Pearson wrote in the December 2015 issue of Harvard Business Review “imagine how many more might have lived if crew members had thought of the iceberg as not just the cause of the disaster but a life-saving solution.”
Amit Sodha noted "Complaining is finding faults. Wisdom is finding solutions. Don't just find fault, find the answer." What lessons can you take away from comparing The Hannah to the Titantic? Why do you think some people viewed the iceberg as a life-saving solution and others merely as a cause of the disaster?
When is the last time you created options for yourself amidst a difficult situation?