Leadership Lessons Learnt from Adversity


The 2012 Olympics ended on a high note. There were many a laughter, joy, a tear, a heart-broken and many other emotion or memory  but the key takeaway was how the host city London made it happen.

Organizing a successful event like the Olympics takes a lot of planning, coordination, optimism, desire and willingness of many people from different walks of life.

Coordination and team spirit is tested in organizing such events.

But let’s take situations of having to survive and find a way out with a group of people, some of whom may be complete strangers, after an air crash or ship wreck.

Staying Alive

 Alive is a 1993 American biographical survival drama film which details the story of the Uruguayan rugby team who were involved in the crash of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, which crashed into the Andes’ mountains on October 13, 1972.

The 16 Uruguayan rugby players, friends, and relatives who survived for two months after their plane crashed in the Andes are forever bound to one another. But what did it take for the survivors during the two months when they were stranded.

The entire movie is worth watching but the following extract from the movie captures the essence of leadership well.

6 Key Lessons from the movie “Alive”

1. The best relationship is not the one that brings together perfect people, but when each of us  learn to live with the imperfections of others and can admire the other person’s good qualities and able to use it for achieving the vision.

2. Hope – Never take away hope from anyone including yourself.  Each of  the Uruguayan rugby players lived with the hope that they will be rescued. Each of them kept the hope alive and even for those who doubted about being rescued people like Roberto Canessa and Nando Parrado kept the team together with their encouraging words.

3. Togetherness – they learnt to live together and put aside the differences they had.  Empathy among team members is imperative.

4. Commitment  – Three of the young men, Roberto Canessa, Nando Parrado, and Antonio Vizintín, made a daring trek through the mountains to reach help. While Vizintín returned to the fuselage, Canessa and Parrado made human contact in Chile after ten days. Their friends back at the wreckage were back home in time for Christmas.  They took the lead and kept their word and brought rescue.

5. Integrity  – During such situations or in vulnerable moments, one’s values and ethics are put to test.  Your character is what you display during your worst down and out moments. This movie displays the importance of integrity well.

6. Trust – There were many moments where they had to push themselves beyond their comfort zone and stand up for the situation.  They had to learn to trust and rely on each other.

Life on a day-to-day basis may not be as vulnerable as facing an air crash but when we work in organizations there are situations where we may have to deal with people whom we have differences of opinion or some one whom we may not necessarily be comfortable working with.

A Leader need not be one with a title but one who can bring together a team and inspire them to work towards a vision.  Mindfulness is not only about being but using our tenacity, courage, faith and unwavering commitment to whatever we do.


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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

Lalita Raman

Lalita Raman is CEO of Transitions Intl Ltd
She serves her clients as Executive Coach, Business Coach & Consultant
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Image Sources: elaph.com

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