Surviving Business: Lessons from Deep Survival Book by DLYohn

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In Deep Survival (2003, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.), Laurence Gonzales illuminates the essence of a true survivor.

By dissecting stories of impossible survival -- and unnecessary loss -- from avalanches, plane crashes, and even 9/11, he shows how accidents are not random acts and how people can prevent them from happening to them.

The following are a few of the many relevant business leadership lessons...

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Surviving Business: Lessons from Deep Survival Book by DLYohn

  1. 1. In Deep Survival (2003, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.), Laurence Gonzalesilluminates the essence of a true survivor.By dissecting stories of impossible survival -- and unnecessary loss -- from avalanches, plane crashes, and even 9/11, he shows how accidents are not random acts and how people can prevent them from happening to them. The following are a few of the many relevant business leadership lessons...
  2. 2. seek out new stimuli “Stress erodes the ability to perceive…You see less, hear less, miss more cues from the environment, and make mistakes…Stress causes most people to focus narrowly on the thing that they consider most important, and it may be the wrong thing.”
  3. 3. challenge yourself and others“Group dynamics can be a powerful motivator…Experienced climbersmay be reluctant to challenge others with experience, and the same is truein any other pursuit. Going into a risky operation, doctors won’t challengedoctors…cops won’t challenge cops…The design of the human conditionmakes it easy for us to conceal the obvious from ourselves, especiallyunder strain and pressure.”
  4. 4. don’t trust the rock“All mountains are in a state of continuouscollapse…[They] have skirts of scree and bouldersthat show it. In that deepest place of belief, it’seasy to persist in thinking that the mountain is solid.”
  5. 5. land the plane, not the model “There is a tendency to make a plan and then to worship [it.]”
  6. 6. wait to celebrate“Those climbers, like most, celebrated reaching the summit… They feltthat the action was over…Their focus had been sharp in the goal-seeking phase. Now it grew blurry…They were celebrating when theyhad the worst part of the climb ahead of them.”
  7. 7. be wary of “emotional bookmarks”“When a decision must be made instantly, it is made through a system ofemotional bookmarks…The pleasant feelings we’ve experienced whiledoing something in the past overshadow warnings and cues not to do itagain now.”
  8. 8. be here now“Pay attention and keep an up-to-date mentalmodel…To admit reality and work with it is to accept it.”
  9. 9. make a new mental mapThe research suggests five general stages in the process a person goesthrough when lost.1. You deny you’re disoriented and press on with growing urgency, attempting to make your mental map fit what you see.2. As you realize that you’re genuinely lost, the urgency blossoms into a full- scale survival emergency. Clear thought becomes impossible and action becomes frantic, unproductive, even dangerous.3. Usually following injury or exhaustion, you expend the chemicals of emotion and form a strategy for finding some place that matches the mental map.4. You deteriorate both rationally and emotionally, as the strategy fails to resolve the conflict.5. As you run out of options and energy, you must become resigned to your plight. Like it or not, you must make a new mental map of where you are…To survive, you must find yourself.
  10. 10. take responsibility“Expecting someone else to take responsibility for your well-being canbe fatal…Survival is a transformation; being a leader can ensure that,when you reach the final stage of that metamorphosis, it is with anattitude of commitment, not resignation.”
  11. 11. use your fear“Survival is not about bravery and heroics…by definition,survivors must live. Survivors aren’t fearless. They use fear: theyturn it into anger and focus.”
  12. 12. image credits where available:•tunnel -- Mark Simmons•lemmings – Josh Neuman•polar bear – paulcooperbland denise lee yohnplease contact me if you have info about image sources. deniseleeyohn.com

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