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Business Lessons We Can Learn From The Titanic

Written by: Julie Lokun, JD, Executive Contributor with Rear Admiral Garry E. Hall

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Julie Lokun, JD

The Titanic was labeled as “almost unsinkable”. Almost, is the key phrase. In April of 1912, the much haled Titanic was vested into maritime history as one of the most luxurious maritime vessels of its kind. Boarding 2,240 passengers in Southampton, England, the launch created a clamor of excitement as they set sail for New York City. The event was monumentous.

A model of the wrecked Titanic.

While history neatly tucks the Titanic into the category of epic maritime disasters, the captain of the ship, Edward J. Smith, offers a historical look into leadership, especially when the tides change. More importantly, he offers a glimpse into navigating treacherous waters. According to Admiral Garry E. Hall, author of the book, Navating Leadership, there are three reasons the Titanic sank.

First, the architects were in a rush to be the biggest and best ship on the waters. The construction of the ship was subpar as they used inferior steel to construct the hull. Due to this feverish rush- to-market, the builders could not obtain the proper rivets and the quantity required that held the ship together. Upon collision with the iceberg, the rivets fractured and could not withstand the impact. The glorious ship on her maiden voyage snapped in half.

Hall explains the second reason the Titanic was doomed to failure. The ship did not have a back up plan. With only 20 lifeboats aboard the ship, and 2,240 passengers aboard only half of the passengers would have an opportunity to survive mid-sea impact. The owners of the grandiose Titanic failed to have an exit plan when met with life threatening situations.

The final reason that led to the devastating fate of the Titanic is that the leader, Captain Edward J. Smith was reportedly cavalier to his approach when faced the impending danger. While little is recorded in terms of Smith’s last two hours on the

ship, it is said that he was unusually cautious and was indecisive in action. Hall believes that Captain Smith downplayed the collision as he stood upon the deck as his last order,”Abandon Ship”, echoed through the chaos.

Hall, who served as National Security Advisor to The President, understands how lessons at sea transmute into best business practices. He gleans historical lessons and has applied them into his work in The White House and in Fortune 500 Companies.

Three lessons business owners can learn from the Titanic

Lesson 1

Haste leads to inevitable destruction

Business leaders who choose the rush-to-market approach leave their product/service open themselves to missed opportunities, inferior quality and ultimately a damaged reputation. The fateful voyage of the Titanic showcases a rush-to-market plan driven by greed, riches and the desire to dominate an industry.

Lesson 2

Have an exit plan

All business leaders tread rough waters. The resilient leaders understand the importance of having a back-up plan, and furthermore an exit strategy from day 1. Having an exit plan, affords protection to key stakeholders, fosters future growth, and protects the value of your company’s reputation.

Lesson 3

Do not be cavalier in dangerous situations. Will pride sink your business?

Be decisive. When met with challenges, a leader must lead. Admiral Garry Hall explains that in pivotal moments of conflict, leaders are called to do the right thing, while the managers are tasked with doing things right.

Captain Smith, who enjoyed a decorated career at sea, failed to do the right thing. His momentary inability to command the ship and do things right, led to the Titanic’s fatal surmise. Leaders today, while assessing the needs of potential danger need to lead, not simply assess the decision. Leaders must practice their authority and understand the purpose of their mission. When a business is void of acute leadership, the business will fail.

Learning from historical follies and failures can drive success for modern day leaders. While failure is an integral part of business growth, ordinary leaders respond with damage control. Extraordinary leaders, understand the lesson of failure and immerge stronger.

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Julie Lokun, JD Brainz Magazine

Julie Lokun, JD, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Julie Lokun is a best-selling author and podcast host of two shows, which rank in the top 1.5% globally. She is known for elevating the voices of impact through her company, The Mediacasters. With her exceptional skills in media and public relations, Julie has built an impressive client roster that spans across various industries, from Presidential Appointees and TV personalities to Inc 5000 corporate clients. Julie helps individuals and organizations share their stories through publishing, presenting, podcasting, and public relations. Her commitment to excellence and dedication to her clients' success have made her a sought-after media expert and changemaker in her field.



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