The timeless leadership skills you can learn from the Antarctic explorers

What could the Antarctic explorers of the 1900s possibly have in common with modern-day marketing? More than you might think. Molly Raycraft discusses with marketer and Antarctic enthusiast Brad Borkan

The Antarctic explorers of the early 1900s didn’t have a conventional workplace. The potential for death lurked round every corner. Food was scarce, and having to eat dog livers threatened the adventurers with vitamin A poisoning. You could lose your bare hand to frostbite in just a few minutes in the -49C temperatures. But perhaps the biggest challenge was maintaining an efficient team through all this.

It’s the psychological aspect of these trips that most intrigues Brad Borkan, strategic partner marketing at SAP and co-author of the book When Your Life Depends on It, which recounts the epic tales of explorers such as Scott, Shackleton, Mawson and Amundsen. “One of the most remarkable things about these six expeditions that are covered in the book is there’s no history of fist fights, murder, mayhem or sabotage,” says Brad.

Brad discovered the perils of the Antarctic expeditions as a young boy, and it has spurred his other passion for analysis of decision-making in his adult life. He believes the explorers provide a modern day audience with lessons in how to make decisions – whether they be wrong or right.

This feature has been written exclusively for our members. Membership is free and only takes five minutes to complete, giving you access to the following:

  • The leadership qualities of each explorer; Scott, Shackleton, Amundsen, and Mawson.
  • Leadership lessons for B2B marketers.
  • The role of second-in-command.
  • How to adopt an Antarctic strategy.