The Thai Cave Rescue – respect, respect and more respect…

With Donald Trump visiting NATO, then the UK, meeting the Queen and then meeting President Putin in Helsinki, US/China/Europe trade wars, the publication of the UK Brexit White Paper and its aftermath, the death of an innocent member of the UK public from the Novichok nerve agent, the EU’s struggle to be united on immigration, the soccer World Cup in Russia, tennis’s Wimbledon, Sacha Baron Cohen’s satirical ‘Who is America?’ TV programme, and, of course, the dramatic rescue of children trapped in a flooded cave in northern Thailand, it’s been an intense and often shrill couple of weeks in the media!

The Badger has been reflecting holistically, reading between the lines, processing these events, and pondering whether there are any synergies with the Badger’s own career experiences. Putting aside the fact that the world order is changing, political leaders seem more detached from real people than ever, and the ludicrous salaries of footballers, it was the Thai cave rescue that captivated the Badger as a standout demonstration of the power of human endeavour for the good of others. The Badger’s own crisis management, project management, and delivery leadership instincts were kicked into life, even as an uninvolved observer over 5,500 miles away.

What was impressive wasn’t just the bravery of the Thai and international divers, but also the totality of the whole endeavour from top to bottom. It seemed to reinforce some of the messages published under Nuggets on this website. For example, there was good international and multi-functional teamwork, clear and rational assessment, management and mitigation of risks, the experts and specialists were listened to, detailed planning for the rescue and immediate aftermath was comprehensive and detailed, engineering and logistical support aligned with the plan. There was evidence of structured and solid decision making through the command and control structure, and the public relations aspects were handled well. The right people with the right expertise were clearly in the right positions. Everyone was motivated to succeed but was alive to the dangers, and the bravery of the Thai and international divers and everyone else in the cave was exceptional. Hopefully the lessons learned from all this will find their way at some stage into the relevant crisis management, project management, general management and leadership bibles!

The Badger has much respect for everyone involved in the Thai cave rescue, and is reminded of something that Mohammed Ali said, namely “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth”. Well, there’s nothing more precious than the life of an individual and so the rent is clearly paid up in full for all those involved with the magnificent achievement in Thailand!

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