Lessons from the Thai Cave Rescue


Hooyah! This week saw the successful completion of one of the most heroic and inspiring events of our time… the rescue of 12 young soccer players and their coach from a flooded cave in Thailand.
The event captivated our household – along with the rest of the world – as we watched meticulous planning, collaboration and teamwork result in an impossible mission, becoming possible.
Although your business challenges might not literally be life or death, the lessons from this rescue can be applied to ensure that your business survives.

Nothing is impossible if the will is strong enough
With all the odds stacked against getting the team out before the monsoon rains, they achieved the impossible. Sometimes our targets, objectives or challenges seem insurmountable, but the right people, who have the will, the ability and a meaningful reason to make it happen, can make it happen. Whether you think you can or you can’t, you are right. Believing that your goals are achievable is the first step towards success.

Finding solutions from diverse perspectives
All over the world, people applied themselves to potential solutions to rescue the Wild Boars – drilling down, waiting out the monsoons, mini submarines (or was that a cheap publicity stunt?) etc. In the end, there were a number of options on the table. Not only is there always a solution, but there is often more than one solution, and all options should be explored from all angles. The decisions and solutions don’t have to always come from the business owner. By including as many voices as possible in the debate, the business will benefit from the varying perspectives that everyone brings to the party.

It appears that every last detail of the rescue mission was meticulously planned and thought through. Similarly, in business you need to run through all the possible scenarios, calculate your risks and put measures in place to mitigate them. When potential challenges and obstacles are identified upfront, the chances of them occurring are less, and if they do, the chances of you overcoming them are better.

Teamwork and collaboration
The lead diver for each child led the way, carried the child’s oxygen and kept them calm. They were heroes. They were supported by 90 international volunteer divers who painstakingly prepared the escape route and played a role at their stations within the cave. They were heroes. They in turn were supported by 10,000 volunteers who offered their services in varying ways. They too were heroes.

Two lessons… Firstly, if so many people from different disciplines and different ethnic and cultural backgrounds can overcome language barriers to work together for a common goal and achieve success, there is no excuse for the employees in your business to work in isolation or in silos. Secondly, the success was a result of all the parts coming together and performing their role to the best of their ability. Whether it was the lead diver, or the volunteer cooking meals for the Navy Seals, each person had a role to play. “It’s not my job” never features in any successful project, so why is it tolerated in business?

Tough knocks
Nothing is perfect. Yes, the 13 members of the soccer team were rescued and are being reunited with their families, but another family is grieving the loss of a Thai Navy Seal who passed away during the rescue operation. His tragic death was a blow to the operation, but importantly, they did not give up, and his heroic efforts were not in vain. It is also important not to give up when your business takes a knock. Some of the greatest successes are a result of overcoming adversity.

If you are feeling trapped, if the hope and optimism you had when you first started your business is fading, don’t despair. Get the experts on board to help you find that light at the end of the tunnel. I am waiting for your call.

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