Posts Tagged ‘titanic’

Two key computers crashed irreversibly last week and an unobservant driver hit my car. Business deadlines can’t be moved. The next 3 weeks are on the road. What to do? Pause, breathe, think and act. It’s just another project, one that is rather personal but still a project just the same.

Pause and Ask The Right Questions

A series of questions helped steer through this project ask:

  • Even if it is unrelated, did these events occur while pursuing what is best (to do)?
  • Separate from personal feelings and desires can I accept myself, the situation, and the people involved?
  • Can an adequate list of the principles and constraints be listed by a stakeholder? This list started at the moment of the accident and computer crashes and includes the policeman, other driver, insurance agents, computer repairman, clients, etc.
  • Can personal limits along with available resources be listed?
  • Is there a risk management plan in place for dealing with loss of time, money, and resources?
  • Can an adequate plan be built to get back on track and stay on track? Can that plan adapt to new information?

Breathe and Think

Before getting on to using the questions it is worth pointing out the saving grace to all this is the “what ifs” thought through over the years along with implementation of associated strategies. It is in line with an earlier blog regarding the  “Titanic,” i.e., instead of trying to design a ship that wouldn’t sink it would have been better to design in response to the question, “What do we do if the ship does sink?” Applied here it’s translated into saying well in advance, “It could happen, lean into it, generate a plan,” instead of just reacting to problems by saying, “This shouldn’t be happening to me because…!”

Take Action

Actions comprise weaving the results of pursuing the questions with the risk response strategies. Centeredness has taken shape in the midst of the anger, disappointment, frustration, etc., This centeredness surfaced the question,

Do I stay with what can be done or get lost in reacting?

One example of staying with what CAN be done involves some key databases and revolves around asking, “What if the hourly backups that should never corrupt actually do?” The worst-case costs led to additional backups on separate equipment for especially important files beyond the imaged external hard drives. THAT strategy paid off handsomely. Somehow the hourly files were corrupted and there has been no time to explore. The additional belts-and-suspenders backups saved the day. They are running well with the new compute. The jury is still out on the second computer, which is being fixed under warranty.

The gods of blogging must have been watching all this. When going into the computer shop a conversation was under way. It went something like this, “We couldn’t recover any data. You can send them to a recovery specialist. Prices start at $700/hard drive and go up from there. Since you have several hard drives that need recovered…well you can see where the math is going.”

Pause, breathe, think, and act. The more it is done when everything is okay the better it will be when things go south.

Did I mention my car was hit? With that there is repair, a rental, insurance adjusters, claim adjusters …whoa!…got to get packing! Plane to catch. It looks like more pausing, breathing, and thinking while on the road. Sleep will be sometime in May.

Titanic and the power of storytelling

by Rajesh Setty on November 6, 2009

“The universe is made of stories, not atoms.”
Muriel Rukeysertitanic

“Did you see James Cameron’s brilliant movie Titanic?”

Whenever I ask this question, nine out of ten times I get a “Yes.”

I have a follow up question after that.

“Before you saw the movie, did you know that the ship, the Titanic, was going to sink completely in the end?”

The answer, nine out of ten times – “Yes.”

In other words, millions of people spent time watching a three-hour movie about a ship knowing in advance that the ship would sink. It takes about 90 minutes from the time the ship gets into trouble until it sinks completely.

James Cameron begins the film in 1996, as a treasure hunter and his team search for a diamond necklace called the “Heart of the Ocean,” which was lost aboard the Titanic when it sank. So, if you somehow went to the movie without knowing that the Titanic was doomed to sink, you learned that fact within the first ten minutes of the film.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against Titanic. In fact, I think Titanic was a brilliantly made movie, and I totally enjoyed it.

Now, why were people watching this movie even after knowing what the main action was in advance?

One reason, of course, is curiosity. People wanted to find out what really happened with the Titanic before it sank. That part was a mystery for many people.

The second reason is the power of storytelling in play.  James Cameron and his team did a brilliant job of narrating the Titanic story, in all its glory and tragedy, for more than three hours in a spellbinding fashion. They created a compelling story and fascinating characters that drew us in to the story. We saw the ship through the eyes of Rose and Jack, and we were drawn into their world.

The audience knew that the ship was going to sink, so there was no suspense there. But what they didn’t know was “what happened to Rose DeWitt on the night Titanic went down” In fact, the audience knew that she survived so the suspense was all about the events that unfolded in her life until the time the ship went down. Soon after she starts narrating her story, a “conflict” is introduced. Young Rose (who was traveling in First Class) falls in love with a drifter called Jack Dawson (who was traveling in Third Class) and obviously Rose’s family is not happy about it. The audience is now left to imagine how their love story ended. Was it a happy ending? Was it a sad ending? Did Jack survive? If so where is he? Lots of questions and therefore lots of reasons for the audience to continue to pay attention.

Even though everyone expected the film’s climax (ship sinking), the audience was not aware of the events leading to the climax in the life of Rose Dewitt. That’s what kept the audience glued to the seats.

Hats off to them and hats off James Cameron, his team, and to the power of storytelling in general!

The real question is:

How are you using the power of storytelling in your life and/or in your business?