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Jul 7, 2020

Ernest Shackleton and the men he was leading on an expedition to cross Antarctica had piled up a breathtaking number of life-threatening crucibles by late 1915. Stuck motionless in polar block ice for months, hundreds of miles off course with no way to communicate their location to anyone who could help, Shackleton and his men were running low on the supplies they had already been forced to ration in miserly fashion when their greatest disaster struck: The ice that had trapped their ship now closed in to crush it, leaving the men fully exposed to the bitter cold with no choice but to traverse the ice floes that surrounded them in desperate search of safety. Shackleton's mission had changed for good from one of discovery to one of survival for himself and his men. On this episode of BEYOND THE CRUCIBLE, Harvard Business School Professor Nancy Koehn, who profiles Shackleton in her Wall Street Journal best-seller Forged in Crisis, explains in detail how the British polar explorer's only hope was to forget the disasters he and his crew had endured and "face forward" with grit, ingenuity, and improvisation. "Crisis leaders get better and better and better," she tells host Warwick Fairfax. "You can see it iteratively if you study them as I do."

To learn more about Nancy Koehn, visit

To learn more about Crucible Leadership, visit