Crisis Management Lessons from Chile

It was inspiring to watch the successful rescue efforts in Chile. While the emerging of the last miner and then the final rescuer from the mine was the culmination, there were many leadership moves and management actions from the beginning that made it all possible.

It all started within the mine. The leadership reflected by the shift supervisor and the team spirit of the miners was the ultimate display of poise under fire. The inspiration, motivation, and organizational skills especially for the first 17 days and thereafter allowed the miners to stay sane and hopeful. Careful management of meager resources for a common purpose – to survive – was critical.

Meanwhile above the ground, a positive attitude by the President inspiring his people to band together to organize the rescue effort was nothing short of perfection. Asking help from capable countries, companies and people was not seen as a weakness but a useful, necessary collaboration. Developing innovative techniques and tools to mount the rescue effort, and meticulous planning for contingencies and backup strategies to address those was commendable. Implementing those plans with complete visibility to the world was risky, but courageous.

Hats off to all the miners, rescuers, volunteers, support organizations, families and the leaders for banding together for a common mission.

When the details of the planning and execution of the rescue come out, they will provide a textbook case for crisis management for Entrepreneurs.

Ravi Patel



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