Insights for overcoming enormous obstacles
What kind of leadership would you need to undertake the largest engineering project ever, where success depends on the use of technologies which have not yet even been invented, and where a well-resourced team of experts had previously failed with massive loss of financial resources and lives? Sam Chand explores the issues in his book Bigger Faster Leadership: Lessons from the Builders of the Panama Canal.
The book draws inspiration from a number of aspects of the history of the Panama Canal, including:
- How the success of Ferdinand de Lesseps with the Suez Canal project blinded him to potential problems with the Panama Canal
- How the engineers had the foresight to build the canal to accommodate ships larger than any then in existence
- How Colonel William Gorgas devised an expensive but effective way of controlling mosquitos to eradicate malaria and yellow fever
- How President Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft were quick to address opposition
The book is not so much a systematic overview of the attributes of strong leadership as a miscellaneous collection of leadership insights which suggest themselves from the history of the Panama Canal project. Nonetheless it is an interesting and entertaining book which is sure to provide some useful material for reflection for any leader who seeks to overcome significant obstacles.