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Leading on the Edge: Extraordinary Stories and Leadership Insights from The World's Most Extreme Workplace by Rachael Robertson

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Chapter 11      image

Understand the game, and play your hand carefully

I decided to ensure that all expeditioners would have ready access to information about the science program. In previous expeditions, the scientists were expected to run their own programs in isolation. But this, I believe, was a mistake. Scientists needed the support of the tradies and engineers, and if the matter was urgent, as would sometimes happen, the person would need to drop what they were doing to help the scientist out.

Adding to the complexity was the issue of budgets. Where the science was paid for out of the individual science program budget, labour and materials for the engineers and trades would come from the Engineering budget. When faced with the question, ‘Do we continue to do the “programmed” work, or do we drop everything to help out this scientist?’, my view was that we drop the program work to help the scientist, because we were here for the science. A lack of knowledge, and pressure from the engineering program manager back in Hobart, could potentially derail this.

Cooperation through shared understanding

To help alleviate the problem, I decided that every individual should know and understand all of the science program … a big ask!

To put out a communiqué that plumbed the scientific depths of each program would have been an exercise in futility. The concepts behind the science projects were ...

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