Posts Tagged ‘Carnival Cruise’

A quick review of the week of March 15, 2013 finds further examples of unquintessential leadership already noted with two principles here previously.

The first is Carnival Cruise Lines. After the debacle the week of February 15, 2013 with the Triumph, this week brings stories about three of the cruise line company’s other ships having similar troubles. The Dream, Elation, and Legend cruise ships all experienced technical difficulties this week, and all have had to be either towed, stopped early, or are limping slowly back to port.

Once again, Carnival’s response is to offer insignificant refunds or discounts, instead of taking their whole fleet off the water for whatever time it takes to update the equipment and make the vessels seaworthy and trustworthy. This is unquintessential leadership because these are serious and potentially dangerous, if not fatal, problems andCarnival Cruise Legend Cruise Ship those in leadership positions are unwilling to acknowledge and fix them immediately, no matter what the cost in money or time is. Those in executive positions at Carnival Cruise Lines are unquintessential leaders because they don’t care about the safety of the passengers nor the reliability and trustworthiness of the company. Instead, all they care about is how much money they can make. This is greed and selfishness in action.

The second principle is freshman Senator Ted Cruz. Senator Cruz is a Harvard Law School graduate who should be totally knowledgeable about the difference between an opinion about the U.S. Constitution and what the U.S. Constitution actually says. If he’s not, then Harvard needs take a serious look at its law school curriculum and professors.

On Thursday, March 14, 2013, Senator Cruz, in what has become his customary rude and disrespectful manner toward more-seasoned legislators, argued during a Senate Judiciary committee meeting than a ban on assault weapons is unconstitutional. In a condescending “schooling” session directed at Senator Dianne Feinstein that, in essence, implied that she had no understanding of the 2nd Amendment, so she needed it explained to her, Senator Cruz said that banning assault weapons is to the 2nd Amendment what censoring books is to the 1st Amendment.

It is not, although that’s what the Tea Party and the NRA would like everyone to believe. The 2nd Amendment says: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

The Supreme Court ruled definitively on the scope of what the 2nd Amendment covers in 2008’s District of Columbia V. Heller, with Justice Anthony Scalia’s majority opinion, which clearly says that 2nd amendment does not preclude banning assault weapons.

The reality is that at the time the amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution, no assault weapons existed, and the intent was to give all U.S. citizens the right to protect their homes, property, and families, and to feed themselves through hunting. It goes without saying that one doesn’t need assault weapons to do either of these things.

So Senator Cruz shows his unquintessential leadership again in several ways. First, he doesn’t even know the body of constitutional law involving the 2nd Amendment, which is unacceptable for a person in a leadership position who is a member of a committee that deals with matters involving constitutional law. Second, he is contradicting, without legitimate basis, the highest legal authority in the United States. And third, Senator Cruz consistently shows contempt and disrespect in his dealings and conversations with his colleagues, many of whom have served much longer – admittedly, probably too long in many cases – in the United States Senate than he has.

These are two news items that caught my attention regarding quintessential leadership – or the lack of it – this week. I urge all of us as quintessential leaders to observe the world around us – and that includes the news – and find mirrors that we can look into and see if we’re being the quintessential leaders we’re striving to be and say we are or there are areas where we are being unquintessential leaders and we need to change.

I’ve certainly seen some unquintessential leadership things in my mirrors this week and I have committed myself to changing them into quintessential leadership. We all have our weak spots and our blind spots and our unquintessential leadership thoughts, attitudes, and actions.

The difference between an unquintessential leader and a quintessential leader is that unquintessential leaders always look through windows, so they never see what they need to see about themselves, only what others need to do or change or be.

Quintessential leaders, on the other hand, look into mirrors and when they see the reflections of themselves, they see what needs to done, changed, or who they need to be, and they immediately commit to and start taking action to make that happen.

So my question to you, fellow quintessential leaders, is are you looking through a window or are you looking into a mirror?

I plan to make this a weekly feature on this blog, beginning with today’s post. I’ve done this type of post a couple of times already this year, breaking a story or two down in detail.

However, beginning with this post I will summarize the stories – some you’ve heard and some you probably missed – and give a big-picture statement about the the failure of quintessential leadership in each of them, and then invite you, as quintessential leaders, to do your own more in-depth analysis about the quintessential leadership failure aspects of each of them.

I do this because the heart and core of who I am is a coach. My role as a coach is to highlight and guide, but I firmly believe that each of us must actually put some effort into the analysis, the learning, and the application process to fully benefit from it. We’re on this journey to become fully quintessential leaders together. Therefore, we must all be engaged and participating in the process. I invite you to join me in meeting that goal.

The first story of unquintessential leadership that caught my attention this week was the FBI sting that left 10 Atlanta police officers facing corruption charges, when it became clear that they were accepting large sums of money from street gangs to provide protection during drug deals. Law enforcement is entrusted with protecting those of us who obey the laws – local, state, national – and removing those who don’t – street gangs and drug dealers certainly are among those – and this is yet another example of that trust and trustworthiness being broken.  That is unquintessential leadership.

For a detailed and in-depth discussion of the components and traits involved in building trust and being trustworthy, please purchase my eBook, Building Trust and Being Trustworthy. You can also purchase a paperback copy from Amazon or a Kindle version.

The second story also involves law enforcement – Chris Dorner, who was terminated by the Los Angeles Police Department in 2009, and took a resoundingly unquintessential leadership route to protest what he believed was an unfair and unmerited – which it could well have been – termination. It doesn’t take much, from a big-picture point of view, to see how this is unquintessential leadership. Any claims that Dorner had about bias, prejudice, and mistreatment during his tenure and in his termination from the LAPD (he laid this out in a very coherent, well-organized document that shows this was an intelligent, sane man talking) were erased by how he chose to force the issue: with threats, murders, and hostage-taking. Eventually it cost Chris Dorner his life – who didn’t know that would be how it ended? – but if there were any real problems that he wanted addressed and corrected, no one will listen or do anything about it because the last actions of his life seem to support his termination.

Beyond the obvious – I do hope the obvious is obvious – what can we learn from this about how we resolve issues and about how our methods need to be consistent with quintessential leadership? It’s important to remember that not every issue, dispute, or disagreement is win or lose, with no in between. Some are. But those involve moral foundations and principles and are non-negotiable under any circumstances.

But for the everyday issues, disputes, and disagreements we deal with, are we able to see that a draw is sometimes quintessential leadership in action? The “how” we do something matters as much as the “what” and “why.” Are you the kind of person who draws a line in the sand about absolutely everything? If so, you’re not a quintessential leader.

I urge you to take some time to think about this in your own lives. I have seen many people with legitimate whats and whys go down in flames because of how they tried to address and resolve them. On the other hand, I’ve seen just as many people who had absolutely no basis for their whats and whys – in in many cases, were completely on the wrong side of everything – prevail because of how they dealt with them. Both of these are the extremes, but it should be a lesson for us.

Another story of unquintessential leadership this week involves a company. Carnival Cruise Lines failed all leadership tests this week with their handling of the result of an engine room fire on Carnival Triumph earlier this week. The right – and quintessential leadership – action would have been to send some means of rescue (ferries, another ship with support to do the transfer, etc.) out immediately. Carnival Cruise Lines didn’t do that because of the cost involved. Their greed – as well as their belief that their industry is “bullet-proof” – underlines the lack of quintessential leadership at this company.

I read a statement from Carnival Cruise Line CEO Gerry Cahill this morning and if I were on the board of directors for this company, he would have been terminated right after this statement: “We pride ourselves on providing our guests with a great vacation experience, and clearly we failed in this particular case.”  Failure was simply a matter of not providing a great vacation experience? Mr. Cahill is an unquintessential leader in action.

Another continuing story of unquintessential leadership this week are the Armed Services Committee confirmation hearings on Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. The “politics-as-usual” circus surrounding this highlights how much of a lack of any quintessential leadership there is in American politics. But freshman senator Ted Cruz of Texas brought the unquintessential leadership spotlight on himself this week during the hearings. Read the story. This is not quintessential leadership. Period.

And the last story of unquintessential leadership that I’ll point out today is the story of Oscar Pistorius. You can read the story if you don’t know it already. Any time I hear of athletes involved in incidents like this, my first thought goes to overinflated egos – an unquintessential leadership trait. My second thought goes to the rampant use of performance-enhancing drugs among professional and Olympic athletes, which is illegal, unfair, and wrong – also unquintessential leadership traits – and the emotional and hormonal side-effects of those drugs, which can contribute to actions like these.

Ultimately, though, the full responsibility for this falls solely and completely on Oscar Pistorius. If he took performance-enhancing drugs, he knew the risks, and he made the choice. All the tears, shaking, and “strongest denials possible” won’t change the fact the he is responsible for every choice he made – including this one.