How did Luis do it?

How did Luis do it?

(Second in a series of three posts)

The news reports have focused on the “miracle” of the rescue, and it is indeed an amazing event. Read these reports through a leadership lens and there are some identifiable actions that Luis Urzua took in order to move the process away from disaster and towards its ultimate amazing success.  He seems to have balanced his twin roles of Leader and Manager to good effect.

He effectively led his team

  • He created a central focus for them in order to hold them together as a team; for example, they were heard singing Chile’s national anthem with strong voices.
  • He showed care and concern for each of his team members. An Associated Press article on 13 October 2010 quoted Robinson Marquez, who once worked with Urzua in a nearby mine, as saying, “He is very protective of his people and obviously loves them.”
  • He was aware of, and encouraged each person’s individual identity within the team, making it clear that each person mattered. The media surrounding the mine reporting the arrival of the rescued miners referred to them individually by the separate identities. The author, Eva Vergara, wrote, “The 55-year-old miner who led a prayer group followed the 26-year-old former security guard who helped manage packages sent down to the miners. The one who while trapped asked his wife of 25 years to renew their wedding vows was followed by the one who went underground to pay for his son’s medical school. The miner colleagues referred to as “Dr. House” after the TV character preceded the one who monitored gas levels in the pit and sent readings to the surface”.

He efficiently managed the available resources

  • He created the optimal physical environment by using his knowledge of what resources were available. He used his experience of the mine and the dark space they were locked in for the 17 daunting frightening days, to keep his men calm and stay in control until rescuers could make their first contact with them.
  • He allocated consumable resources evenly and fairly among the team. The men had only a 48 hours emergency food supply but through efficient resource management Luis made it last more than 2 1/2 weeks. It took his strength, and their trust, to get the miners into a regimen where they took minuscule drops of milk and spoonfuls of tuna fish every second day.
  • He used resources in a planned, specific way in order to achieve results that were beneficial to the team. They used a bulldozer to penetrate a natural water deposit, providing drinking water and a waterfall that they could use to shower. Operation of such vehicles was limited and structured in order to minimize contamination of the available air.

This entry was posted on Friday, October 22nd, 2010 at 9:43 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

235 Responses to “How did Luis do it?”

  1. Ronnie Says:

    .

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  5. nick Says:

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