What Lessons Can We Learn from the Chilean Miners? We need Urzualian-type Leadership

News of the rescue currently underway in Chile of the 33 miners who were entombed for 69 days has brought tears to many people’s eyes.  On the surface it appears that all of us like a good story and thus far this has all the makings. We have heroism on the highest levels, both amongst the miners and the teams of people who came together to rescue them. Thus far a horrific tragedy seems headed to a happy ending and while I’m sure there are complications that one could pull out and focus on, most of us are really in need of hero or heroes hence we aren’t gonna go there.

It’s all about sticking to the narrative encompassing the themes of heroism, teamwork and problem solved that we need to stick with.

When watching the nonstop coverage, I cant help but look the story from a variety angles starting with asking why so much coverage?  Aside from the devastating 8.8 earthquake that tilted the planet off its axis this past February many of us here in the US never gave a damn about anything going on in this country. Even with the quake, very few of us sought out or paid attention to any of the heroism going on then. Over the years there’s been lots of tragedy with successful outcomes but for whatever reason this one was inserted into our news cycles and subsequently our consciousness.

I’ll be cynical and say most news outlets covered this story because it netted them high ratings. It fit all the criteria and whatever way this turned out, successful or tragic, the end result would be the same all of us would be glued to our TV sets sharing this experience. What I find most interesting is how we’re sticking to the script no matter what. No one is questioning anyone’s ulterior motives for the rescue, including the President Sebastian Pinera who pushed pretty hard for this. Was he doing it for political points or because he cared?  We’ve heard the stories about the mistresses and wives meeting for the first time while they anxiously await their loved one to surface. The running joke is miners like Yonni Barrios are going from one tight situation into another.

But that’s neither here nor there.. Like I said its all about the heroism and problem solved themes that we’re keeping front and center. But on a deeper level why are we touched and more importantly what lessons should be learned and applied to the Chilean mine rescue?

The first thing that came to mind was teamwork and people coming together. I think deep down in side all of us yearn for the days when we can all truly come together with the attitude that together we rise as individuals we perish. Being each others proverbial keeper is the order of the day..It’s what made this rescue after 69 days possible. How many of us picked up on this lesson and will apply it to everyday life?

Shift foreman Luis Urzua... We need more Urzualian leadership in our world where we have shared sacrifice in times of need

The other thing that stood out was shared sacrifice. I was struck my the leadership that of the shift foreman Luis Urzua who is credited with saving everyone by rationing out supplies and laying out early plans of action for the first 17 days when the miners weren’t in contact with anyone. Hearing how he encouraged everyone to pull together is more than heart warming.

The reason Urzua is going last is because the miners finally decided on a system where the strong and more experienced would go first to help pave the way and correct any unforeseen problems. The weakest would go next so they could be helped and rescued by those behind them and those ahead. In other words there would be a human safety net for those who were weakest. Urzua would go last not because its pride thing, but because he demonstrated a type of strength that reminded us that those who have the most may also give of themselves the most. They have the experience and strength and thus can afford to..I wonder if we picked up on that lesson?

It wasn’t lost on me these types of heroic attributes were taking place as many of us are experiencing the worse economic downturn since the recession of the 1930s. It also wasn’t lost on me that this was playing out while we’re hearing stories that banks who we bailed are now garnering record-breaking profits for the second year in a row with little if any intention of sharing the resources. we keep hearing about those who have the most are hoarding and hoarding. It makes me wonder where’s the Luis Urzua for Wall Street?

These miners stayed underground for 69 days. Most of us can’t sit still for 5 minutes. They sat in this hole and decided with the help of strong experienced leadership that they were gonna pull together and see to it all 33 miners leave. If you was weak they were gonna help. If your freaked out someone would comfort you. But seeing how these miners sitting in that hole for such long time gel together as a team was a lesson for the ages.

Meanwhile back at home in what is deemed the most powerful nation on earth, many of us are going on a second or third year of sitting in an economic hole and instead of encountering Urzualian type leadership, we’re running across people who got out the ‘economic hole’ (bailouts) thanks to our shared sacrifice who once reaching the surface have pulled up the ladder and left the shaft.

Chilean Miners came together as a team and made sure the weakest among them was accounted for

As I’m writing this more miners are being rescued. No one is leaving that shaft till the last one is up and accounted for. No one is running around suggesting that the miners were at fault and thus deserved to wallow in the shaft and die. It’s all about making sure everyone is alive and well.

Could you imagine with all this showing of support and donation of resources if one of those miners who was rescued a year  found himself facing a similar situation where he was making decisions and he decided to NOT rescue those in need? Could you imagine if one of those rescued miners a year down the road faced with similar circumstances decided to tell a new crew of miners stuck in the shaft to pull their own selves up?

Think it can’t and won’t happen? Look at our friends on Wall Street, look at our pompous friends in congress who wanna cut your unemployment while not cutting their salaries. Take a look at those folks who were actually whining on TV that there was a temporary hold on foreclosures to make sure all the paperwork was legal. Hence it meant that thjose crying wouldn’t be able to immediately benefit from the misfortune of others.

Think it can’t and won’t happen? Take a look at the million dollar a year pundits who come on TV every night crying about shared sacrifice, calling evil and socialistic and that its unfair that they have to pay a few extra dollars in taxes and how they’re sick and tired of helping out those in need.

Think it can’t and won’t happen? See if your sneering and rolling your eyes when you hear stories about the poor and downtrodden among us and you entertain the thought that perhaps they deserve to be there because they didn’t make ‘wise choices’. See if your thinking these thoughts and somehow forgotten the day that a Luis Urzua came into your life and helped you out of a hole

Something to ponder

Dave D