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Hunkering down? 3 things you need

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At 26,000 feet in the air and only 400 feet, or two hours, from the summit of Broad Peak in Pakistan, two climbers were forced to stay in a snow cave for the night. They hoped to reach the summit in the morning.

With the wind blowing snow on top of them, the pair strategized a survival plan.

Three things are critical to survival in those conditions, which work in other situations when you have to hunker down: 

1. Insulation.
They had only down jackets and pants, mittens and packs. They used their packs as tiny mattresses to insulate them from the frozen earth. What insulation is your organization holding in reserve? Real estate? Stock? Inventory?

2. Discipline. The climbers had a stove and a pot, with which they had to make sure that they drank warm liquid every few hours. They also had to keep track of every bit of gear and make sure they never drifted off into hypothermia. Are you keeping your customers warm and constantly drumming up new contingency plans?

3. Togetherness. The climbers had no choice but to huddle together closely. At high altitudes, leaders know that sticking together trumps being the lone hero.

— Adapted from High Altitude Leadership, Chris Warner and Don Schmincke, John Wiley & Sons.

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