Leadership & Career Issues From The S.S.Minnow

On June 14, 2011, in Blog, Leadership, by Christine Glasco

Have you ever had someone make reference to something and it sticks in your mind?

Someone made a reference to Gilligan’s Island (a TV series from 1964 – 1968) within the last couple of days.  No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t get the program or the theme song out of my mind:

    …There’s Gilligan
The Skipper too
A Millionaire and his Wife
A Movie Star
The Professor and Mary Ann
Here on Gilligan’s Isle….
 “The Ballad of Gilligan’s Isle” 

For those of you who did not see the original series or any of the syndicated reruns, the storyline of the program was based on seven people who set sail for a tree-hour tour on the trusty S.S. Minnow.  The Minnow is blown off-course during a storm and the cast is shipwrecked on an uninhabited desert island.  As you might imagine, each week the cast faced challenges and perils, triumphs and celebrations.

You may have figured out that my brain is wired in an unusual way.  So, of course, I began to think about how each of the individuals had to put not only their lives, but they also had to put their careers on hold while the world went on without them.

They also typically experienced a leadership crisis or two during each episode.  Inevitably Gilligan would goof off, or he might ruin their latest scheme to leave the island.  Or he would have to be rescued from a fall into a pit just as a plane flew over their location.  Unfortunately, Gilligan had the last book of matches to light the signal bon fires in his pocket.  Or – oh well, you get the drift of the episodes.

(A little known fact: the US Coast Guard often received telegrams asking them to rescue Gilligan and the others.  The senders obviously didn’t know the show was only made to look like a shipwreck.)

Career issues facing each survivor:

  • How do I maintain my competency levels in my former occupation?
  • How do I acquire the required new skills and competencies in order to compete when we are rescued?
  • How do I ‘onboard’ back into my old organization or into a new organization that has offered me a larger role as a result of my celebrity?
  • What if my values have changed – what do I owe my former employer?

Leadership issues facing the Skipper and Gilligan:

  • How did we get so far off course?
  • Why didn’t our early warning system notify us that we were drifting into unchartered waters and help us prevent this catastrophe?
  • What are the challenges we face short- and long-term?
  • How do we prepare for these challenges with just items indigenous to the desert island and the items on the wrecked ship?
  • What’s our go-forward strategy?
  • How do we learn how to innovate when we have never seen this type of world before?
  • Can we survive with our current human resource talent?
  • How do we prepare for an even more unpredictable and perilous future?

“In a 1978 made-for-television movie, Rescue from Gilligan’s Island, the castaways did successfully leave the island, but had difficulty reintegrating into society. During a reunion cruise on the first Christmas after their rescue, fate intervened and they found themselves wrecked on the same island at the end of the film.”

The series had a new life over the years in lots of different sequels, spin-offs as well as toys, DVDs, shirts, hats, plays, musicals, commercials, etc.

The original seven people shipwrecked on Gilligan’s Island survive, thrive, reenter their former lives, return to the island, leave, return and ultimately form a partnership to turn the island into a vacation paradise.

Not a bad deal when trying to survive in an ever changing world.

© All rights reserved.

Christine M. Glasco consults to company executives, business owners and non-profit leaders on career management/career transformation strategies and strategic leadership development solutions. To provide you with clarity on how to achieve the next steps in your career, go to www.christineglasco.com and request a complimentary copy of Is Your Career on Track? Assessment and e-Workbook

Email: info@christineglasco.com Phone: 1.940.367.0837

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