The Story

Many of you know of the legendary Earnest Shackleton and the voyage of the Endurance. You may also have heard of the tragic expedition of Capt. Scott and his polar party. In this experiential learning program we introduce you to the most overlooked and yet the most successful explorer during the golden age of Polar exploration - the Norwegian Roald Amundsen. Often it is in contrast that we learn the most. This experiential story gives us contrast, irony, tragedy, and inspiration in abundance.
 
Through the power of storytelling, 5-minute clips from the superbly produced mini-series based on the Last Place on Earth combined with interactive exercises, experiential activities, organizational links and learning models, we bring this story to life within your organization and infuse your own story with renewed vision, meaning and purpose.
 
Read book reviews for The Last Place on Earth
 
Read movie reviews for the Last Place on Earth CBS Mini Series
 

Amundsen's creates a Vision of Possibility that is "no piece of cake."

In possibly the most wonderfully creative scene of any vision being shared, Amundsen has his cook and closest confident, Lindstrom, prepare a cake for their mid-winter celebration in June 1911. On it is a map of their journey to the South Pole. Amundsen takes a tiny Norwegian flag stuck on a toothpick and he plants it firmly into the cake at the spot designated as the South Pole adding that we must be here by Christmas. There is intensity and humour; Amundsen has defined the goal in terms of what must be achieved and by when. There is the clear vision and the commitment to that vision. Leadership exemplified and masterful in every way.

 

PolarLeader

Following our success with TeamEverest, we at Storied Ground have long been searching for the ultimate leadership adventure story. We have found it on two accounts. First, in the spellbinding and meticulously researched dual biography by Roland Huntford of the rivals, English Captain Robert F. Scott and Norwegian Roald Amundsen, titled Last Place on Earth. Second, in the CBS / Masterpiece Theatre 7-part series scripted by Trevor Griffiths based on this book..

 

We at Storied Ground own the international educational rights to the LPOE footage which we know intimately and draw upon to create a unique storyline based on your organizational needs and objectives.


The best way to give you a taste of the PolarLeader story is to share with you a few of the key scenes. (There are over 100 separate scenes that we draw upon to create a unique storyline for each client.)

Roald Amundsen and his team reaching the South Pole

Amundsen's team has passed Shackleton's mark of furthest South, having taken a completely unknown and previously thought impossible route to the South Pole. We are now in that little square of windswept plateau that is the last unexplored place on Earth. As the team approaches the South Pole they drop back to ensure that Amundsen is clearly the first person to the pole. It is a touching scene of comradeship and respect. As the Norwegian flag is being planted Amundsen asserts that "This must be done by all of us." He almost ducks his speech, but Wisting reminds him that, "This moment must be marked." You will likely never forget both the irony and the inspiration contained in these few words, from the end of the earth.

 

Capt. Scott and his team reaching the Pole

The struggle and suffering of Capt. Scott's polar party cannot be adequately described, Scott's overconfidence in motorsleds, in the ill-suited ponies and the heroic ideal of man-hauling doomed the team to lose the race - and later much more than that. This is the moment Scott and his followers discover that they have been beaten to the pole by the Norwegians. Still, with all their failings, you cannot but be moved by the heartbreak they each experience.

 

Amundsen's announces the most remarkable change in plans. when they are beyond recall. 

Six months before Amundsen and his team were to leave for the North Pole, the explorers Cook and Peary both returned from Greenland claiming the North Pole. At that moment Amundsen's plans were in ruins. Funds had dried up and he would have been left with ruinous debts that would have ended his life as an explorer. Telling no one but his brother Leon and the Captain of their ship the Fram, Amundsen changes the expedition's destination and lets no one else know till they are beyond recall.  If his plans had became known he might have been jailed. Witness this most remarkable of change initiatives as the explorer extraordinaire announces a "minor detour" to his team.

Capt. Scott and Polar Party Resting Place

It is important not to underestimate the devastation left in the wake of poor leadership. This is a sobering reminder of the suffering caused by an rigidly hierarchical culture and an ambitious leader with a low emotional quotient. At the end of the scene, you get a glimpse of how the story is already beginning to be spun to serve the needs of a nation preparing for war and hungry for heroes.

Amundsen and his brother Leon learn of Scott's Death

Even though Amundsen and his team arrived in the Antarctic after the British, they arrive at the Pole before Scott, and in fact, Amundsen and his team had returned from Antarctica to Norway and Amundsen had begun his world speaking tour before the British had found the tent containing the bodies of Scott and his Polar party. The irony is bitter and telling: no matter how clear and decisive a victory it was, it would be Scott not Amundsen that would become a "National Monument," and perhaps the most famous explorer in history – Great Scott!. But the choice remains for us all - who would we rather emulate?

 

The  Rant of Cecil Henry Meares (1877-1937)

Meares was an adventurer and linguist: a man of action who liked to have fun, which made following the orders of Robert Falcon Scott, the expedition leader, difficult at times. Before his involvement in the expedition, he was a British military officer, a fur-trader in Kamchatka and Okhotsk in Siberia, a fighter in the Russo-Japanese War and the Boer War and a traveller to various places including Tibet. He could not tolerate Capt. Scott's style of leadership and what he considered inept bungling. Meares and the Russian Gerov turned back north with the sled dogs on 14 December at the foot of the Beardmore glacier. He resigned from the expedition for unsubstantiated reasons and returned home on the Terra Nova in March 1912. This clarity of vision and unwillingness to submit to inept leadership saved Meares life.