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Leadership Perspectives – Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Expedition Leader Sir Ranulph Fiennes

An inspiration

Captain Robert Falcon Scott – The reputation of Captain Robert Falcon Scott is often called into question. My biography, from someone who has experienced all the hardships suffered by Scott and his men apart from the very last, aimed to set the record straight. I made it clear that I do not especially identify with Scott, nor favour his memory over those of Amundsen or Shackleton. It is the so-called ‘heroic age of polar exploration’ more generically that I found (and still find) inspirational. The call of the unexplored and unachieved exerts a stronger pull than any individual. But history certainly owes Scott a clear, unbiased view, which is exactly what I set out to offer. He deserves it.

Picture from Moller Institute's 25 anniversary book

What in your view is the greatest challenge facing leaders in the next 25 years?

To predict the greatest challenge facing leaders in the next 25 years would involve uncertain hypothesis. I was taught to avoid that at all costs.

What in your own life has taught you the most about leadership?

My army training with the Special Forces and with my father’s tank regiment taught me most about leadership. The lessons learned make up the title and much of the content of another of my books, and would fill this space many times over, so I will pick just one that has to do with personal credibility. One way of putting it might be “Aim high but start with caution,” but this version is rather more resonant: “Try chewing a few prawns before you announce to the world that you intend to devour an entire lobster”.

This is one of 25 Leadership Perspectives in a book published by the Møller Centre to mark its 25th anniversary year entitled Leadership Perspectives. The book, which you can download here, features 25 leaders talking candidly about what they believe to be the greatest challenges facing leaders over the next 25 years.

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