Thursday, January 20, 2011

What would Ran do?

sadhuDo an internet search on “Parable of the Sadhu” some day when you have time to reflect.  You’ll find lots of term papers and business cases on the subject, based on a Harvard business case.  I studied it during a management training course at Sundance years ago.

The core is pretty simple, if unusual.

Bowen McCoy, a middle-aged banker, had dreamed of climbing a peak in Nepal.  He save, he trained, finally he and his friends went.  The weather was closing in as they neared the final ascent, and they knew that they had to press on or lose their window to make the summit.  A Japanese team emerged from the fog with a half-dead holy man, a Sadhu, that they had found further up the mountain.  Dumping the stricken monk in front of McCoy’s group, they said that they had done their part and then left.  To stay and tend the victim would lose them their weather window and probably kill the monk; if one left to carry him down, the rest would have to give up their opportunity to complete the climb.

What should they do and why?

The whole exercise may be found here, and I know what I said at the time our group debated the alternatives. 

This week, I’m reminded of the story again while musing on Ran Fiennes’ presentation.  What would he have done?  I suspect, without proof, that he’d have pressed on, leaving the Sadhu behind. 

Strength / weakness; right / wrong? 

Hint: what I think would be his answer wasn’t my answer.

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