Imagine this horrific leadership scenario. You are trapped in a mine 2300 feet underground with 32 of your colleagues with no real knowledge of when you will get out. What do you do to survive? Some of the more basic human survival needs, such as food and water will be lowered to you through a small hole, but the questions you don’t have answered are similarly troubling. What do we do with our time, how do we organize ourselves, how to we keep up hope with no clear solution in our sights?
No, this is not some crazy organizational behavior exercise to test team cohesion, it is a real situation faced by 33 miners trapped in a Chilean mine. The answer to the question: Form a structure, keep to your normal routine, and keep your mind occupied. That is what NASA psychologists suggested when asked to lend their expertise to the improve the chances that the miners can keep themselves focused the mission. See the links here:
Also proving useful is lessons learned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.What can be learned from this effort, social organization, psychology, and leadership are essential to survival in the most extreme situations.