MASTERS' ADVICE imageMASTERS' ADVICE imageMASTERS' ADVICE image
"The only source of knowledge is experience"
- Albert Einstein, 1879-1955.
Einstein's genius completely changed our understanding of the universe. He developed the theory of relativity, and contributed to the development of the theory of quantum mechanics. Einstein understood the fundamental difference between the ease of mere speculation and the hard work needed to gain knowledge. He gives us the key to understanding leadership: experience.

"No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man"
- Heraclitus, 6th century BCE.
Heraclitus' philosophy was based on paradox, or the unity of opposites. His central concept was impermanence, or the world constantly in flux.
Heraclitus understood the challenges of leadership. Firstly, that no two leadership challenges were ever the same, because of the changing circumstances that created them. Secondly, that no leader faced with different circumstances could expect to succeed
by treating them as the same.

"Life is a hard teacher: it gives you the experience first and (if you're lucky) the lesson afterwards".
- Jim Hargreaves, FRGS, 1946-2022.
Jim was not only one of Britain's finest expedition kayakers, who made the first sea kayak circumnavigation of Cape Horn, but a great teacher who devoted much of his life to helping others develop in the wilderness. Firstly, he understood that it is impossible to second-guess what the demands of leadership will be, as the circumstances are unknown until the moment of action. Secondly, that leadership can only be understood upon reflection within the context of experience.
"LEADERSHIP IS NOT LEARNED IN THE CLASSROOM, BUT IN THE CRUCIBLE OF LIFE"
- FORBES, 2010

Caution: This site is not for for the feint-hearted or for those who are not committed to the challenges of the future.

The future? The rolling thunder of climate crisis that we know will impact every country on Earth, at every level of society from government to industry and everyone's personal lives. This will throw up leadership challenges everywhere as we adapt. The corporate sector will be hit hardest.

So this site is dedicated to those who will respond to these challenges: the renegades, outliers and disruptors; the risk takers who create something out of nothing, based on intuition; those who discover their courage to take charge and lead when the unexpected appears.

We know that every leadership circumstance is unexpected, and can only be understood in retrospect. Which is why leadership can't be taught, it has to be discovered.

Sure, MBA Schools with tenured academics peddle their leadership theories, recipes, how-to's and 'styles' for people thinking about leadership in the safety of corporate comfort. But beware, your mind will forget all they taught you when the tough reality of the leadership circumstance arrives and asks:
"Who are you? Why are you here? Where are you leading us?"

When circumstance calls, the leader's first challenge is to define reality, and that in turn defines everything else.
That's when you're sailing, powering forward with no time for looking back.

If you're thinking about amplifying your leadership potential in readiness for whatever your future holds,
this site might be a good place to start.


"LEADERSHIP IS NEITHER BORN NOR TAUGHT: IT IS CIRCUMSTANCE CALLING FORTH A CHAMPION"
- DE BLONVILLE, 2000

ABOUT EARLE image
EARLE DE BLONVILLE, FRGS 

Explorer, Author, Educator, C-Suite Coach, Corporate Consultant.

Fellow: Royal Geographical Society, UK
Adjunct Professional Fellow, SCU, Australia
Scientific Collaborator: LAB, University of Catalonia, Spain

Leader: First Australian Arctic Expedition, East Greenland
Leader: First British Australian Exploration Cruise, Arctic
Leader: First Australian Exploration, West Greenland
Leader: First northerly sea kayak crossing of Bass Strait
Co-leader: First sea kayak circumnavigation of Tasmania
Chief Leader: ANZSES Expedition Granite Mountain
Director: Australian Bicentenary Tall Ships Spectacular
Author: 'SAVAGE COAST - Inside Australia's First Arctic Expedition'

“Earle de Blonville is a great, but unsung, Australian hero, with outstanding leadership qualifications." 
- Professor The Hon. Barry Jones, AC. Minister for Science 1983-90

PROFESSIONAL ADVENTURE CAREER
He is unique on the Leadership world stage for the breadth and depth of his practical leadership experience, gained over five decades. He worked as a professional mountain instructor in Scotland, the Lake District, and North Wales. His assignments included training long-term youth recidivists in sub-Arctic conditions, adventure mountain training for young industry leaders, and remote mobile expeditions with international participants, plus adventure curriculum development, adventure centre management and staff technical training.

INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE
His extensive field leadership experience includes adventures in the Himalayas, Greece, Austria, Italy and the Australian Alps; scientific expeditions in the Kimberley and East Gippsland; and multi-year maritime exploration of largely uncharted Arctic coasts in Greenland.

CORPORATE EDUCATION PROGRAMS
In the corporate sector, he has developed executive leadership education programs, consulted on leadership communications strategies, and coached many C-Suite executives to overcome career-challenging blockages. Earle’s highly successful WIN program has transformed leadership culture and language to stimulate rapid growth for clients, and his crisis-based leadership consulting has produced measurable success in a range of industry sector assignments. Earle's forthcoming Leadership Development programs are non-gendered in their approach or assumptions, and will contribute to the development of more women leaders.

ACADEMIC RESEARCH
Earle is a former Adjunct Professor at IDEAS, SCU, NSW, and is now an Adjunct Professional Fellow at SCU; a Scientific Collaborator, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Spain; and since 1984 an elected Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, London. He was awarded a Masters by Research (equivalence), by the School of Management, College of Business, RMIT University, Melbourne, for his development of executive education programs. Earle entered a PhD program by invitation (deferred, with ongoing research) to develop a new theory of leadership based on his extensive experience. His research draws on 40 years of work by Harvard research psychologists into higher adult development to theorise a new field of Postformal Leadership. He has presented his early research findings as an invited plenary speaker at international conferences in Germany and Romania.

MAJOR PROJECT LEADERSHIP
His ground-breaking creation and leadership of Australia’s first Arctic expedition, during 1985-86, was an extraordinarily complex $2.5 million (2022) project. Its operation stretched more than halfway around the world, involved eight countries, British royalty, prominent Australian and UK business, political and social leaders, scientific organisations, and a range of commercial sponsors.

MAJOR EVENT LEADERSHIP
In 1987 Earle was appointed Director of the Tall Ships spectacular where the Prime Minister officially opened Australia’s 1988 Bicentenary. It involved management of 500 volunteers, four city councils, plus State and Federal governments and, with more than 1.5 million visitors, was the biggest staged event in Victoria’s history.

AUTHOR - 'SAVAGE COAST - Inside Australia's First Arctic Expedition'
His acclaimed book, Savage Coast, now in its second fully revised edition, details wide-ranging challenges of field leadership in extreme circumstances. It is held in private collections and libraries worldwide, including the Prince of Wales collection, the Bodleian library in Oxford and the Royal Geographical Society in London. ‘Savage Coast’ is an inspirational record of leadership through failure, success, and constant challenge, providing insights for leaders who know they must prepare themselves to face futures of escalating uncertainty.

Awards
The 1,000th Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Trust Award

The rarely-awarded Olegas Truchanas Expedition Canoeing Award



Links
Documentary film trailer 'Savage Coast': https://vimeo.com/232723180
Acclaimed book 'Savage Coast': earledeblonville.com


Buy 'Savage Coast': https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01KQ6PMIW


Leadership thoughts: https://www.linkedin.com/in/earldeblonville/


Leadership videos: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=UU2OGjOLav7PHv5nfYUVk9-g
Personal photography site with expedition images: deblonville.net

BOOKINGS
EARLE (at) DEBLONVILLE.COM

LEADERSHIP: EXPEDITIONS

LEADERSHIP: PROJECTS

LEADERSHIP: CONSULTING

COACHING

“Earle’s remarkably diverse leadership experiences have direct analogies to the workplace. Combined with his credibility as a practical leadership expert is a sharp intellect and empathy for the difficulties of leadership.” – World Wide Entertainment

Learn More

CONSULTING

“Earle is a motivating, strategic and intelligent leader who leads from the front with an outstanding track record in delivering success. A person of vision and integrity, he truly understands people, builds effective business relationships and willingly shares his expertise.” - Boston Kennedy

Learn More

KEYNOTES

“Earle is one of the very few true leadership thought-leaders in the Asia Pacific region whose approach and philosophy on leadership in the corporate world is nothing short of avant-garde.” – Director Institute.

Learn More
Worldwide, leadership is broken, allowing global challenges like climate crisis to change our world forever.

In Australia, climate crisis has just removed the national government from office. The UN now believes that global societal collapse is a realistic possibility.

What the world needs is an exceptional new approach to leadership to meet the future turmoil of challenges like climate crisis. Stepping up to the realities of new Leadership is likely to be the greatest challenge we will ever face.

Earle de Blonville is Australia’s foremost thinker and practitioner on leadership for highly uncertain times. His expertise comes from extensive experience of expedition leadership in remote and dangerous regions; major event leadership; executive leadership coaching; and Harvard-based academic research into an entirely new theory of leadership.

He believes that one of the biggest 'Change-Thinking' obstacles we face is an entrenched $360 billion-a-year global ‘Leadership Industry’ that was never designed for today’s unfolding climate crises, but for a self-serving and complacent era of Business-As-Usual that is now long gone. Put simply, leadership is broken. It needs totally new thinking to fix it.

That said, 'broken' can be good, because it allows the light of new opportunities to shine through and challenge old certainties, asking much bigger questions that take us far beyond 1980's Business School 'curriculum leadership'. For example, how did mankind's leadership ability enable us to deal with past climate emergencies, such as global post-glacial flooding (400' of sea level rise), rapid Saharan desertification, and early pandemics (Chinese Black Death and Plague carried by Mongols)? There is much more to leadership than most of us realise.

But for now, this is the time for your organisation to start actively developing your people for the global disruption of challenges like climate crisis that will impact everyone on earth.

Book an initial meeting:
EARLE (at) DEBLONVILLE.COM

SAVAGE COAST - THE BOOK image
Savage Coast is an unrivalled story for our highly uncertain times.

Here is the leader’s inside story of Australia’s 1985-86 historic first Arctic expedition, to an uncharted coast in early winter. It’s an epic of what happens to a $2.5 million voyage to the end of the world where all your plans are blown away by a winter hurricane and all that’s left is slow starvation in a soaked sleeping bag on a wave-battered coastal rock, with no possibility of rescue or of your bodies being discovered, except by hungry polar bears.

Savage Coast offers an almost unrivalled look inside the reality of complex leadership decision-making where almost everything conspires against the expedition’s success, or even its survival. In this story of ongoing crises there are non-stop insights and valuable lessons for those who can expect to be engaged in tomorrow's front-line climate crisis leadership.

Extract from the first edition cover  ---

"A disabled yacht is towed into a remote Arctic village just as winter begins. It has been drifting amongst offshore reefs in freezing sea fog, as giant icebergs cruised past. The engine no longer works, the radio and compass have failed and the sails and rigging are largely worn out. Aboard is a dispirited crew. They have travelled here from the opposite side of the world, now they are trapped, unable to escape the looming freeze by heading south for somewhere warmer. Beneath the surface of the crew’s brittle cohesion, there are tensions waiting to explode and one member has already erupted in uncontrolled violence. As winter’s first hurricane blasts down from the 10,000-foot high icecap and through the village at 240kph, the die is cast for a journey none of them could have imagined."

Vox Pops

"Timeless insights into the hidden depths of leadership”
-Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Bt, OBE, FRGS, world’s greatest living explorer

“Fully captures the reality of leadership.”
- Dr Iain McCormack, Polar Psychologist

“Deep insights into complexity and unpredictability.”
- Sir Gustav Nossal, Emeritus Professor, University of Melbourne

“A masterpiece of exploration by a poet of action” 

- Bill Green, Author and Screenwriter: ‘Terminator 2’.

“An unvarnished record of a major achievement”

- Professor Barry Jones. Australian Minister for Science 1983-90

“A fascinating exploration of an explorer”
- Phillip Adams. International Broadcaster

“Its frankness in describing success and failure sets it apart from leadership books.”
- Jonathan Hutchings, Company Managing Director

“Reveals that leadership cannot be taught, no leader is infallible and there is no single recipe for success.”
- Richard Gilmore, Executive Director: EarthWatch Trust

Selected Reviews

“This book is a powerful account of an expedition that Earle de Blonville led to East Greenland in 1985-86. This is a powerful story of privation, courage, obstinacy and tenacity, full of sharp insights, vividly written, an unvarnished record of a major achievement. The story, with its freshness and immediacy, is timeless, demonstrating what charismatic leadership can achieve, against all odds.”

“This is a brilliant, beautifully written testimony to the resilience of the human spirit. The book tells Earle de Blonville’s own story as the leader of Australia’s first expedition to the Arctic in 1985-86. It illustrates the power of one man’s vision and the courage of the author and his men to rise above extreme adversity to carry it out. It offers rare glimpses into the extraordinary weight of responsibility he shouldered. This book should appeal to anyone seeking to chart a course for themselves or their organization in the rapidly changing uncharted landscape and uncertain futures of our fragile planet.”

“How Earle and his hard-bitten team survive their battle with the elements is nothing short of a miracle. Earle is a fine lyrical writer with enchanting passages on the subtlety and spirituality of polar seascapes. Importantly, he is brutally honest with descriptions of the rawness of basic living in makeshift camps ashore and with the agony of personality clashes. Every nautical mile of this journey is hard-won. For Earle, there could be no turning back.”
Arctic Explorer and Leadership Philosopher Earle de Blonville, FRGS, delivers Leadership lessons drawn from his personal experience of leading Australia's first Arctic expedition, to East Greenland. On this harrowing expedition, everything that could go wrong did so, sometimes more than once. The key lessons de Blonville explains here are that the future is always unknown, uncertain and impossible to be prepared for just by training based on hypotheticals. The single greatest truth revealed is that the only certainty is uncertainty, meaning that Leadership requires being ready for any circumstances, most of them unexpected. This means Leadership is a matter of personal character, flexibility, adaptiveness and courage, not of authority, status or force of personality. The leader must humbly accept that no one can ever be sure that any decisions taken under duress, in the field, are right, reliable or anything more than best guesses. Only time will reveal if they were. As today's Climate Catastrophe increases its grip on our planet, these Leadership Lessons from Hell will become more relevant and valuable.
Arctic Explorer and Leadership Philosopher Earle de Blonville, FRGS, delivers Leadership lessons drawn from his personal experience of leading Australia's first Arctic expedition, to East Greenland. On this harrowing expedition, everything that could go wrong did so, sometimes more than once. The key lessons de Blonville explains here are that the future is always unknown, uncertain and impossible to be prepared for just by training based on hypotheticals. The single greatest truth revealed is that the only certainty is uncertainty, meaning that Leadership requires being ready for any circumstances, most of them unexpected. This means Leadership is a matter of personal character, flexibility, adaptiveness and courage, not of authority, status or force of personality. The leader must humbly accept that no one can ever be sure that any decisions taken under duress, in the field, are right, reliable or anything more than best guesses. Only time will reveal if they were. As today's Climate Catastrophe increases its grip on our planet, these Leadership Lessons from Hell will become more relevant and valuable.
Arctic Explorer and Leadership Philosopher Earle de Blonville, FRGS, delivers Leadership lessons drawn from his personal experience of leading Australia's first Arctic expedition, to East Greenland. On this harrowing expedition, everything that could go wrong did so, sometimes more than once. The key lessons de Blonville explains here are that the future is always unknown, uncertain and impossible to be prepared for just by training based on hypotheticals. The single greatest truth revealed is that the only certainty is uncertainty, meaning that Leadership requires being ready for any circumstances, most of them unexpected. This means Leadership is a matter of personal character, flexibility, adaptiveness and courage, not of authority, status or force of personality. The leader must humbly accept that no one can ever be sure that any decisions taken under duress, in the field, are right, reliable or anything more than best guesses. Only time will reveal if they were. As today's Climate Catastrophe increases its grip on our planet, these Leadership Lessons from Hell will become more relevant and valuable.