Lessons Learned from the Crew of Carnival’s Triumph

Carnival Corporation continues to stay in the news. A class-action lawsuit was filed this week on behalf of the passengers on the ill-fated Triumph ship.

Carnival Corporation's Triumph
Carnival’s True Triumph … 1,086 amazing crew members who did their best during the toughest circumstances.

What gets overlooked in this cruise-gone-wrong story is the performance of the ship’s 1,086-member crew under the most stressful circumstances. The fire on-board caused a shut-down of the ship’s power grid and plumbing system. Vacationers were subjected to almost unthinkable circumstances, including having to use biohazard bags in place of toilets. It was up to the crew to distribute and retrieve the bags, as well as to make the best of rapidly deteriorating conditions.

By all accounts, the attitude and work-ethic of each crew member was incredible, engaging each guest with sincerity and a smile.

According to a CNN report, members of the Triumph crew rarely hesitated in disposing of the bags filled with human waste. “It’s very simple,” said Sachin Sharma of India. “Because we are used to it. That’s why we make the best effort for them. It’s a part of the job.”

It’s difficult for small business owners in Upstate South Carolina to conceive of a disaster on par with what Carnival faced with two weeks ago. But sooner or later, every company has to deal with the disappointment or anger of a customer who has received sub-par service. How your people perform under pressure says a lot about your leadership and the culture within your organization.

Now might be a good time to bring your own crew together and discuss how the young men and women aboard the Triumph responded to a crisis that was entirely out of their control. It might help your employees see their roles – and your mission – in a different light.