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The Burning Platform

December 3, 2014

 

The Burning Platform is a metaphor used in organizations to describe a particular situation where the risk of action is less than the risk of maintaining status quo. 

 

The term was derived from a real life story: 

 

The BBC released some clips of the story from the perspective of family members who unfortunately, did not survive. 

 

However, Andy Mochan was able to survive the disaster and his story has led us to rethink our strategies surrounding risk. In 1988 the Piper Alpha oil rig in the North Sea exploded and the rig burst into flames. Andy Mochan was awoken from his sleep and found himself on a burning platform, smoke all around him, with the flames on all sides. Staring down into the cold, North Sea, 100ft below, which would ultimately catch fire as well, he made the split second decision to jump. 

 

The jump presented a very high chance of death; even if he had survived the fall, Andy had to concern himself with the frigid waters and hypothermia. However, staying on the platform represented a sure death. "It was fry or jump, so I jumped", says Andy Mochan. 

 

We all have our own burning platforms. In today's society, the world is moving so fast that if you are not evolving, learning and growing, you're faced with being engulfed by the flames.

 

The challenge is to find out what areas of your life require you to simply take the plunge, where survival instincts trump your affinity for the comfort zone.  

 

Take some action. 

 

 

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