The Burning Platform

The term: Burning Platform is a business lexicon that emphasizes immediate and radical change due to dire circumstances.

The origin of if the term comes from a story about a man on an oil platform in the North Sea.

One night he is awakened by an explosion and resulting fire on the platform.

Striving to escape the impending flames, he is able to find his way though the chaos to the edge of the platform.

As the fire heartlessly approaches him he must use split second decision making or surely be engulfed in a horrible death.

His only option is to jump more than 100 feet from the fire ridden platform into the freezing North Atlantic waters.

If the dangerous jump doesn’t kill him he will surely die from exposure within minutes if not rescued.

With no other rational alternative, he jumped!

Fortunately the man did survive the jump from the platform and was rescued by boat shortly thereafter.

His philosophy had been “Better probable death than certain death.”

The point of the story is that that it took a platform ablaze to cause a major change in behavior.

This story emphasizes the point that radical change in people only comes when survival instincts trump comfort zone instincts.

When making major decisions or solving major problems an "emergency" attitude is sometimes required to achieve your goals.

Another name for this is a personal

inflection point. Sometimes it is a choice. Sometimes an inflection point is cast upon us.

Either way, afterwords we are more experienced in life.

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