Take a look around any major city today, and it’s evident that humans are pretty incredible builders.
We can create suspension bridges that span the widest rivers, or sleek skyscrapers that are over 1,000 m (3,300 ft) high. Even further, we can design these complex structures with extreme amounts of precision and consistency.
But while there is no shortage of modern engineering accomplishments to marvel at, it’s true that our ancestors also made impressive feats in the field of civil engineering. Ancient cultures were able to do things that still baffle people today, such as constructing majestic pyramids, erecting flawless walls out of huge boulders, or carving out multiple underground, monolithic churches from a rocky ridge.
Engineering Feats of the Ancient World
Today’s infographic comes to us from Norwich University, and it showcases details on seven civil engineering wonders from the Ancient world.
Note: Some ancient wonders, like the Great Pyramid of Giza, Roman aqueducts, and the Great Wall of China can be found on a previous infographic that counts them among the 10 Most Impressive Civil Engineering Projects of All Time
Ancient engineers and architects were able to pull off some pretty impressive feats.
Let’s take a detailed look at the seven listed here, including the aspects that continue to baffle modern engineers today.
Ancient Man-Made Wonders
1. Saksaywaman, Peru (16th century)
Imagine three giant stone walls made of giant boulders that all fit together perfectly, like puzzle pieces. The Incas managed to build these outside of Cusco, using boulders up to 120 tons in size. No one knows how they moved them from a quarry 3 km (2 miles) away to the site – and even more perplexing is how flawless they fit together.
2. Leshan Giant Buddha, China (803 CE)
This is the world’s largest carved stone Buddha statue in the world, and it stands 232 tall in China. The carved hair of the statue even has a hidden, built-in drainage system that displaces rainwater to protect it from damage.
3. Chand Baori, India (10th century)
This one of the world’s deepest stepwells, and it provides water to a hot, arid region before modern plumbing was possible. The stairs weave 3,500 steps, or about 13 stories, down into the depths where carved stones collect rainwater.
4. Underground Churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia (12th and 13th centuries)
These 11 underground churches were carved out of rock from the top-down. They are also connected, using a complex system of drainage ditches, tunnels, and subterranean passageways.
5. Teotihuacan, Mexico (450 CE peak)
At its peak, this ancient urban city sprawled 22 miles (35 km) with over 200,000 inhabitants. Not only does it have some of the largest pyramidal structures on the planet, but it also has many other unique traits, such as being aligned with celestial, geographic, and geodetic points of significance.
6. El Mirador, Guatemala (300 BCE)
This is the largest of five known Pre-Classical Mayan cities and it contains the world’s largest pyramid by volume. A total of 15 million man-days of labor were needed to create the iconic temple, named La Danta.
7. The Lost City of Mohenjo Daro, Pakistan (2500 BCE)
This city is over 4,500 years old, and it was unknown to modern people until 1921. It housed up to 35,000 people, and contained complex water and sewage system on a grid plan. Mohenjo Daro is regarded today as one of the most important archaeological finds, unveiling details on the Indus Valley people – one of the most widespread and mysterious civilizations of the early Ancient era.
10 Ways You Can Build Leadership Communities in a Hybrid World of Work
Feeling disconnected? This infographic teaches you how to build strong leadership communities in your organization in a hybrid working world.
The world has never been more connected. Yet many of us feel more disconnected than ever before.
In particular, CEOs and managers can often feel isolated from their peers, and therefore crave a greater sense of community and belonging. This lack of social connection can have a detrimental impact on both them and their team—putting the future of their company at risk.
Leading in a Hybrid World of Work
This infographic from bestselling author Vince Molinaro dives into the ways you can build a strong community of leaders in your organization, enabling you to more successfully execute on strategy, drive growth, and deliver results.
The Critical Need for Leadership Communities
In today’s world, many leaders have been conditioned to work and lead in a way that is individualistic and hyper-competitive, which leads to problematic outcomes including:
- Limiting innovative ideas
- Causing overwhelm and stress
- Limiting diversity and a sense of inclusion
- Promoting a macho culture
- Creating heroes and zeros in organizations
This outdated model breeds a weak leadership culture. Even though leadership expectations are higher than ever, very few companies boast a strong leadership culture. In fact, just 15% of companies have the culture they need to succeed.
What does a weak leadership look like?
Weak Leadership Cultures
When leaders demonstrate the following behaviors, organizations are at risk of developing a weak leadership culture:
- They lack clarity around strategic priorities.
- They fail to inspire the people they lead.
- They tolerate ineffective and mediocre leadership.
- They demonstrate animosity for the success of other leads, teams, and departments.
- They work at cross-purposes with each other.
- They prop themselves up while downplaying the contribution of others.
- They don’t engage stakeholders.
- They regularly badmouth others and throw colleagues under the bus.
- They withhold information as a way to retain power over their peers.
- They act as bystanders when colleagues need help.
When these negative dynamics become apparent, organizations pay a significant price. According to a report from Qualtrics, 40% of managers see a decline in their mental health, while another study shows that 66% of leaders have checked out entirely.
It is clear that building a strong community of leaders has become critical as the world continues to become even more complex and uncertain. Let’s dive into some of the ways you can build a greater sense of belonging in your organization today.
The Characteristics of Leadership Communities
Here are the 10 characteristics and behaviors that promote a strong community of leaders. Does this describe your organization’s leadership culture?
|1. Have clarity on the strategic direction of the organization||Be determined to deliver on the most important strategic outcomes for the company|
|2. Create excitement about the future||Spread optimism about the company, even through adversity|
|3. Share a common aspiration to be great as leaders||Commit to their roles as leaders and help other leaders thrive|
|4. Lead with a united front and a one-company mindset||Lead in the best interest of the whole organization|
|5. Hold each other accountable by calling out unproductive leadership behavior||Demonstrate the courage to call out misaligned and unacceptable behaviors|
|6. Celebrate success and key milestones||Ignite passion by recognizing others and showing progress towards goals|
|7. Break down silos and collaborate effectively||Identify accountability gaps that weaken the leadership culture|
|8. Keep internal politics and personal agendas to a minimum||Behave in a direct and transparent manner with peers|
|9. Demonstrate resilience and resolve in the face of adversity||Turn to each other while navigating tough challenges|
|10. Support one another and have each other’s backs||Build high-trust relationships with one another|
Most leaders want to be in an environment where there is real clarity, alignment, commitment, and mutual support—it just takes one accountable leader to make it happen.
The Benefits to Creating a Strong Community of Leaders
If done right, the effects of building a strong community of leaders can be extraordinary:
- Promotes a stronger sense of belonging.
- Allows for greater knowledge sharing.
- Encourages higher levels of performance.
- Creates a culture of accountability.
- Improves employee engagement.
Moreover, research shows that employee engagement is directly linked to a company’s culture and value system. In fact, employee engagement levels can reach up to 72% when managers work well with each other.
With the working world transforming before our very eyes, it’s time to establish a new leadership contract so that CEOs and managers can lead their organizations successfully into the future.
Do you have what it takes to be a community builder? Download your Ebook to discover practical strategies you can apply today.
Animated Map: Visualizing Earth’s Seasons
This map visualizes Earth’s seasons, showing how our planet’s Arctic sea ice and vegetation changes throughout the year.
Animated Map: Visualizing Earth’s Seasons
Why does Earth have seasons?
Many people think the seasons are dictated by Earth’s proximity to the Sun, but this isn’t the case. It’s the Earth’s tilt, not its closeness to the Sun, that influences our seasons.
This animated map by Eleanor Lutz visualizes Earth’s seasons, showing how the temperature changes impact ice levels in the Arctic as well as vegetation more broadly. It also highlights the cloud cover and sunlight each hemisphere receives throughout the year, with each frame in the animation representing a month of time.
Why is Earth Tilted?
Unlike some of the planets that sit completely upright and rotate perpendicularly, Earth rotates on a 23.5-degree axis.
But why? A commonly accepted theory among the scientific community is the giant impact hypothesis. According to this theory, a celestial object called Theia collided with Earth many years ago, when the planet was still forming. This collision not only knocked Earth into its tilted position—some believe that the dust and debris from this impact ended up forming our moon.
Ever since, our planet has been rotating with a slight tilt (which itself is not fixed, as it “wobbles” in cycles), giving us our varying seasons throughout the year.
How Earth’s Tilt Influences our Seasons
As our planet orbits the Sun, it’s always leaning in the same direction. Because of its tilt, the different hemispheres receive varying amounts of sunlight at different times of the year.
In December, Earth is technically closer to the Sun than it is in June or July. However, because the Northern Hemisphere is tilted away from the Sun during December, that part of the planet experiences winter during that time.
The graphic above by the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) visualizes Earth’s orbit throughout the year, showing when each hemisphere receives the most direct sunlight (and thus, experiences summer).
The Climate Change Impact
While our seasons have always varied, it’s worth noting that climate change has impacted our seasons, and changed how much Arctic ice we lose each summer.
In the past, millions of miles of ice remained frozen throughout the summer months. In the 1980s, there were 3.8 million square miles of ice in July—that’s roughly the same size as Australia.
Over the years, Arctic ice cover has steadily declined. In July 2020, the ice cover was only 2.8 million square miles—a million less than the amount four decades ago.
Some scientists are predicting that we could lose our summer sea ice entirely by 2035, which would have a devastating impact on the Artic’s wildlife and the indigenous people who live there.
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