Running into the Fire

Have you ever noticed that when a building is on fire everyone is running out while the brave firefighters are running in? It’s no wonder that people like Timothy Stackpole- one of New York Fire Department’s heroes- have a place in history for acts of sheer heroism. But firefighters aren’t the only people who seem to chase fires and do incredible things.

Have you ever noticed that some leaders thrive during a crisis? They swoop in- save the day- and the entire organization is better off than it was before? Most people are amazed and praise them lavishly, but a truly wise observer would have noticed that the leader being praised possesses a few key attributes that guaranteed his or her success.

Monday Morning Perspective:
“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts…” William Shakespeare
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” Peter Drucker

Simple Steps to Success

1.     Great leaders face reality.
Reality begins and ends with the person in charge. Take a good look in the mirror and own up to your role in the crisis. Get your team together and brainstorm solutions- not just to find the best “fix”, but to get their “buy in” so they will be an active part of the course of action you choose. In order to truly understand the cause of the crisis, everyone on the leadership team has to be able to tell the whole truth. Leaders can’t solve problems that they are unwilling to acknowledge.

2.     No matter how bad things are, they can always get worse.
Instead of examining what actually caused the crisis, leaders are always tempted to put a “quick fix” in place when things begin to spiral downward. These quick fixes are merely a series of steps, none of which are powerful enough to correct the downward spiral. It is far better for leaders to anticipate the worst and get out in front of it.

3.     Before asking others to sacrifice, first volunteer yourself.
In any crisis, sacrifices will certainly be required- and the leaders should step up and shoulder the greatest sacrifice themselves. Your people are watching to see what you will do. Will you stay true to your values or will you cave to external pressures and demands?

4.     Never waste a good crisis!
When everything is going well, people grow complacent. A crisis provides the leader with the platform to get things done that were required anyway and offers a sense of urgency to accelerate their implementation.

5.     Be aggressive.
You’ve heard that football cheer a million times- maybe more. Most people look at a crisis as something that you have to survive. Leaders look at a crisis as an opportunity to change the status quo. Instead of waiting and reacting to changes as they take place, why not create the changes that move your organization to where you want it to be?

ISSN: 2158-1355
© Crystal Dyer 2010. All Rights Reserved.
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