Leadership That Matters, Part 21

None of us wants to be in the situation where the things we do are restricted because we happen to fall under a "broad brush" response to certain exigencies, such as what happens often when a situation is particularly pressing and requires immediate action, but time does not permit a more careful study of all the facts.  We have likely all been in a situation like this and we may likely have responded to certain situations with this kind of approach, but as transformational leaders, we have to understand how this translates into a worsening of the situation.  A considerate response to certain problems is almost always warranted, even if time does not permit, because of the unintended consequences of these broad brush statements.

While some of the aftermath can even prove humorous, some have disastrous effects, even resulting in fatalities.  Therefore, it is important that we try as often as possible to consider the ramifications of our decisions, even when doing so might seem to take up more time than is allocated.

In emergency services, too many problems are treated alike: we are in the business of responding to disasters.  Usually, though, those disasters are not OUR disasters, they are of someone else's making.  While expedience is the normal requirement for decisions we make, a knee-jerk reaction might cost us big-time.  But I also see where issues of administrating a fire department or an emergency medical system are treated identically to the decisions we make on the incident scene.  If lives are on the line, then the time for careful consideration of alternatives is appreciably short.  If a significant cascade event will occur without an immediate decision, likewise.  But the day-to-day operation of things generally do not fall into those categories, so the way we solve these challenges should not be similar.

Don't let someone else's perceived urgency push you into making less-than considered responses.  Understand your situation, size up the needs, consider your resources, and then, and only then, decide.  Like my dear ol' Dad always said, "Do it right the first time."  You'll be surprised at how many times doing that will save time rather than squander it.


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