Monthly Archives: August 2012

Fire!

The six members of the leadership team entered the conference room looking preoccupied with the activities they abandoned to come to the team assessment debrief session. The team leader commented that the day had been like one fire drill after another.

Setting aside the agenda for a moment, I asked: How many days in a typical week turn out the way you planned? How about in a typical month? A typical year? The team had a quick consensus on all three questions: zero

The flow of the workshop assumed the character of the team: adaptable. Both the baseline assessment taken when the team was immersed in significant change and the recent follow-up survey unveiled the same core trait: poise under pressure. Their success as a team depended on it.

Most people adapt effectively under routine circumstances. Few, however, maintain their cool when the pressure is on or when unexpected events unfold. This is the test of a team’s health: the ability to recover following a disappointment, the capacity to stay focused on a goal when the risk of failure creates fear. While some leaders buckle under such conditions, others are nimble.

Consider your last crisis. Did you flinch? Did you freeze? Did you take thoughtful action? Every day is some variation of a fire drill. It’s how you adapt that matters most.