The forces for change in business today are both more frequent and more powerful. The pace and the intensity of change have increased. Issues like global trade, big data, analytics, IoT, mobile technologies, ever advancing ecommerce, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, etc. The number of issues facing business leaders and their employees today are more than ever. The power and the force of these changes is creating ever increasing chaotic environments.
How prepared are businesses to handle this chaos? Perhaps more importantly, how are the employees in our businesses prepared to handle chaos? Many times, they must handle these chaotic situations themselves, not having time to wait for leadership to make decisions and give direction. Every day, we are seeing examples of increasing demands from customers for more customization done faster, new non-traditional competitors disrupting customer value chains that have existed for many years, and supply chains interrupted many times by forces out of their control. The impact of these changes and the speed at which we are forced to face up to them creates a level of chaos in business we have not seen before.
I believe Free Enterprise creates the opportunity for creativity. Further, with the current forces of chaos challenging businesses, we need to continue to find creative ways to respond. There are many good examples of industry responding to chaos and becoming more efficient and competitive. When the oil price collapsed to the mid $20’s in 2016, chaos ensued. Yet, after the industry responded quickly and effectively. New technologies were adopted, new efficient processes implemented, etc. The result is that the U.S. is now a major exporter of oil and gas as well as energy self sufficient. Not too many years ago, this was not deemed even remotely possible. This new globally competitive U.S. oil industry is having numerous market and geo political impacts. Responding effectively to chaos can become a competitive advantage.
I started to think about groups and organizations that live with chaos in their every day lives and careers as I wanted to see if we could learn from them how to better handle chaos. First Responders deal with chaos daily. Firefighters, police, EMTs, AMTs, Emergency Room personnel, our military, etc all must handle chaos frequently. And their success in their careers is based on handling those chaotic situations well.
Many people’s first reaction when confronted with chaos is to either wait for it to pass, or to wait for leadership to give directions how to handle. Yet chaos is happening too frequently now to wait. And more importantly, if handled well, can become a competitive advantage. The forces causing chaos today are only going to accelerate. There is an urgency to handling chaos effectively.
I have always felt that learning from the experiences of others is not only more effective and efficient, but also one of the highest compliments we can pay someone. We think so much of your work that we want to learn from you and make our business better…. So I began to think, what can we learn from First Responders that we could apply to our businesses today.
First Responders do not wait for chaos to pass. They Run to Chaos. They run with a determination and passion to resolve it. In their case, many times they are running to chaos to save lives. The images of Firefighters and Police running into the World Trade Center on 9/11 are etched in our memories forever. So are the images of police and security personnel running towards and into the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas while bullets rained down on them. Each of these and more are examples of First Responders running to chaos to resolve the situations as fast as humanly possible. What if we could apply lessons learned about their approach, their training, their teamwork, their communications, etc to business and become as efficient at handling chaos as First Responders? I think the companies that do will be some of the most successful moving forward.
I will be sharing research I have done on First Responders doing their jobs in various situations. I will write blogs about these stories and offer some thoughts and ideas on how these might apply to businesses today. I hope you will enter into a dialogue with me to develop ideas that can be used to make businesses more effective every day. Hopefully, we can create a community of interest and learn from First Responders and develop creative ideas. If we do this, then I believe, we are honoring our First Responders one more time.
Please feel free to share this blog with anyone that you feel would benefit from the ideas and find it interesting. The goal is very simple — to learn from First Responders and develop ideas from which all of us can benefit.
All the Best,