May 31, 2013
If you remember Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré (Ret.) from the Katrina disaster, you might also remember his admonition to the press swarm of that time – “You’re stuck on stupid”. You can of course watch that video here.
Well, no point letting that well worn phrase go to waste, here he is again talking about a rather related issue in Leaders stuck on stupid.
Are you a-buck-stops-here leader? Do you secretly look forward to making the call when a crisis has stakeholders demanding action? If so, then please be advised that some of the world’s toughest leaders are not at all impressed. In fact, as far as Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré (Ret.) is concerned, you don’t have the right stuff to lead any organization in today’s complex world.
He thinks, for example, that most organizations need to tear up their crisis plans. Simply put, if you are not prepared for a total loss of power and communications, not to mention a scenario that involves body bags and the need to break a few laws, then you are not thinking bad enough. To really prepare for a crisis, Honoré, who recalls having to order airline authorities to forget about screening procedures while evacuating New Orleans, insists you must seriously imagine your worst nightmare. And then you must prepare for your plan to fail, “because the first casualty in any emergency is the disaster plan.”
Having been part of a few Disaster Recovery Plans which were nothing short of disasters in and of themselves, I can say this that we do pay excessive lip service to “disasteration” or disaster preparation. However, what I took away from all of this was – do we need a disaster plan to be able and willing to do the following.
According to Gerard Seijts, executive director of Ivey’s Ian O. Ihnatowycz Institute for Leadership, the general’s message is simple. “The U.S. Army revolutionized how it makes decisions because technology-enabled collaboration is superior to centralized decision making in today’s complex world of interconnected risks, opportunities and challenges. And other organizations, including corporations, should do the same because collaboration across boundaries leads to bottom-up information flow, which may have saved a few U.S. banks during the financial crisis.”
Why not make it the norm?
Oh yes, today is Friday. Not TGIF but TGIWTF – Thank God It’s Wishful Thinking Friday.