Fire is fascinating. It is mesmerizing to sit and stare into a campfire or even a fireplace.
I have lots of memories of fires … controlled fire.
Unfortunately, many fires are not controlled. At least the leadership fires that we face.
The “leadership fire” is a problem we face which threatens to keep us from moving forward.
Sometimes the fire is a financial fire; we are running out of money!
Sometimes the fire is a strategic problem; we have lost our way and are unsure of what to do!
Sometimes the fire is an execution problem; we can’t seem to follow through on what needs to happen!
Often the fire is a people problem. There is a conflict or a lack of chemistry, or perhaps a lack of clear expectations.
In any of those cases there is a blaze that threatens to become an out of control brush fire.
Let me state what seems to be the obvious. When something is on fire you have to put it out. And in the case of leadership fires, we need to solve our problems in a manner that allows us to lead into the future. Putting out fires is really all about decision-making.
How do you make decisions?
Unfortunately there are times when I solve problems in ways that don’t really put out the fire. My solutions, if I am not skilled and intentional, can really just create more problems for tomorrow.
For decades children have been taught a worst-case scenario in extinguishing fires. If, God forbid, I were to ever be on fire I have been taught to STOP, DROP, and ROLL. Maybe that’s not such a bad leadership plan either.
STOP – when I run into a problem that needs solving I sometimes move so quick that my fire extinguishing solution addresses symptoms instead of the cause of the flames. Maybe I need to stop for a bit and examine the fire. Take a few hours, and then come back to it. Maybe…
DROP – as a person of faith I want to include God in the understanding of how to solve problems. Maybe I need to drop and ask for help. Others may look at drop as a way of seeking counsel from others. Either way it is humility in its most practical reality. Maybe we need help. Maybe…
ROLL – leadership fires require action. What I am learning is that to STOP is great, to DROP is crucial; but if I am not willing to ROLL the fire will continue to blaze.
How to you put the fire out? How do you solve your leadership problems?