A fire drill occurs when people stop purposeful work guided by their plan and react to an urgent but less important issue. In the following video excerpt from the StrategyMan Learning System (based on the new book), see how the Anti-Strategy Squad villain Fire Driller attempts to destroy Technobody’s business with a reactionary fire drill.
If your team is seduced by firefighting, then consider adopting the following technique when the fire drill alarm is sounded on your team:
1. Identify the fire.
2. Determine the fire’s impact. If left unattended, would the fire get larger and hinder the attainment of your goals or smolder out with no real impact?
3. Attend to the fire or ignore it.
4. Eliminate the cause of similar future fires.
5. Design a fire drill protocol, using the phrase, “Let’s think about that,” as a trigger to avoid an immediate reaction.
Remember, every minute devoted to a fire drill is a minute not invested on your goals and strategies. As Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn said, “If you don’t take the time to think proactively, you’ll constantly be reacting to your environment, rather than influencing it.” Strategic thinking can transform our reactive behaviors into thoughtful proactive ones.
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