My all time favourite TV series is M*A*S*H, a comedy/drama centred around the doctors and nurses of the 4077th M*A*S*H unit during the Korean War. The series was so popular that it outlasted the duration of the 3 year war, spanning 11 seasons and 251 episodes.

The strong characterisation and story lines presented thought provoking themes that provide an ideal platform for lessons on life and leadership. Whether you are a fan of the show or not, I'm sure you will connect with my leadership insights from M*A*S*H.

LEADING FROM THE TRENCHES features bite-sized, candid insights that speak into the gritty space of leadership through the eyes of a fellow leader seeking to "lead with all diligence" (Romans 12:8).

Monday, August 20, 2012

Protocol or Purpose

Episode 1:  The Pilot

General Hammond:    You and Pierce are both under arrest
Hawkeye:            What’s the charge General?
General Hammond:    Breaking orders by having this party
Colonel Blake:      And handing out unauthorised passes

Hawkeye and Trapper disobey orders by having a party in Colonel Blake’s absence to raise money for the education of a local Korean boy.  When they are reported to the General, they manage to avoid being court-martialed by impressing the General with their surgical skills.

In leadership there is a fine line between doing what is required and what is right.  Sometimes the boundaries get blurry when protocol gets in the way of purpose.  While I am not advocating for a disregard of authority, there have been times in my leadership where I have made a conscious choice to bypass protocol in the interest of getting the job done.  Similarly, there have been other occasions where an unintentional breach of protocol evoked more concern than the correctness of the issue at hand.  Right or wrong?  I’ll let you be the judge.  However, whenever protocol or process inhibits an organization from fulfilling its purpose, a decision needs to be made by leaders whether to maintain the status quo or to proactively pursue change.  In making a decision between protocol and purpose, one thing I do know, honesty and humility must lead the way.

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