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).

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Bias Toward Action

Episode 29:  Dr Pierce And Mr Hyde

Henry:     Your cuckoo stunts…Taking a general for a ride to North Korea in a latrine.  McIntyre, what makes him do these things?

Trapper:    He’s just unstable.  He took this weird oath as a young man never to stand around and watch people die.

Henry:      I took the same oath, pal.  I didn’t ask to be here.

Trapper:    Me neither.  I guess that makes about 80,000 of us. 

After three straight days of surgery, Hawkeye, asleep on his feet, tries to figure out why they are there in Korea.  He attends Frank’s orientation lecture and takes him literally when he suggests that North Korea wants American plumbing, leading to a comedy of events that results in General Clayton being taken for a ride in a latrine in an attempt to try and stop the war.

By nature, leaders are hard-wired with a “bias toward action” (Bill Hybels).  They are action oriented people who are discontent with the status quo and are driven towards solving problems and fulfilling a purpose.  A leader will never settle for a “that’s just the way things are” response to issues, but will always seek to understand the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’.  While this leadership trait will often step on toes and get leaders into trouble, it is this characteristic that facilitates change and gets things done.  At the end of one of my favourite movies The American President, starring Michael Douglas as President Andrew Shepherd, the President makes a passionate plea at a press conference that captures this bias toward action; “We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them.”  Leaders don’t stand around and wonder why things happen, but resolutely work towards making things happen!

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