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).

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Married To The Job

Episode 38:  Hot Lips And Empty Arms

Margaret:   I married the army.  And what have I got to show for it? Rotten living conditions, no social life, surrounded by insolent doctors and nurses who don’t give me an ounce of respect.
Frank:     Darling…it’s only the people who know you that don’t give you any respect.  And that’s because you hide all your goodness.
Margaret:   I have nothing.  Nothing…
Frank:     Margaret you’re serving your country in the most noble way a woman can, in the finest tradition of nursing.  You have your commission…
Margaret:   War can’t last forever Frank.  They’ll declare peace, and then where will I be?

Margaret receives a letter from a friend who has the life that Margaret feels she has missed out on because of her career in the Army.  This prompts her to impulsively request a transfer to escape her feeling of being undervalued and of an unfulfilled life.

There is much to be said about work taking over a disproportionate amount of our lives; when what we do becomes more important than whom we are or those closest to us.  When work robs us from life, then maybe there is an imbalance that needs to be addressed.  However, if work fulfills our lives and adds value to the lives of others around us, then maybe there is an alignment between work and life that becomes our defining purpose.  I am in a unique place in life where what I do flows directly out of who I am.  I am completely fulfilled by a calling that has led me into a role that aligns with who I am as a person.  In a way, it can be said that I am ‘married to the job’ in the sense that my life and calling have become one.  Are there dangers in such a “marriage”?  Absolutely!  I think they are self evident.  But there is an enormous sense of fulfillment knowing that what I do and who I am leave me feeling completed instead of depleted.

Volunteer Army

Episode 37:  Deal Me Out

Frank:   It’s against regulations to gamble with an enlisted man.
Hawkeye: You never enlisted, did you, Klinger?
Klinger: When they came for me, I ran like a thief right into 
         Grand Central Station. They trapped me in a pay toilet. 
         Cost ‘em four dollars in nickels to get me out.
Hawkeye: I love a volunteer.

While the officers meet for their weekly poker game, AKA the “conference”, they are interrupted by a number of medical emergencies.  Frank is one of those interruptions, giving Klinger a hard time for playing cards with the officers.

Australian culture prides itself on the strength of its volunteer base that forms the foundation of community, charity and service organizations.  Whether it is our life guards, country fire fighters, meals on wheels, sporting clubs, welfare agencies, churches or event organisers, our volunteers are an essential compliment to the paid workforce.  Without volunteers many of these groups would grind to a halt.  Business management expert Peter Drucker understood the importance of effectively attracting and retaining competent volunteers - “If non-profit organizations want to attract and hold them, they have to put their competence and knowledge to work.”  Volunteers commit to a purpose not a pay packet, they embrace a cause not a career, and they are motivated by a vision that is driven by internal rather than external rewards.