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).

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Chain Reaction

Episode 41:  For Want Of A Boot

Trapper:        He has got to have those boots.
Sergeant Zale:  We made a deal, he didn’t come through.
Hawkeye:       Do you know what I did?  How I degraded myself,  
               how I grovelled, how I hovelled, how I cheapened 
               myself? All for a pair of miserable, lousy army  
               boots. I swear to you, as dedicated as I am to 
              the sanctity and preservation of human life, if I  
               had a gun at this moment, I would send my head 
               across the tent.
Sergeant Zale: A gun takes six weeks.  There’s a terrific        
               waiting  list.

Hawkeye is desperate for a new pair of boots sparking a chain reaction of bartering around the camp to convince the supply sergeant to fast track his requisition.  All the wheeling and dealing backfires when one link in the chain comes undone.

As a child I used to enjoy playing dominos with my brother, especially when we would abandon the actual game and stand all our dominoes on end in a long, winding line, tipping the first domino and watching the chain reaction as each domino pushed over the next.  Unlike this childhood game, the impact of a chain reaction of events in leadership is usually far less entertaining, especially when that chain reaction leads to a series of undesired consequences.  The challenge in these situations is breaking the chain before the knock-on effect goes too far.  In my experience, the sooner the chain is stopped the lesser the impact.  In contrast, if a chain reaction of events creates productive momentum, then a leader will instead want to give it a bit of a nudge.  One thing that is true for both circumstances is that we do not lead in a vacuum and every thing we do as a leader is interconnected.  The question is not if what I do will cause a chain reaction, but whether the impact of the chain reaction will be productive or destructive?

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