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, December 31, 2016

Facing Your Fears

Episode 63:  Bombed

Margaret:       [Standing at the operating table] Major, your hands 
                are shaking.
Frank:          Well, it has nothing to do with the shelling.   
                It’s, uh…my sinus condition.
Henry:          If anybody’s scared, just let yourself be scared.  
                “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”  Eleanor 

The 4077th is pinned down by friendly fire with the compound being bombarded by shelling.  The doctors and nurses continue to operate while the OR is shaken by all the explosions around them, despite their very real fears.  

I can’t recall how many times as a leader when I have been afraid to make a difficult decision, have a crucial conversation or confront a challenging situation.  Yet, on every occasion despite my fears, or maybe because of them, a clear vision and strong convictions gave me the courage to face my fears.  Courageous leadership is not the absence of fear but the integrity to act when we are afraid. Fear reveals the true character of a leader and heightens a leaders senses to right size their fears so they can effectively engage that which challenges them.  In his book Chasing Daylight Erwin McManus writes, “I am convinced that when we face our fears, we look straight into the eyes of opportunity, and the courage we often need to engage our greatest challenge can be found only in the midst of engaging that challenge.”  

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Common Denominators

Episode 62:  Private Charles Lamb

Hawkeye:    Dear Dad.  The wounded keep coming and coming.  The 
            latest batch were Greek soldiers.  Greece is one of the 
            17 UN countries fighting here in Korea.  Greeks, 
            Siamese, Ethiopians, Turks.  You name ‘em, we got ‘em. 
            The common denominator is blood.  It’s all red.  And 
            there’s an awful lot of it leaking out around here.

After the doctors patch up a Greek regiment at the 4077th, the Greek colonel invites the camp to celebrate their Greek Easter with them to express his gratitude for their care of his soldiers.  Radar is so upset that a live lamb is to be the main course, he organises a medical discharge for “Private Charles Lamb” to save the lambs life.

Leadership is no respecter of persons.  When it comes to the rigours and responsibilities that are a normal part of leading our ethnicity, culture, social and economic status, and gender don’t divide us but unite us. Leaders from all walks of life, all industries and all nations understand the challenges and conflicts associated with leadership.  They share common principles and a common purpose that enable them to connect at a level that those they lead are unable to.  This doesn’t make leaders better than others but enables them to recognize the common denominators that provide solidarity among leaders.  Whether I am speaking with a colleague in Indonesia or a business leader in my local community, we share a mutual understanding of leadership that transcends the different contexts in which we lead.