Do you find the busyness of the ‘now’ is attractive, or even addictive? Adrenaline is partly to blame.
Adrenaline is an amazing thing. In times of crisis it limits our field of vision and dampens the impact of auditory input to allow our brains to focus on finding immediate solutions to immediate problems. Adrenaline helps us disregard apparent risks and self doubt to enable us to make decisive choices in dangerous situations.
This Adrenaline rush is one of the reasons that leaders find it so difficult to retreat to the strategic space and leave the ‘now’ alone.
Make finding strategic space your priority.
When crisis hits, organisations don’t need more people ‘on the ground’, they need leaders who can chart a safe course into a better future. In times of uncertainty and difficulty people need to be led by those who have capacity to think clearly and creatively. Leaders who are overwhelmed with adrenaline lack the ability to make sensible judgements about risk and take on board advice.
Are there times when your lack of distance and perspective
makes you dangerous?
The research around incident command that informed the Civil Contingency structures advocates separating of the ‘now’ (bronze command) from the Strategic level (Gold command).
Gold (strategic level) should exist to set vision, communicate direction, assess risk and seek new opportunities.
When the Silver (middle management) layer works well it that enables and resources both the delivery level below, and the strategic level above.
The Bronze (delivery level) is where stuff gets done. In a healthy organisation this level should be skilled, empowered, well resourced and accurately targeted at valuable tasks that deliver the vision.
Strategic Space learning applied in the real world...
I have been working with organisations to apply the learning from emergency response into everyday management. Helping people at each level of an organisation understand their role, their fit and their purpose liberates individuals and makes organisations more effective and resilient. I'm happy to share this learning in the form of teaching, training or consultancy within organisations, if you have an idea about how we might work together please email me.
This material is being further developed for the 'Developing Strategic Capabilities in the Public Service' module on the #BrightonMBA, you can also access further resources by subscribing to the Strategic Space mailing list.