I was talking to a coach colleague and friend of mine yesterday. We were having a discussion about training programmes for 2015. The subject turned to proactive versus reactive management. The skill of being proactive seemed to be vital in the need not only to get things done, but necessary for preventing fires starting. Therefore the skill of proactive leadership is essential for preventing fires starting and extinguishing them should they flare up.
The metaphor of organisations as a burning platform with managers running around putting out fires is an interesting one for the health sector. It occurred to me recently that much of the resources in the NHS were spent on healing the sick, we have some of the best healers on the planet and we excel at emergency medicine and trauma care amongst many other specialists. These are some of our most skilled fire fighters in action. So it would seem curing the sick and injured in itself is the big picture burning platform, an organisation with no shortage of fire-fighters busy looking for things to fix. The paradigm shift of prevention seems to be something that we have put our attention to but it never really took off, not like the popular occupation of fire fighting. It has been asked, who would want to learn to prevent fires starting when your whole business is built on putting them out? We refer to this paradox as the turkey fattening itself up for Christmas.
What’s interesting for us as coaches is that much of what we do with clients, whether it is organisations, teams or individuals involves helping people shift their paradigms. Some call it creating a new story; some refer to it as merely letting go of the story. Maybe it’s time for something new, a brand new paradigm?
In working with state of mind, artful communication strategies and transformational coaching skills we believe that a real paradigm shift is not only possible but also inevitable. What this means is, given the right conditions anything you want to create is possible – you just have to stop fire fighting long enough to see it.