What Leaders Can Learn From Accident Scenes
Have you ever noticed how emergency service providers – EMT’s, police, firefighters, doctors, lifeguards – don’t rush right into the scene of an accident? And have you ever considered why that is?
Think about what happens in our daily lives. We can get so bogged down by details and seeming urgencies that we lose sight of the landscape, and oftentimes the really important and critical matters that will make the largest impact to those we lead and serve.
This is the premise for responding to a scene of an accident. When the ambulance arrives, they don’t rush in and start reacting. They walk carefully into the heart of the scene to understand the incident and size up any potential danger. They don’t stop and treat the first injured person they see; instead they survey those injured and make note of the critical versus the minor injuries. From that, they can assess who needs the most urgent attention and can have a greater chance to save lives versus treating as they come across and missing a critical injury further down the scene.
This approach can serve our leadership influence well. A great leader will take these steps out of an emergency service providers’ playbook to be more effective in any matter:
- Get to the heart of the matter. Don’t stand on the sidelines, but get in the trenches to understand the issue.
- Don’t rush in. Take the time to delve into the situation, carefully observing all the variables and factors. Don’t prejudice your understanding before you truly know.
- Remove danger. If there is a critical matter that will profoundly and adversely affect everyone, address it and remove the situation by resolving it. As EMT’s remove people from an exploding gas tank, leaders need to remove their people and organization from those volatile situations before they can treat the other issues at hand.
- Triage. It’s easy to think you’re effective treating the first surface issue that comes across. yet you’re more effective and helpful when you see everyone involved and what the greatest and most urgent needs are.
- Touch every affected person. People affected by even collateral damage in a situation need to be identified and treated as well. Make sure your approach is complete and everyone is accounted for.
- Clean up. Once the scene is controlled and everyone is tended to, then create a clean up plan. Changes in systems, preventative measures, training, and perhaps noticing the signs that caused the incident will prevent future issues down the road.
- Most important – STAY CALM. A doctor or lifeguard that panics or gets excitable or overly emotional will cause nothing but anxiety in those they are supposed to be helping. Calming down a situation involves keeping yourself calm in order to instill a sense of control and hope in others during these crisis.
Great leaders make this a deliberate habit in their lives. By understanding these steps, you can meet any situation and come to the rescue to make your organization and people safer, stronger, and more secure down the road.
Have a story or strategy along this thinking that works in these situations? Would love to hear your input!