January 18, 2011 Leadership, Thought Provoking

Leadership in the midst of Crisis

On January 9th, a day when people were relaxing and enjoying the weekend, millions of us were engrossed by the tragic shooting in a Tucson, Arizona shopping center.

Amongst all this horror, once again we saw heroes rising out of the chaos.  I don’t know why, but crisis and tragedy seems to bring out the best in us. We’ve seen this time and time again in crises over the years. As I hear about the actions and behaviors of those heroes, I can’t help but think we can all gain leadership insight even in the midst of crisis.

Although there were many people who stood out and made quick decisions that changed outcomes that day, one individual stood out for me.  About 30 feet away when shots rang out, Daniel Hernandez, a 20 year-old intern made a decision to run towards the shots and utilizing his previous training tended to Representative Gifford’s wounds and saved her life.  So I would say that one leadership lesson we can learn is that competence and courage transcends age and generations. In my opinion this young man has the ability to do great things, and with the right leadership and guidance he will.

Then you look at the medical team that attended to the victims.  Sure they have training, but without effective execution there could have been more casualties.   At times such as these, a leader’s job is to inspire his or her team to focus on doing their jobs as effectively as possible. During one of his interviews Dr. Peter Rhee, chief of trauma at University Medical Center in Tucson said the medical center was able to save lives and attend to all the victims because, “the team dealt rapidly with a mass-casualty scenario.” He praised the work of paramedics and the emergency response teams who transported Rep. Gifford’s quickly with minimal intervention. The fast response of the entire trauma team is the reason she was in the OR so quickly. So I would add In addition to setting strategy and planning, success is about calm, flawless execution.

In our everyday lives there are examples of leadership and heroism that if we really take the time to observe, become obvious.