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Tag Archives: emergency preparedness

Be proactive – think like a chess grand master to avoid a “checkmate”

ChessPiecesIn chess, a checkmate occurs when a player’s king is under attack, and has no alternative plan or course of action available because every possible escape route is blocked.  At the moment of checkmate, the game is already lost, so the only way to avoid being checkmated is to be proactive, to strategically think several moves before ever getting to this point.  Chess grand masters, able to visualize permutations and combinations involving ten or more moves into the future, have perfected this skill.  Fortunately, it’s far less complicated to avoid a checkmate in the world of work!  In fact, there are only three elements needed to develop a leadership approach that is effective in avoiding a workplace checkmate.

  1. First, pay attention to “checks”.  In chess, a “check” (called by a player when the opponent’s king is under threat of capture) serves as a warning that a checkmate is imminent and gives the opponent a chance to take evasive action.  Checks are also present in the workplace, alarm signals to leaders that things are about to go awry.  But it’s up to leaders to pay attention.  Whether it’s an increase in errors, a rise in customer complaints, or grumbling around the staff water cooler, it’s up to leaders to heed the cautionary signs and take evasive action.
  2. Second, pay attention to the pieces on the board.  Continue reading

What leaders can learn from (righteous!) surfers

Experienced surfers make it look so easy! A few weeks ago, I spent some time in Hawai’i watching (from the comfort of my beach chair) skilled surfers ride the waves with acrobatic precision and ballet-like choreography. I noticed that each one followed a very similar routine before venturing into the water. Every single surfer walked up to where the waves lapped the shore and then stopped and scanned the ocean for several minutes. Next they waded in up to their knees and paused and assessed the water again. This observation interested me enough that I asked two of them about the significance of what they were doing. Their answer was not entirely unexpected. Continue reading

Stay ready, so you don’t have to get ready

In the hip-hop culture, there is an old adage – “stay ready, so you don’t have to get ready”. In fact, here are the lyrics from a popular rap song “If you stay ready” by Suga Free.

If u stay ready, u ain’t got to get ready

If u stay ready, u don’t ever ever get someone way out to get ready

— Suga Free with DJ Quik from the How to Be a Player album

Sometimes, leadership lessons come from the most unexpected places! Continue reading

I survived a tsunami watch!

While my experience with the devastating earthquake on Friday March 11 was in no way like that of those in northern Japan, it is still a day that I will not forget.  I was in Honolulu on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, and at approximately 10 PM local time, about 2 hours after the earthquake created untold destruction in the city of Sendai in Japan, we were startled by the shrill piercing sound of tsunami warning sirens.  Today’s blog post is a tribute to the importance and value of emergency preparedness.

Surprised, we immediately turned on our television, and local broadcasters informed us that the tsunami resulting from the Japan earthquake was estimated to reach Oahu at 3:07 AM.  Continue reading