Learning at all levels is a way to keep generating knowledge and regenerating people. Do you relentlessly search for learning opportunities? Does your organization make sharing knowledge a priority? Can you recognize when it’s time to reinvent yourself and change course? Can your agency “see around corners” based on new knowledge and adjust its strategies accordingly?
When faced with difficulties, some companies and people not only survive, but thrive. Others simply fold. Why is that? More than any other characteristic, resilience determines who succeeds and who fails. Resilience, not perfection, is the signature of greatness, be it a person or an organization.
The signature of a great enterprise is not the absence of difficulty, but the ability to come back from difficult times even stronger than before. When our economy declined, companies like IBM, Nordstrom and Disney suffered setbacks, but were resilient enough to bounce back as stronger institutions, while some of America’s largest financial companies demonstrated just how quickly they can collapse in a turbulent world.
Most EMS organizations have been negatively impacted by this recession. If your organization has taken a fall and is dealing with a crisis, be resilient and disciplined. Get back to practicing sound management concepts such as employee accountability, customer satisfaction, execution, curiosity and renewal. The bottom line is, a lack of management discipline and resilience correlates with decline. Passionate adherence to management discipline and resilience correlates with ascent.
We can’t control what the world does to us, but we can control how we respond to it. We have the capability to create our own future as long as we don’t give in to “victim” thinking. When you or your organization accept that your current circumstances are outside of your control and thus surrender to their ramifications, you choose to become a victim, and you choose to fail. In today’s financially challenged world, failure is the willingness to accept mediocrity and do just enough to survive. EMS institutions and their leaders who are resilient, who retain faith they can find a way to prevail in pursuit of excellence, who maintain the will to do whatever it takes no matter how painful, will triumph. Do you have a never-ending inner drive for progress in good times and bad? Does your organization take necessary actions to shape its future whether facing threat or opportunity? Do you drive improvement when the world around you bleeds excuses? Does your passion for greatness remain constant whether facing danger or not?
Albert Einstein once said the problems we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking with which we created them. Many leaders and organizations develop blindness to their own deficiencies. They do not suffer because they cannot resolve their problems, but because they cannot see their problems.
Constantly asking questions of yourself and your colleagues changes your level of thinking and produces solutions to problems you may not even know you have. To defy the odds and thrive in the face of severe turbulence and violent change, we must be inquisitive, fervently adhere to solid management principles and have a high level of resilience.
Larry Boxman has been involved in EMS for 28 years. He is currently the vice president of operations for Metro West Ambulance in Washington County, OR, and a volunteer paramedic with the Mist-Birkenfeld Rural Fire Protection District. Contact him at email@example.com.