“As a result of collaborative decision making, battle experience, and efficient execution, the Yorktown air group was the only one that arrived over the target in a timely fashion and effected a coordinated attack without any argument, insubordination, or error.”1
The quote outlines three critical elements that led to success: “collaborative decision making, battle experience, and efficient execution.”
Collaboration is working together for a common goal. The photo shows a group of firefighters at a hazardous materials training as they receive a briefing prior to entering the hot zone. Within the Hazardous Materials Group there is a group supervisor, entry team leader, decontamination team leader, technical reference, and an assistant safety officer.
Although each person has separate duties and responsibilities, they must collaborate to ensure the successful conclusion of the training or actual emergency. However, the group supervisor still has responsibility for what happens within that group and the incident commander has overall responsibility for the incident. Even though collaboration is one of the key elements to success, no one abdicates their responsibilities.
Collaborative decision-making draws from the experiences of the group, regardless of rank, seniority, or age. In the photo above, one of the newest firefighters had experience working with hazardous materials in a local facility. This firefighter is a valuable source of information and knowledge about processes and procedures at chemical plants.
Only a fool would disregard a resource such as that. The downside is the firefighter may not be on duty when that information is needed.
Efficient execution is difficult, if not impossible to pull off when there is a lack of collaboration and coordination.
Shortly after I was promoted to battalion chief, I had a conversation with a lieutenant on my shift. He was complaining about a member of his crew and said, “Well…we may not get along in the station, but we get the job done out on the street.”
If you can’t get along with your co-workers, then you are only getting the job done. Anyone who believes they are efficient under those conditions is delirious.
You may be wondering how I handled the situation described in the previous section. I’d love to tell you what I did and how I can help you and your team. Please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit my website at https://www.impactusleadership.com.
You can also purchase a copy of my book The Furnace of Leadership Development on my website.
1Craig L. Symons, The Battle of Midway, (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2011), 283