I work in a department (and at a company for that matter) that spends a lot of time putting out “fires”. Firefighting is exciting; and when you’re good at it, you sometimes get rewarded or promoted.
Seth Godin had some excellent insight today on how to meet strategic goals despite all the fires that need to be put out. Seth makes the comment “I guess the trick is to make the long term items even more urgent than today’s emergencies.” This reminded me of something I dreamed up a few months ago.
At my suggestion, everyone in my organization has a written objective to find 2 or 3 things to improve this year that directly affect their work. Historically, they’ve all been too busy fighting fires to make improvements.
So I’m trying to take advantage of this rule of organizations: What gets measured, gets done! Hopefully, by holding everyone accountable, they will be able to ignore the fires for a few moments and take time to find a way to prevent the fires from occurring again.
Organizations need to find a way to reward those who prevent fires! I’m still trying to figure out how to do that. Maybe we all need a Smokey Bear.