Have you seen the movie Apollo 13? In case you’re not really acquainted with it, it’s not at all the sequel to Apollos 1 through 12. It’s a nail-biter of an movie that tells the truth story in the ill-fated-and almost disastrous-Apollo 13 pursuit to the moon. At the chance ruining it available for you, the crew of Apollo 13 never managed to make it to the moon. Instead, they nearly died when an onboard explosion caused it to be virtually impossible so they can return safely to Earth.
For the crew of Apollo 13, and also the support personnel on the floor, i thought this was the epitome of any high-pressure situation.
And to ensure that you make it through this high-pressure situation-to solve the myriad seemingly insurmountable problems-they needed to improvise. They was required to come up with crafting ideas, under severe time limits (oxygen inside the spacecraft was rapidly depleted), along with the lives of three astronauts hanging from the balance.
I know… often it feels like that at the workplace too, don’t you think?
At times this way, you will need what the crew and support personnel of Apollo 13 needed: ideas. And when everything’s hanging within the balance, it won’t really matter the place that the ideas originated from.
But some leaders are not appearing to get this.
Some leaders, when confronted with a high-pressure situation, shut all the others out – or, at best, listen merely to a tiny, select population group at or near their hierarchical level.
And this is a mistake.
Because the fact is that a good idea can originate from anyone, at any level. If the idea from Joe, your third shift custodian, will be the one that saves the astronauts, isn’t that what really matters?
But many times, as leaders, we let our egos get inside way. We think that only you can solve the issue and that getting credit for that solution is more valuable than the solution itself. And that’s the level of thinking that will eliminating the astronauts as part of your world.
Harry Truman once said something interesting:
“It’s amazing what you could accomplish… should you not care who contains the credit.”
In a high-pressure situation, ideas (and options) will be your best friends. So why would you wish to limit them?
Once, when I was producing my comedy TV show Almost Live!, a guest canceled for the last minute. Okay, no astronauts were going to die… nonetheless it was still a high-pressure situation to me. The entire cast and crew contributed ideas, including my lowest-paid writer. His suggestion was that maybe he could fill enough time on the show-if we’re able to get some liquid nitrogen.
By the best way, my lowest-paid writer’s name was Bill Nye.
And that night, he became Bill Nye the Science Guy.
You never know the spot that the great ideas are going to originated from… or from whom. No matter what’s at stake as part of your world – should it be the lives of three astronauts, or seven minutes of dead air with a comedy show – solicit numerous ideas from as numerous people that you can… and after that pick the best option.