Posted on Jul 17, 2015
COL Mikel J. Burroughs
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RP Members here is one of those Questions out there lost in RallyPoint Cyberspace, because it was switched from a question to a share link, that I've revived for some of the new Members I've connected with. Do you agree or disagree with the author? Do you have additional comments on the subject?

#1 Leadership Skill: Bringing Order out of Chaos
James G. Bohn, Ph.D.
The Blue Collar Scholar - Change Management Expert - Keynote Speaker

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/1-leadership-skill-bringing-order-out-chaos-james-g-bohn-ph-d-?trk=pulse-det-nav_art

The Moment

It's that moment you've been waiting for. They called your name. You're the one they're counting on to make this ... project ... team ... system ... organization ... work. You are the leader they've chosen. Your chance to make a reputation, an impact, a legend. It's now or never.

This is where leadership begins.

The Reality

You're ready. You've been practicing, and you are SO ready. Now it's showtime. And then the nightmare begins. The project you expected has turned out to be a monster. The team you were asked to lead is a group of depressed employees. The system you've been asked to manage is a nightmare of IT spaghetti. Or you've found out the organization you've been called to improve has a long track record of failures.

This is where leadership begins. Leadership is the ability to bring order out of chaos. In my opinion, that what leadership ultimately means. But you may need a few tips. Here are steps I've taken to bring order out of chaos.

Some fundamental steps for bringing order out of chaos:

The big goal here is to help people focus so they can renew their energy around a common set of goals. Get the facts, cut the non-essentials, and focus, focus, focus!

1. Although it sounds very impersonal - Finances come first. What do you know about the budget? Is the group under water? Get those facts on the table as quickly as possible. No budget means working in the dark.

2. Who is on the team? What is their assessment of the situation? (Listen carefully). Who are the naysayers and what are their concerns? If legitimate, address them; if not, explain the need to get on board because the train is leaving the station.

3. What is the group doing? What strange projects are they working on? What unnecessary action is taking place right now? Where are people expending wasteful energy? Stop those things immediately - gently - but immediately.

4. Get rid of unnecessary activities. Stop running reports for about a week and see who complains. (It's astonishing how we continue to run reports for someone who asked for a report ONE TIME). What sorts of other arcane and peripheral projects are wasting employees energy? Cease them immediately!

5. Refocus the team on the essentials - "Here's what we need to accomplish", "Here's where we're expected to be in ten weeks", "This is our charter to achieve." "Here's where we fit into the organization."

6. Be graphic - Pictures help everyone to align. Build a simple one-page map of where you're at and where you're going.

7. Repeat the process until you see daylight.

8. Reward your team along the way ($50 worth of pizza goes a long way.)

9. Remain passionate about winning and let others know you plan to win. LEAD!

10. Help everywhere possible until the team is out of the storm.

Your achievement

This great leadership skill of bringing order out of chaos is what separates real leaders from wannabes. This is difficult, demanding and ... sometimes ... fearsome work, but in my opinion and experience, it is the #1 skill of great leaders and the greatest means for leadership satisfaction.

Stand atop the mountain when the dragon has been slain my friends. You brought order out of chaos. That's leadership!

When people ask you what you do for a living, you can tell them:

"I'm a leader - I bring order out of chaos."
Edited >1 y ago
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COL Charles Williams
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Edited 5 y ago
Thanks COL Mikel J. Burroughs.

1. You need to be calm, exude calmness, and be unflappable. When you are stressed out, that is contagious and infectious. When you are calm, others are more likely to remain calm.

2. Make a list, set priorities, have a plan and check regularly on progress. Be careful of multiple priorities... Too many priorities can be confusing and frustrating. You have to focus on what is most important.

3. Care, and lead by personal example, and be present.

4. Empower your subordinate leaders.

Good article... but too complicated.
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COL Charles Williams
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SGT Infantryman (Airborne)
SGT (Join to see)
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Yes Sir, anytime.
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LCDR Robert Turner
LCDR Robert Turner
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In my experience, consistent and meaningful communications will enhance te characteristics you mentioned. Being genuine in the details of the situation and truthful in your intentions will refuce the chaos.
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COL Roxanne Arndt
COL Roxanne Arndt
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COL Mikel Burroughs, I will let you know how it turns out!
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SGT Ben Keen
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I think it is the ultimate object for any leader to being order to the chaos around them. The difference between a good leader and a great leader is how they accomplish that task. I think the things outlined in the article provide great building blocks in which a leader can take and improve their skills with.
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COL Mikel J. Burroughs
COL Mikel J. Burroughs
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SGT Ben Keen That was the goal! To provide additional tools for the Leadership toolbox. Not everyone has to agree with them or use them, but take a look and study them and the meaning behind them. You can always put them in the toolbox and pull them out one or two at a time when and if you need them. Leadership is growing!
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SGT Ben Keen
SGT Ben Keen
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COL Mikel J. Burroughs - Well I for one am glad you shared; I'm always looking for new ideas on leadership. Some I may adapt to my leadership style, others I let go for different reasons.
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COL Mikel J. Burroughs
COL Mikel J. Burroughs
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SGT Ben Keen Thanks partner for the note. It makes me feel good to provide some continuing information on the subject of Leadership!
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MAJ Armored Combat Command Commander
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I am stuck on unmotivated followers. I never had that problem. I have often brainstormed and visualized events. On occasions I would make a flow chart to help me understand the situation. I will be driven by TLPs, Priorities of work, and OPORD format to simplify and execute.
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