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Being a steelworker on a big construction job is literally living on
the edge, and that’s right where Ugo “Hokey” Del Costello likes to be. “If I [screw] up,” says the project boss for the massive new Woodrow
Wilson Bridge that will connect Maryland and Virginia across the
Potomac River, “I could kill somebody.” Despite the extreme nature of his job, Del Costello is a leader in familiar ways:
Both the New Orleans levee break after Hurricane Katrina and the
terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 were predictable surprises. That is, they
were disasters that could have been prevented. Here are the
traits of predictable surprises (with Sept. 11 and Katrina examples),
and the steps you can take to keep them from happening:
Sure, leaders are steady and dependable. But they also know the power of doing surprising things when their gut tells them to. Some unexpected actions that yield results:
Staff members can’t make decisions that fit the organization’s practices without knowing the rules.
Ockham’s Razor (also known as the “Law of Parsimony”) is a principle
that states that the simplest solution to a problem, not the most
complicated, is always best. Examples:
The next time you face an emergency situation, work through these four steps:
People at varying levels of authority had to make many decisions as
Hurricane Katrina bore down on the Gulf Coast.
Unfortunately, too many opted to follow the chain of command instead of
doing what had to be done.
With some organizations scaling back holiday parties and others nixing them altogether, your end-of-the-year celebration may not be the grand event it used to be. But with the right strategy, you can orchestrate an event to remember with a minimum of work.
Do you feel like there's never enough time in your day to do all the things you need to do as a front-line manager? Take a closer look at how your time gets spent—not what activities (such as attending meetings) you do, but what functions you perform.
Golden opportunities are rare in business. They’re also hard to predict because they arise from random, unconnected events. That’s why practicing active waiting makes sense. Here’s what we mean: