Tag Archives: Commander’s Intent

Crisis Management: Mastery and Proficiency

A few weeks ago, I participated in a Ketchum leadership workshop where we probed dependent, independent and interdependent leadership styles.  Respectively, this can be defined most simply as “you do it,” “I’ll do it,” and “we’ll do it.”   Neat.  

During the session, I raised the following:  “It’s tough to lead others if you’re not recognized as having mastered something.  And mastery can only come when you’ve pushed through the complacency of just being proficient.”

Okay, so this wasn’t an entirely original thought.  Just a few hours before the session I happened to have read this Forbes’ article by Amity Shales, which contains this nugget:

(My father, Jared Shlaes…) gave the best career advice I’ve ever heard: There will come a moment when you are bored with an area of study and will want to try something new. But that boredom is the signal you’ve achieved mastery. You’ll be quitting at the moment when it’s most costly to do so. Only a mastered trade can be properly monetized.

How do these thoughts on mastery and proficiency apply to crisis management?  It gets back to a statement I’ve often made.  “It takes about 5-7 years to learn all of the rules of crisis management and the rest of your career to challenge every single one of those rules.”  You have to constantly challenge assumptions and look beyond the obvious to be a master of your craft.  (That’s why I and others strongly favor experienced crisis managers and teams over plans.)  

I’ve recently stumbled on other viewpoints complementary to this one: Continue reading Crisis Management: Mastery and Proficiency