I had a friend, the late Captain Otto Wagenpfeil, who commanded the Special Operations Division (SOD) of the Minneapolis Police Department. SOD is the unit that has all the tools for when things go very barely—they are the 911 that happens when cops call for help. He designed a patch for his Division with the Latin phrase Order ex Chaos: bringing order to chaos.
Imagine you were the first police supervisor to arrive at a scene where a massive tornado has ripped through a housing development:
- you hear muffled cries for help
- you see flames ripping through a house where the gas line had ruptured
- you see people wandering in the streets, obviously injured, and
- you see cars arriving—are people coming to help or are they looking to steal from now exposed houses?
- Other police, fire, and EMS personnel are arriving—what do you want tehm to work on first? How can you communicate all you know to them efficiently and effectively?
Which problems do you address first? Do you stop helping the child in front of you who can’t find his parents, to pull people out of harms way as their house burns? At what point do you stop the immediate aid you’re giving in order to coordinate other people responding to the same incident?
In my previous life, I used to do a lot of training with first responders on how to bring order to chaos. We are fortunate that, most days, working at TKC32M isn’t quite as challenging as responding to a natural disaster. Most days. But a lot of the elements that create challenges for the police sergeant above exist here sometimes:
- Many things happening at once that need attention
- Not really knowing who is working on what projects
- Not knowing how something works when you have a customer demanding answers
- Seeing something that you think needs doing and not sure if anyone else is doing it
You have heard a lot about things like ‘culture change’ and ‘establishing priorities’ and ‘process improvement’ and ‘checklists’ from those of us charged with leading the business. You may think that this is just some business school mumbo-jumbo, but I invite you to walk with us as we go from being a great company to being a great company that is firing on all cylinders, delivering perfection at every turn that runs as smoothly and comfortably as those lucky travelers in the front of the plane.
Work with us as we hone our skills and develop the quiet confidence of that first responder who knows exactly what to do to bring order ex chaos. Stay tuned for more.