What would I do in that situation?
Last week I was completely obsessed with the story out of Zainesville, Ohio. If you’ve been living in a cave..HERE’s a link.
Here’s the basic set-up.
You’re the Sheriff in a small town and a call comes across the radio that many exotic animals are running lose from a local piece of property you’ve been to before.
You know there are over 50 wild animals in that “zoo.” You know there are MANY Lions…MANY Tigers….Wolves….and Grizzly Bears.
You know…when you were on the property before that the animals were aggressive…
It’s getting to be dusk….
The next call over the radio is asking permission to “Shoot to Kill.”
What do you do?
You can read the article if you want to know what was decided.
I just think the whole situation illustrates some pretty amazing things about decision making when there is no clear way to make it all go away.
Here are some thoughts.
1. You have to know your priorities! Can you imagine if this Sheriff stopped to look at his old Police Leadership books in order to figure out what to do in this situation. We will all face decisions in which there is no precedence. I’m guessing the little plaque on his desk that says “To Protect and Serve” came in handy as the Sheriff was weighing his options.
2. You’re not going to make everyone happy. Here’s a little piece of wisdom I picked up from my last boss. He said, “if everyone understands a tough decision you made…you waited too long to make it.” He went on to say that a leader has to make decisions before people have enough information to understand it. Can you imagine if this Sheriff was worried about keeping everybody happy?
3. If you don’t have to hurry…don’t rush the decision. If you have to hurry…don’t be too proud to change your mind. The point is to solve the problem…not to be right. I heard, though I can’t confirm, that there was an attempt to tranquilize and one of the animals just freaked out.
4. We live in a broken world. Some problems don’t have a perfect solution. As a leader you will often have to chose between two or three options that all have their downsides. When in this situation…see #1.
What do you think? How do you decide when there is no clear winner?