There's a thin line between heroism and stupidity. Unfortunately in business, we often see too little of one and too much of the other. The difference between heroism and stupidity is the 5 Intelligence Factors.
H – (5 x IF) = St²
Herosim - (5 x Intelligence Factors) = St²
A Business Challenge in Need of a Hero
A client of mine, a London bus company with a massive fleet of 888 buses, had spent 6 weeks isolating the drivers’ cabs with covid safety screens, leaving no more than a 5mm gap around the edge. This was a gap agreed by scientists, government, unions, operators, TfL, and everyone, to be right. They were ahead of the curve, ahead of their competitors and ready to roll the following Saturday.
On Thursday morning, someone changed their mind! A 5mm gap was no longer acceptable – it had to be zero. They were told no zero-gap would mean no running buses on Saturday morning. Disaster! Refitting 888 London buses before the deadline seemed impossible.
- Option A: Drive them illegally and fight it in court later; don’t drive them and close down the service; re-negotiate with people who were not prepared to negotiate; run a drastically reduced service; put out PR clearly blaming someone else. Cry.
- Option B: Be a Hero and get it sorted; get a Result.
R = H + (5 x IF)
Result = Herosim + (5 x Intelligence Factors)
Using the 5 Intelligence Factors
The five intelligence factors are creativity, planning, teamwork, motivation & appreciation and values. Find out how this London bus company used all five factors together with a dash of heroism to achieve a successful result.
1. Creativity: They had no material to fix it with; supply chains were slow and unreliable . . . and there were thirteen other London bus companies chasing the same supplies. I’m not giving away the answer, but one director’s credit card, next day Amazon delivery, an imaginative solution and driving 500 miles solved the supply chain issue. If you don’t like all of the options, create another one.
2. Planning: It was still nigh on impossible; but not completely. There was no china shop and definitely no bull. It was planned carefully down to the finest detail, then communicated honestly. Planning turns desires into reality.
3. Teamwork: The full team of 36 engineers volunteered to work through the night, sticking to plan, maintaining pace, ensuring every job was perfect: co-ordination, efficiency, mutual support. In tough times, teamwork is everything.
4. Motivation and Appreciation: The charge was led from the front by the Engineering Director. He was there, all night, one of the team. His enthusiasm, motivation and appreciation were evident. He made it happen. Leadership is knowing when to roll up your sleeves and muck in.
5. Values: The leader and the team shared determination and a relentless desire to win. A desire to get it right for their customers, their drivers and their company. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
They did it! In a 28 hour shift, they converted all 888 buses, proving impossible is an opinion, not a fact. They achieved a successful result against all odds by using the 5 key factors of intelligence . . . and more than a touch of Heroism.