Leadership — are we “ready”?

One of the most vexing things about the industrial frac sand issue is how quickly it came upon us and, quite frankly, the fact that none of us are really ready to deal with it.   For some, this just means that we need to get moving.  But this lack of readiness can be an embarrassment for leaders if they view it the wrong way.  So let me shape your view.

We’re not ready?  That’s OK

Really.  Nobody is ready for everything that comes their way — that’s a big part of being human.  We encounter new things all the time and sometimes those are things that we’re not ready for.

I’m in pretty good physical condition, but I’m not ready to run a marathon tomorrow.  Nor can I do emergency first aid.  Or play the accordion.    There’s nothing good or bad about not being ready, it’s just a circumstance.  No harm, no foul.

Are we ready?

Here’s the key question — and an opportunity for leaders to let down their constituents.  Not being ready is no big deal, but acting as though we’re ready when in fact we’re not can cause harm.  Running a marathon from a cold start could cause a lot of pain and suffering.  Taking on an issue as sweeping and complicated as industrial frac sand mining without being ready could too.

So here’s the secret — assess whether we’re ready before taking on big issues like this one.  Here’s a series of questions to ask yourself:

  1. Is there a need to change the way we do things?
  2. Do we have good information we need to make decisions (and do we understand it)?
  3. How high are the stakes?  Is there a big need or big benefits to be had?
  4. Do we have the time and resources available to take this on?
  5. Do we have the skills and knowledge to do this well?
  6. Do we have a desire to proceed and get through this to a satisfactory solution?

If the answer to these questions is “yes” then we’re probably ready to go ahead and take this on.  If the answer to any of these questions is “I don’t know” or “no” or “heck no!” then we need to ask the next big question…

What will we do to GET ready?

That’s the key question.  To review — it’s perfectly OK not to be ready.  It’s also a fine idea to identify the areas we need to improve.  Once that’s done, it will probably be relatively easy to figure out what to do to get ready.

In the case of Mikey the WannaBe Marathon Runner the task is overwhelming but easy to map out.  In the case of getting our frac sand chops together, the journey begins with but a single question…

Are we ready?

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