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Fight for flight: 12 minutes of oxygen

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Last week, I sat on a panel at an event called “Preparing for the Storm.” Run by the Bulletproof Agency Network in partnership with Creative Kitchen, its theme was focused on providing leadership through times of adversity and, although it was aimed at agencies, much of what was touched on is applicable to leaders and organisations of all types.

In addition to the panel Q&A, an interview with John Whalley, Head of Branding and Brand Strategy at Seventy7, and a talk by Paul Barnes, MD of MAP, the event featured a talk from Katie Peate, Strategy Director at Form, and it was this that captured my imagination.

12 minutes of oxygen

The basis of Katie’s talk was that aeroplanes only have around 12 minutes of oxygen should cabin pressure be lost and the oxygen masks need to be deployed. In flight terms, this means planes need to be brought down to a low enough altitude within that time so that passengers can, well, continue breathing and living.

What, asked Katie, should businesses do with their 12 minutes when they hit trouble? These are her tips, drawn from being thrown in at the deep-end as a director to hit seemingly achievable targets and drive rapid growth at Reading Room at the age of 23:

  1. Get super specific: When you need to achieve something urgently, broad brushstrokes and general ideas won’t wash. You need to know the detail of exactly what is going to happen and how.
  2. Communicate a compelling reason for change: When you need to dig in to achieve something, you need everyone involved to be on board with you – and for that they need to know why it’s important. Be open and communicate clearly.
  3. Quickly support negative people out: As Katie pointed out, these might not be the worst performers in your organisation, but they’re the people whose attitudes aren’t right. Negativity can kill projects, let alone firefighting efforts, and it’s contagious, so don’t feel bad for letting negative people go.

Thanks to all for a brilliant event. To book on to the next event or download a podcast visit: bulletproofagencynetwork.com

Photo by KAOTARU on Unsplash

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