Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year risks

Our New Year's Eve was, literally, brightened by Grace's fiancé Neil demonstrating fire poi tricks before some fireworks. We marvelled at the skill and enjoyed the speed and the sound and the thrill of danger...

But watching Neil get ready for the show I noticed some learning points:
  • Practice - in safety and privacy. Neil didn't start out with the fires lit; he spent hours getting his routine right before showing the display to others, and before lighting the flames. It's a reminder to me to prepare, and rehearse, especially for new situations, or those that have an impact beyond the routine.
  • Plan - having learned the routine, Neil was more aware of the resources that he'd need and the things that might go wrong in different circumstances ... He'd got a damp towel ready to kill the flames for the controlled finish he achieved. But he'd got a fire blanket, water containers and other emergency plans in place in case something went wrong. He wasn't simply focused on the results, he also spent time working through the process to deliver the results: as someone said, "If you fail to plan you're essentially planning to fail."
  • Prepare to share - it's almost never about the showman: all eyes were focused on Neil, but he'd got Grace on standby as his safety spotter and the assistant who helped to douse the flames at the end; Ian was in the background running the sound system for the background music ... In most areas of life, the leader needs a team to get things done!