The term fire fighting in business is defined as “the practice of dealing with problems as they arise rather than planning strategically to avoid them.

Could it be YOU?

  •  You are the best person in your organisation to troubleshoot.
  •  It is the “nature” of your business.
  • You are not the right person for the job

Regardless of the situations, it’s both stressful and unhealthy to be stuck in this environment.

Recently, we were engaged by a client that specialised in plant repair, maintenance and shut-down services. Because of the nature of their work, the Client presumed that they had to FIRE FIGHT ALL THE TIME.

One can never predict when the plant is going to breakdown, when a leak is going to happen. There are millions of possibilities and factors to be considered. No doubt, these are very true assumptions. Guess what, the same concept applies to real fire fighters.

How do you stop fire fighting?

Perhaps you can consider what a fire fighter does most of the time? Preparation and training; in short ANTICIPATION.

Is it possible to anticipate recurring events that are variants of similar problems?  Do you have procedures and/or templates to reduce your reactive time?  How far can you prepare to anticipate what’s coming?

If you can reduce your reactive time, is it possible for you to jump into action just like a real fire fighter? Which activity is more valuable? Anticipating (Prevention) or Fire Fighting?

Interestingly, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, fire fighters EARN MUCH LESS THAN a person that directly supervise and coordinate activities of workers engaged in fire fighting and fire prevention and control.

Wouldn’t you agree that prevention is better than cure?

By ANTICIPATING, you STOP FIRE FIGHTING, not only that this add more value to your organisation, but also to your CLIENTS. 

Contributed by:

Vincent Yap is a PEP Facilitator with PEPWorldwide Asia Pte. Ltd. He has over 15 years of experience in directing and managing multi-million US Dollars projects in Oil & Gas and Power Generation Industries. He was a Senior Manager with one of the largest Oil & Gas Service Provider in the world, planning and executing concurrent projects in Asia Pacific. In less than four years, Vincent had built a team of four to eighty professional staff, operating in various project locations. Vincent holds a Bachelor Degree in Mechanical Engineering (Class 1 Honors) and registered with both Board of Engineers Malaysia and The Institution of Engineers Malaysia.