Grenade! How does your team handle emergencies?

June 13, 2013

How does your team handle emergencies?

At a networking event recently, a friend asked, “How do you get an entire platoon of Marines to stop dead in their tracks with a single word?” He is a Marine, so he knew the answer from personal experience. It’s not “Platoon, halt!” he said, since that’s two words.  “Stop!” while being one word might cause some to wonder why.  “Grenade!” on the other hand, calls for immediate action; everybody is trained to hit the ground without asking questions.

Before surgeons begin an incision, every person in the operating room stops (no need to yell “grenade”) and they confirm the patient and the procedure. This simple pause has prevented many awful mistakes. It helps, too, that long before the patient arrived at the operating room, the surgeon placed an “X” and his/her initials on the surgical site.

As a leader, you likely won’t have to worry about grenades or performing surgery, but it’s important for you to be able to get your team to stop and, time permitting, pause and reflect.

Instruct your team how to announce and act in emergencies (grenades), and how to prevent emergencies from happening (surgery on the wrong patient). You should be able to say one word and get them to stop what they’re doing.

How does your team handle emergencies?

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