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Blown out of all Proportion

Optimize Blog - May 25, 2011 - 0 comments

Steven McCormack is a lucky fellow indeed. A trucker from New Zealand, Mr McCormack is currently recovering in a local hospital after having been blown up. Literally.
To provide a bit more detail here, we don’t mean blown up by a bomb or other type of explosion… but by compressed air. Steve was going about his normal trucker business when he fell between the cab of his truck and the trailer he was pulling, severing an air hose which promptly inserted itself into one of his buttocks! Ouch…
As a result of the 100lbs per square foot of compressed air being pumped into his body he literally began to blow up like a balloon. Doctors were amazed that his skin had not burst because fat had become separated from muscle. “I felt the air rush into my body and I felt like it was going to explode from my foot.”
“I was blowing up like a football… it felt like I had the bends, like in diving. I had no choice but just to lay there, blowing up like a balloon,” he told the local newspaper, the Whakatane Beacon. He said his skin feels “like a pork roast”, hard and crackly on the outside but soft underneath.
Three colleagues managed to rescue the trucker, lifting him off the brass nozzle, laying him in the recovery position and packing his swollen neck with ice. Doctors inserted a tube into his lungs to drain a build up of fluid and cleared the wound in his buttock using what felt to him like a drill. “That was the most painful part,” Mr McCormack said. Ouch again.
Now, as we considered this rather strange tale of the expanding man, we thought about proportion and context. Something we need to consider often – the ability to keep what is happening around us in proportion and to maintain a sense of context.
As leaders we need to bring this context to situations where events are rapidly getting out of hand or are ‘being blown out of proportion’… especially if, from time to time, our team members lose this sense proportion resulting in a bunch of mountains which really should have remained as molehills. Looking at this from an employee’s perspective, which type of leader would you prefer to work for? One who loses their cool under pressure or one who is under control and is able to provide wise guidance? We will assume, the latter.
Ensuring that the issue remains in context and in proportion is essential in navigating difficult situations and keeping those around you calm and focused when pressure mounts. By keeping situations in perspective and in proportion, an equally proportioned response can be made. If the event gets out of proportion then no doubt an equally disproportionate response will materialize and with all the collateral damage that this would entail.
We’ll leave you with this update from the balloon man in New Zealand who apparently is now well and truly back in proportion. Mr McCormack confided to reporters that the air was gradually escaping his body in the way that air usually does… We are still debating what his new nickname might be…

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