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One Problem at a Time

Last week I had a small accident that left me hindered for a few days as I was recovering, and due to the nature of the injury, I had to lie down on my side. I took this time to catch up on reading and watched some TV as wasn’t really in a position to do much more over the weekend.

While all this was happening, I was thinking to myself; I don’t need this, I have enough problems that I need to sort out. It was while I was thinking this that on the TV I heard the term “One problem at a time”. That quote reminded me of an incident that I was told about from Operation Eagle Claw on 24 April 1980.

Operation Eagle Claw was the failed attempted rescue of hostages in the US Embassy in Tehran. Frank MacAlyster, a member of the US Delta Force at the time, was asleep in the C-130 Hercules aircraft which was parked when a helicopter crashed into it. Frank woke up surrounded by flames and smoke, thinking that the plane was still in the air, he decided that the best course of action was to jump out of the plane, which he did with no parachute.

When asked a few days later what he was going to do once he was out of the plane without a parachute, Frank replied,

“One problem at a time Sarge, one problem at a time”

Today, with the COVID19 pandemic, industries are being disrupted, people are losing their jobs and, we all need to change our perspective to not only solving “one problem at a time”, but also to the mindset of “this too shall pass”.

With everything that is going on, it is easy to lose sight of the big picture and focus on the immediate problem, as we saw in the earlier example, but this needs to put into context that what we are facing today shall pass and is a temporary condition.

I had seen this when I was in Australia with the Mining Sector, which only has two states, Boom or Bust. During the boom period, everyone is so busy trying to maximise production output and stretch resources to take advantage of the situation; there is no time for anything else. When it is in the bust period, it is about shutting down mines, retrenching staff and cutting costs. While some of this may be necessary for the longevity of the business, it is during these quiet times, that critical work on systems and processes should be undertaken in preparation for the next boom.

Together we will get through this. Stay strong and healthy, and if you are struggling as to how you can solve a problem, we are here to help.

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