Sometimes we just do stupid things as leaders: 5 things to consider before blowing up a whale with TNT!

Sometimes as leaders we see a problem and choose to go ballistic, or use many pounds of TNT such as is the case in the hilarious newsreel of a whale being blown up shown above.  What where they thinking?  The problem is that they weren’t.

The problem of moving tons of dead whale seemed daunting.  Really, all they thought about was getting rid of the whale, not anything else.  So, when facing a problem to solve in leadership, here is a list of things to consider:

  1. Don’t think moving your problem is solving your problem.  The whale on that Oregon beach was pretty stinky.  But, moving that stink in the form of millions of peices of blubber did not seem like solving anything.  Giving your problem to someone else is not solving your problem.
  2. Making your problem smaller, does not make it go away. Uhmm.  Remember that pieces of a whale can still be pretty big.  That poor car smashed a quarter mile away did not think you were reducing the size of the problem.  You have to address the scale of your issue. If it is a big issue, it will cause a big mess to fix.  Are you ready for that?
  3. Eskimos use knives on whales to transport them, not TNT–overkill is ridiculous! The shotgun approach means you are not thinking.  A sniper approach means you prepare.  Any Eskimo could cut that whale up with a large enough and sharp enough knife, right?  Is your strategy or tactic an overkill?
  4. Exploding a whale is fun, but is it practical?  Often, we as leaders like the buzz of the cool or latest thing, never counting the cost of the cascading consequences of our decisions.  Strategic thinking means we think.  Hmmm.
  5. Leaving the whale alone might be the best choice after all. Sometimes, the best choice is to let the whale rot.  It might be big, but eventually a big storm will come and wash it away…or not.

What are your thoughts or points from the leadership lessons of an exploding whale?

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Rich Kirkpatrick

Rich Kirkpatrick

Writer, Speaker, and Musician. Rich Kirkpatrick was recently rated #13 of the “Top 75 Religion Bloggers” by Newsmax.com, having also received recognition by Worship Leader Magazine as “Editor’s Choice” for the “Best of the Best” of blogs in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

48 comments

  1. Great analogy Rich! What goes up must come down. The trouble is that in life, most people WAIT to deal with a problem until it literally spirals out of control and “blows up”. Be it a marriage in conflict, an addiction, financial crisis, a teenager with issues, church matters, you name it. They don’t think it’s really “that big” of a deal with when it just stinks a little (affecting themself) versus stinking a LOT (hurting their family, friends, co-workers). I think the real lesson here is to start thinking of a plan for “clean up” before it explodes. So the question I am asking myself right now, is ‘what stinks’ in my life?

  2. Great analogy Rich! What goes up must come down. The trouble is that in life, most people WAIT to deal with a problem until it literally spirals out of control and “blows up”. Be it a marriage in conflict, an addiction, financial crisis, a teenager with issues, church matters, you name it. They don’t think it’s really “that big” of a deal with when it just stinks a little (affecting themself) versus stinking a LOT (hurting their family, friends, co-workers). I think the real lesson here is to start thinking of a plan for “clean up” before it explodes. So the question I am asking myself right now, is ‘what stinks’ in my life?

  3. Great analogy Rich! What goes up must come down. The trouble is that in life, most people WAIT to deal with a problem until it literally spirals out of control and “blows up”. Be it a marriage in conflict, an addiction, financial crisis, a teenager with issues, church matters, you name it. They don’t think it’s really “that big” of a deal with when it just stinks a little (affecting themself) versus stinking a LOT (hurting their family, friends, co-workers). I think the real lesson here is to start thinking of a plan for “clean up” before it explodes. So the question I am asking myself right now, is ‘what stinks’ in my life?

  4. Great analogy Rich! What goes up must come down. The trouble is that in life, most people WAIT to deal with a problem until it literally spirals out of control and “blows up”. Be it a marriage in conflict, an addiction, financial crisis, a teenager with issues, church matters, you name it. They don’t think it’s really “that big” of a deal with when it just stinks a little (affecting themself) versus stinking a LOT (hurting their family, friends, co-workers). I think the real lesson here is to start thinking of a plan for “clean up” before it explodes. So the question I am asking myself right now, is ‘what stinks’ in my life?

  5. Bobby,
    Well, blowing up a whale is pretty myopic thinking… letting nature take its course sometimes is a good choice. You can forget #5 if you actually have done 1-4 perhaps and planned for all that might happen. When as a leader your issues are as large as a whale, the humility of the scale of it means simply thinking through the ramifications otherwise blubber everywhere!

    RK

  6. Bobby,
    Well, blowing up a whale is pretty myopic thinking… letting nature take its course sometimes is a good choice. You can forget #5 if you actually have done 1-4 perhaps and planned for all that might happen. When as a leader your issues are as large as a whale, the humility of the scale of it means simply thinking through the ramifications otherwise blubber everywhere!

    RK

  7. Bobby,
    Well, blowing up a whale is pretty myopic thinking… letting nature take its course sometimes is a good choice. You can forget #5 if you actually have done 1-4 perhaps and planned for all that might happen. When as a leader your issues are as large as a whale, the humility of the scale of it means simply thinking through the ramifications otherwise blubber everywhere!

    RK

  8. Bobby,
    Well, blowing up a whale is pretty myopic thinking… letting nature take its course sometimes is a good choice. You can forget #5 if you actually have done 1-4 perhaps and planned for all that might happen. When as a leader your issues are as large as a whale, the humility of the scale of it means simply thinking through the ramifications otherwise blubber everywhere!

    RK

  9. I am constantly amazed at how much more trouble we get into with our lack of patience and desire to control natural outcomes combined with thinking that we know how to control nature. I wonder when we’re going to understand that we don’t.

  10. I am constantly amazed at how much more trouble we get into with our lack of patience and desire to control natural outcomes combined with thinking that we know how to control nature. I wonder when we’re going to understand that we don’t.

  11. I am constantly amazed at how much more trouble we get into with our lack of patience and desire to control natural outcomes combined with thinking that we know how to control nature. I wonder when we’re going to understand that we don’t.

  12. I am constantly amazed at how much more trouble we get into with our lack of patience and desire to control natural outcomes combined with thinking that we know how to control nature. I wonder when we’re going to understand that we don’t.

  13. 2 thoughts.
    First, I love the post and thoughts, but not sure I agree with the fifth one. I’ve seen too many whales left to rot because leaders didn’t want to address the problem. On occasion the tide might take it away, but more often it just rots away, smells worse and worse, creates complaints, and just attracts more vermon to the area that end up causing you a bigger problem than you began with.

    The other lesson I’d add is exactly what the commentator shared at the end. Blow up the whale and cause a bigger problem, well at least you tried something. You were creative and you can learn from the mistake. If next time a whale washes up, you try to blow it up again, just using a different explosive, then you’re an idiot.

  14. 2 thoughts.
    First, I love the post and thoughts, but not sure I agree with the fifth one. I’ve seen too many whales left to rot because leaders didn’t want to address the problem. On occasion the tide might take it away, but more often it just rots away, smells worse and worse, creates complaints, and just attracts more vermon to the area that end up causing you a bigger problem than you began with.

    The other lesson I’d add is exactly what the commentator shared at the end. Blow up the whale and cause a bigger problem, well at least you tried something. You were creative and you can learn from the mistake. If next time a whale washes up, you try to blow it up again, just using a different explosive, then you’re an idiot.

  15. 2 thoughts.
    First, I love the post and thoughts, but not sure I agree with the fifth one. I’ve seen too many whales left to rot because leaders didn’t want to address the problem. On occasion the tide might take it away, but more often it just rots away, smells worse and worse, creates complaints, and just attracts more vermon to the area that end up causing you a bigger problem than you began with.

    The other lesson I’d add is exactly what the commentator shared at the end. Blow up the whale and cause a bigger problem, well at least you tried something. You were creative and you can learn from the mistake. If next time a whale washes up, you try to blow it up again, just using a different explosive, then you’re an idiot.

  16. 2 thoughts.
    First, I love the post and thoughts, but not sure I agree with the fifth one. I’ve seen too many whales left to rot because leaders didn’t want to address the problem. On occasion the tide might take it away, but more often it just rots away, smells worse and worse, creates complaints, and just attracts more vermon to the area that end up causing you a bigger problem than you began with.

    The other lesson I’d add is exactly what the commentator shared at the end. Blow up the whale and cause a bigger problem, well at least you tried something. You were creative and you can learn from the mistake. If next time a whale washes up, you try to blow it up again, just using a different explosive, then you’re an idiot.

  17. I’m wondering what people would write on their auto insurance claim forms? “Car was damaged by falling whale blubber as a result of people filling a beached whale with a truck-load of dynamite.”
    Yeah, like their likely to believe that!

  18. I’m wondering what people would write on their auto insurance claim forms? “Car was damaged by falling whale blubber as a result of people filling a beached whale with a truck-load of dynamite.”
    Yeah, like their likely to believe that!

  19. I’m wondering what people would write on their auto insurance claim forms? “Car was damaged by falling whale blubber as a result of people filling a beached whale with a truck-load of dynamite.”
    Yeah, like their likely to believe that!

  20. I’m wondering what people would write on their auto insurance claim forms? “Car was damaged by falling whale blubber as a result of people filling a beached whale with a truck-load of dynamite.”
    Yeah, like their likely to believe that!

  21. probably still one of the top 5 news stories in the oregon from the past 50 years.

  22. probably still one of the top 5 news stories in the oregon from the past 50 years.

  23. probably still one of the top 5 news stories in the oregon from the past 50 years.

  24. probably still one of the top 5 news stories in the oregon from the past 50 years.

  25. that was an awesome video..
    great insight also..

    that is a tough lesson… dividing a problem can be helpful if it is divided among others to work it out.

    leaving it to rot could have an effect as well…nobody goes to the beach

  26. that was an awesome video..
    great insight also..

    that is a tough lesson… dividing a problem can be helpful if it is divided among others to work it out.

    leaving it to rot could have an effect as well…nobody goes to the beach

  27. that was an awesome video..
    great insight also..

    that is a tough lesson… dividing a problem can be helpful if it is divided among others to work it out.

    leaving it to rot could have an effect as well…nobody goes to the beach

  28. that was an awesome video..
    great insight also..

    that is a tough lesson… dividing a problem can be helpful if it is divided among others to work it out.

    leaving it to rot could have an effect as well…nobody goes to the beach

  29. Ouch…its like an episode of Mythbusters gone horribly wrong!

  30. Ouch…its like an episode of Mythbusters gone horribly wrong!

  31. Ouch…its like an episode of Mythbusters gone horribly wrong!

  32. Ouch…its like an episode of Mythbusters gone horribly wrong!

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