Are You Ready for Some “CHAOS”?

I throw out that challenge in much the same way Hank Williams Jr. invites people to join him for Monday Night Football. The difference is simple — his viewers have a choice as to whether they participate.

If you haven’t noticed, CHAOS has not only arrived, it’s been here for a while now, and it doesn’t appear to have any intention of diminishing its intensity.

Glance at a recent national newspaper or magazine, and you’ll quickly discover CHAOS in nearly every aspect of our lives … the economy, politics, sports, entertainment, health care, business, education, and even family life. What in the world’s going on? Why so much unexplainable CHAOS in so many different areas at the same time for no justifiable reason? Is it contagious?

In one newspaper today, I found the following examples of CHAOS:

Let’s start with an eye-opener. A B-52 bomber, one of OURS, was mistakenly armed with six nuclear warheads and flown for more than three hours across several states last week, prompting an investigation and the firing of at least one commander. Tell me, how do you load SIX Advanced Cruise Missiles onto a B-52 without someone saying: “Uh, excuse me! Are you sure we’re supposed to be doing this?”

Apple CEO Steve Jobs issued an apology and $100 credits to the multitudes of loyal customers who stood in line for hours and shelled out $599 for the most advanced model of the iPhone. He did so because they just slashed the price by $200! Credits must be used in Apple retail and online stores. When asked why they suddenly slashed the price by such a large amount so soon after its initial release, he simply replied: “That’s what happens in technology.” Guess who won’t be standing in line with a handful of money for the next release? By the way, they’ve already sold over a million iPhone and are projecting 10 million sales within the first year.

In a move that shocked the auto industry, Jim Press, Toyota Motor Corporation’s North American president, was named president and vice chairman of Chrysler LLC — titles he will share with one-time Chrysler Chief Executive Officer Tom LaSorda. It is the second time in the past month that Chrysler, under new ownership, has lured a senior executive from Toyota. Press, 60, spent 37 years at Toyota, most recently as the president and chief operating officer of Toyota Motor North America, the holding company responsible for Toyota’s North American sales, engineering and manufacturing units. You can expect to see some major changes coming out of Detroit in the very near future. Press was reportedly given an unbelievable pay and benefit package to make the move to Chrysler. You can bet expectations were equally as high. Watch for Union reaction to those changes. You can bet GM and Ford will be watching closely. This particular move could mean life or death for Detroit as we know it!

To add to Michigan’s woes, Volkswagen announced plans to relocate its headquarters from the Detroit area to Northern Virginia.

Fliers in the past month filed more complaints with the Department of Transportation about airline service than for any other month in the last SEVEN years!

Mattel announces its THIRD recall of Chinese-made toys that have excessive amounts of lead paint. This time they’re recalling 700,000 toys. This couldn’t happen at a worse time for the world’s leading toy maker. They’re focusing their time, money and resources recalling product at a time when they would usually be stocking stores for the upcoming Christmas season. You know, the season that begins a month before Halloween!

Here’s another shocker. Southwest Airlines, long known for their low prices, recently triggered the nation’s latest fare hikes. They cited higher fuel costs, which obviously affects all airlines. Therefore, you can expect to see additional price increases across the industry in the coming weeks.

Four of the nation’s largest microwave-popcorn makers are working to remove a flavoring chemical from their products because it could be linked to a rare life threatening disease often called “popcorn lung.” You couldn’t make up a story like that.

Have you watched any of the Democratic or Republican television debates? Based on what I’ve seen and heard, you can expect a lot more CHAOS between now and Election Day!

Our “Productive Chaos” program emphasizes the fact that CHAOS has been with us a while now, is not about to go away, and will, more than likely, increase in intensity while presenting itself in new and challenging ways in the months to come. For these critical reasons, we examine various strategies used by organizations from many industries as they attempt to adjust to growing challenges. It’s indeed comforting to note that this has been our most requested seminar topic. Obviously, many organizations have recognized the need to prepare for future challenges.

The cold, harsh reality is quite evident. We, as organizations and individuals, will become either victims or benefactors of the ensuing CHAOS. The choice is ours. Are we prepared to deal with the challenges? Are we providing the tools, strategies, training and experience needed to cope with the changes and resulting confusion that awaits us? Do we view CHAOS as a challenge or an opportunity? Can we actually benefit from the CHAOS by assisting others who are less prepared? Leadership in any organization should certainly be discussing this matter while there is still time to prepare. Think about it. Talk about it. Do something about it.

About Harry K. Jones

Harry K. Jones is a motivational speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a company of professional speakers who provide custom-designed seminars, keynote presentations, and consulting services. Harry's top requested topics include change management, customer service, creativity, employee retention, goal setting, leadership, stress management, teamwork, and time management. For more information on Harry's presentations, please call 800-886-2629 or fill out our contact form.

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