Working with Captain Whirlwind

Captain Whirlwind

You know the sort, you’ve received an email that on the face of it is quite simple but it might require a bit of thought and discussion and input from others.  But not Captain Whirlwind – they’ve already forwarded it on to someone else, asked them to reply and moved on.

The problem is the person asked you the question, they want a full and measured approach but instead they are going to get a phone call from a colleague who’s been told to call them, doesn’t have all the back ground and can’t actually answer the questions on your behalf without speaking to you.

So that colleague now either calls  the original questioner who has to re-ask the question and wonder why two people in the same department don’t speak with each other. Or they call you to follow up (hopefully).  Either way work is created and potentially duplicated in an effort to respond quickly and move on.

Captain Whirlwind meanwhile has moved on to the next emergency – the next call they can make quickly and the next thing they can fix.  The challenge is if you’re always moving at whirlwind speed you might not always hear the full story, consider the full picture.  In their desire to please everyone, find a solution and ‘get things don’t they often leave behind a bit of chaos and destruction; leaving colleagues to pick up the pieces.

Captain Whirlwind is often seen as a hero – they are a do’er, they get things done, rarely say no and if ever challenged will (legitimately) say I was only trying to help.

Working alongside Captain Whirlwind can be exhausting and frustrating.  I also want to help, want to find solutions and get things done.  But at the same time I want to do no harm.  I want to respect the time and input of those around me and consider the impact of my action on others.  Maybe I’m a little too collaborative.  Maybe I worry too much about the perception if we are constantly playing catch up or as a team look like we don’t even wear the same jersey let alone read the same playbook.

So I count to ten, I take a breath and I try to slow the Whirlwind down, not stop them…their energy and passion to get things done are great in many situations and I want to help them be successful but not at any cost.

A little wind to blow the sails and move us along is awesome – but I hate it when my team and colleagues (and lets be honest when I) find ourselves shaking our heads and wonder how it is that we’re not in Kansas any more.