The Problem Solving Arsonist


People will follow leaders who stay steady in the turbulence and work with them to create new answers, new plans, and a new future.

Whatever you do, don’t slip into what I call the “arsonist’s response to chaos.”

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that firefighters in Genoa, Texas, were accused of deliberately setting more than forty destructive fires. When caught, they stated, “We had nothing to do. We just wanted to see the red lights flashing and the bells clanging.”

Do you know any leaders who intentionally start “fires” [A.K.A., create unnecessary chaos] so they can get the “red lights flashing and hear the sirens”?

Leaders in one of my client organizations proudly call themselves “firefighters.” They are proud of the fact that they are good at hosing down crisis. But when they were asked, “Is it possible you might also be arsonists?” it caused a great deal of reflection within the company.

The goal is a creative, steady productivity—not an out-of-control environment that squanders energy and resources on crisis management.

Are you an arsonist? Do you crave hearing the bells and sirens? Or do you choose to bring calm and productive creativity to challenges?


One Response to “The Problem Solving Arsonist”

  1. As a pastor I can easily fall into this trap. We can become too proud of putting out fires and be unaware of our tendency to start them in the first place. Leading by Wisdom is the key – John 15:5 says that apart from Christ we can do nothing. We need to depend on His wisdom to keep from starting fires that don’t need to be lit.

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