Day 3 of Story Week

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —May 6, 2009
Filed in Anecdotes, Business storytelling, Leadership Posts

Many thanks to everyone who has contributed to Story Week so far. Continuing with our theme of “leadership”, today we are featuring a story from Dr Fiona Wood, who was recognised as “Australian of the Year” for her work after the Bali Bombings. And we’d still like to hear your ideas for Friday’s story.

When I saw the burns patients and I saw that we needed something radical to actually cover these large areas, that had to be more… They had to be smarter than traditional split-thickness skin grafting. We had to be able to do this better. And that was, I guess, the gauntlet that I threw down to myself. On the Sunday morning after the Bali bombing I got a call from the registrar, who is a very close friend of my senior registrar, who actually on Saturday had left for his holiday to Bali. Our first patients arrived in the early hours of the morning and they were the most severe patients, the most severely injured. And my overwhelming memory of that is the relief on their faces as they arrived at Royal Perth and spoke to us just before they were incubated for ventilation and for the treatment to commence, that relief on their faces. We were full at the time, so we started putting our disaster plan into action. And as the Sunday developed it became apparent that there was going to be a significant need, not just for the Perth Burns Unit but for the Australian Burns community as a whole. When the Bali bombing situation arose we did in fact deal with 15% of our annual workload in a day, but it’s the sort of situation that we’ve been training for a long period of time and when you’re involved in it and actually active in doing things it’s a very motivating situation because you are able to influence those lives, not always to a positive outcome but we did our best.


About  Shawn Callahan

Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on:

2 Responses to “Day 3 of Story Week”

  1. Coach Carole Says:

    This story was eloquently related and required a focussed reading – much longer and much more complex in content. It conjured up memories of the Bali bombings and visions of the triage at Perth Hospital in disaster zones such as these.
    Knowing that they had a disaster plan was comforting. Its stories like these that emphasise the risk taking of leaders and how they need to function in chaos.

  2. ken Says:

    one of my favourites, it’s a cat video (i know, cliche these days, but it has more views than obama), in two minutes, a nice story, simple…
    for something more topical the NPR edition of this american life on the financial implosion is very well presented, though it’s an hour long…
    Atul Gawande has a wonderful story about CF and ‘telling’ people more information in his 40m talk at Google, also in his book and online…
    can’t wait to see what others have suggested
    p.s. trusting that the suggestions for friday don’t get published as this has little to do with the story above 😉

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