Monday, November 23, 2009

Getting on the Wall - Part 1

Some Individuals would look at a pile of rubble and say “what a mess” while others will look at the same pile and say “what an opportunity”. Which one of these individuals would you want leading the fire department in your community? Most would say the one who has a vision of what that “mess” could be. I recently had the opportunity to spend some time in the great State of Vermont training with a group of outstanding emergency services professionals in. What a breath of fresh air. The amount of energy that was delivered to my starving body was incredible from spending just 48 hours with such great fire service leaders. I was able to see 50 years of leadership that was still going strong. That’s right; the fire chief of Vergennes Fire Department has been the Chief for 50 years. The best part is he still looks at everything in a progress, proactive philosophy of saying “look at that opportunity”.

As leaders of the fire service we must look at opportunities with vision. We must be able to decode the “mess” into “opportunity”. It is paramount that we focus on the concepts that it shouldn’t be this way, but we can make it something else. These are truly hectic times we live in. Times that can challenge even a seasoned leader.

A successful leader must have a clear and well defined vision of where the organization is going. Through outstanding mentors like John Leahy, Harry Carter, Robert Flemming, Daniel B. C. Gardner, Dan Jones, Christopher Naum and many other fire service leaders this same concept of vision; I was taught to see the opportunities in everything you come in contact with, rather than the mess.

Vision is in direct proportion to accomplishment. The more a leader can envision, the more the organization can accomplish. Phoenix Fire Department is the fire service leader it is today because of the vision of a great group of leaders guided by one of the greatest fire service leaders of all time, Alan Brunacini. So much of what the fire service practices today came from the vision that was created by a few leaders. It is important to remember that no vision is too awesome. It is important to remember that you should always strive for the highest possible dream. In doing so it is much better to fall a little short of that vision than to set the vision low and make it. Many changes in the fire service have come from leaders who have set the compass on a course for a vision only to fall short of that true vision but still accomplishing mush more. I am sure that Chief Ralph Jackman of the Vergennes Fire Department over his 50 years has fallen short of several visions, but I honestly know that a lot has been accomplished through having a well defined vision.

I would ask the folks who are sitting around The Kitchen Table, what is your vision and the vision of your department?

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3 comments:

  1. Hello Douglas, welcome to the site.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The one man's mess is another man's opportunity is sorta like one man's junk is another man's treasure.

    The new Fire Chiefs take on the outgoing Fire Chief's mess all the time. It's the challenge that keep them in the game, not the routine task. If this is not true, why do you see proactive Fire Chief's changing job every three to five years? They have got rid of the dead branches, accomplished their goals, and moved on.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The one man's mess is another man's opportunity is sorta like one man's junk is another man's treasure.

    The new Fire Chiefs take on the outgoing Fire Chief's mess all the time. It's the challenge that keep them in the game, not the routine task. If this is not true, why do you see proactive Fire Chief's changing job every three to five years? They have got rid of the dead branches, accomplished their goals, and moved on.

    ReplyDelete

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