Sunday, February 14, 2010

Why Be Different

Across the world I bet if you sat around the table, on the tailboard of an apparatus or at any conference you would hear some folks that are talking about how “Boogered up” their department is. So what do you do when your department is “Boogered up”? The important component is to look in the mirror first and see if you are part of the problem. That’s right; I put the blame on you. Why? Well you are part of the department and most often we have a contribution to everything that occurs in the department at some level. So are you contributing to the “Boogering up” of the department?

Let the Department clarify our motive
Let each individual in the department examine themselves thoroughly and know their hearts. With that we mean are we following the mission of the department or are we working to meet your personal mission. Remember there is no “I” in team, so if you are more focused on your own mission than the departments, then you are making a major contribution to the “Boogering up” of the department. With this we also need to look at this from both sides especially if you are an officer. I question you folks to look and see if you are servicing both customers; the public and the troops.

Often you will see individuals who make the officer level forget where they came from. It is important that you serve both sets of customers. So bottom line is if we get in tune with what the mission of the department and the strategic plan of the Fire Chief then everyone will have ample opportunity to most often meet both the mission of the department and their own mission. This is possible because most times these have many similar aspirations if you just really look at them.
Continue Reading Why Be Different

Purify our thinking
In getting focused on the mission of the department you will see that the “Boogering” will just blow away. To do this the department needs to have pure thinking for the department and not the individuals in the department. By focusing on the good of the community we will again go back to focus on the mission. This is something that leaders must do every day. As we talk the talk we must also walk the walk. The troops can see past the transparent membranes we try to hide behind as officers. If we focus on being pure of heart we will see the focus from the troops will come in line. Community relations are a big job, too big for a single person to handle. It will require the efforts of every member of your team to make this a successful venture. Of course it starts with you as the leader. As the leader you must sell this concept to the group of people who deal with the community on a daily basis, the emergency responders. During their work delivering emergency services they must execute the plan. I know you are asking 'what plan?'.

The plan is what you want to accomplish in gaining community support. One of the more common theories that I heard recently at a conference made perfect sense. As an emergency services department you must make yourself so desirable that it would be political suicide for the governing agency not to give you what you want because the community would be upset. For this concept to work each individual of the department must buy into this concept of community support.

To think correctly as a leader you have to have to be honest with yourself and everyone else involved.

So why be different from your peers?
• We are the fire service. So we need to be contributing positively rather than negatively.
• Your peers are watching. Your peer are watching you and most likely following your lead.
• Time is short. We only get one opportunity to make a first impression. We may get multiple opportunities to influence your peers daily.

If being different were a crime would there be enough evidence to convict you?
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  1. I respect your writing, and the fact that you put an opinion out there....however I just dont agree. 90% of firefighter love coming to work and doing the job. Were the problems stypically exist is when the upper management messes it up either through shot gun reactions, senseless rule changes, or mistreatment of their employees. For example we have a Chief in my department that is more worried about bay doors being open than doing the job. We had 2 multi alarm fires in a day and he never said word one about either of those...but the second you go ona call and leave the bay door open hes all over that. I knew a chief from a neighboring FD that carried walmart applications in his chiefs buggy and when someone would complain to him about something he didnt like he would hand them on stating "if you dont like working here walmarts hiring".

    Most of the problem is simple these guys have forgetten where they cam from or they never came from there in the first place. A company officer I respect always was comvinced that the problem with the FD was that "the people in charge were never in charge of the mop in the fire station first" The problem in my FD I think goes a little futher. Our chiefs havent been on the line since the 70's back before we ran EMS or the substantial call load we do now, yet they still try and operate the "old way"

    Again I just disagree with your assesment of it being "all a positive state of mind" There is alot more to it than that.

  2. Your point is well taken. I do address both sides of the fence and it sounds as if some chiefs need to re-evaluate their position from a perspective of passion verse ego power.

    As the author my intent was to get everyone on the patch of being on the same page no matter their rank. Also to look at serving both sets of customers; internal and external.

    Excellent point my brother!


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