Thursday, June 3, 2010
I am sure that you have heard that fire service organizations need to look and move forward rather than looking back at least one time in your career. With this thought we must recognize that to change we must change the way we think about an item or a process. Rather than being held back by resistance to change, closed mindedness, rigidity in our thinking and the love for status quo, we must recognize that change is going to occur anyway. In outstanding organizations individuals recognize this concept and embrace change.
Given the the constant, organic and inevitable dynamics of change, we would be remorse tho think that what worked yesterday would work today or even more prominent would work tomorrow. The reality is if a strategy and tactic is working today, the changes are it will not be applicable or work in the future. We are just experiencing too much change in or world especially in the fire service for it to be any other way. Building construction design and materials is just one of the examples that comes to mind.
Many fire service departments and organizations across the world talk about "best practices". This is an outstanding concept if there is not change because these practices may become non-applicable very quickly in one part of the world when it is still applicable in another. The fire service should be embracing "best thinking". Best thinking takes all of the information, education, training and vicarious learning and combines it into knowledge which drives our actions. This becomes our best practice on that particular incident. We need to focus on this concept instead of a cookie cutter approach especially when we are developing and training our officers for strategy and tactics.
Rather than having a fear of change, we need to see change as a good thing and embrace it. Outstanding and proactive organizations see change as necessary and exciting. They understand that even though there is often a decrease in the level of comfort and pain associated with change they recognize that it is far less painful and uncomfortable to change in small doses each day than to have to change all at once or even no change at all. So these organizations that are on the proactive side not only accept and adapt to change, they also go the extra step of accelerating change. Simply put outstanding organizations take charge of the change by changing themselves first because the recognize the fact that if they don't precipitate this change change will happen to them and if that happens it is too late, they have lost control and if that happens it might just be too late.
We all know that change is difficult and many people struggle with change. "Managing Transitions" by William Bridges is an excellent book to read if you are trying to precipitate change and meeting resistance by your people. For nostalgia..."An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".