“Determination will conquer any obstacle!”
Paul Combs, hits the nail right on the head!
The great motivational speaker and business pitchman Zig Ziglar was quoted: “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”
How would that apply to us in emergency management?
Why is Bathing Like Motivation??? I’m glad you asked that question.
The point, I believe, that Ziglar was trying to make is that you cannot go long without a bath or personal hygiene; and that motivation is just as necessary. It is a constant that needs to be in our lives. But still, how does that correlate to those of us in Emergency Response?
Of the countless people who take on various leadership roles in the fire service, how many encounter resistance to their attempts to lead or even hostility, jealousy or unfriendliness. How many find the transition to company officer challenging to say the least? If, being a leader turns out to be a bad experience it is almost always because of the officers own ineffectiveness. The purpose of this presentation is to show you what special skills and methods you must learn to use today’s “model” of effective company officer leadership.
A 29-year public safety veteran, Steven Orusa is the Fire Chief for the Fishers Fire Department. He has a bachelor of science in Law Enforcement Administration and his graduate work is in Human Resource Management. He is a published author and is a frequently invited speaker on public safety leadership and development techniques. He has provided analysis on public safety response for USA Today, Fire Chief Magazine, Fire Engineering Magazine, and has also appeared on BBC, MSNBC, Fox News and CNN to provide expert analysis on disaster response.
A few years back, I had a great opportunity, during one of our planning sessions, to take notice of a particular “world” view held by a facilitator. The session was an emergency management development group. It was sponsored by a dear friend and was facilitated by two other individuals. These persons were not from our agency or group. They were not familiar with its culture and underpinnings. They led us on different approaches to arrive at some of the decisions that we had to make. That was the great part! I like learning new methods and challenging some ideas that may have outlived their usefulness.
However, the not-so-great part was that, as the days went on, I got a sense that one of the facilitators may have been harboring a little negative, possibly condescending, attitude. It was noticeable, in his comments and gestures. I tried to shake it, because anyone can have a bad day (theirs or yours). First impressions, although are usually “spot on”, can sometimes be misleads. You have to give presenters a chance. People who make presentations to others know that you have to warm up the room, get a read and then proceed. You may have to change methods, tactics and directions to get your room to “buy-in”. But I digress! Okay, this guy bothered me. The feeling I had just wouldn’t go away. As the days went on into multiphase sessions, that sense increased. I thought, “Hey, this guy doesn’t know us.”.
Then, it happened: One of my colleagues made a suggestion. It was a great idea, by the way. It was based on sound past practices. It seemed feasible. It was succinct. But the response from the facilitator was, “Well, you’re just not an “Out-of-the-Box thinker”. I then saw my colleague retreat and shut down.
You’re just not an out of the box thinker? I thought to myself; the way that statement was delivered was condescending. It seemed as if he was saying to the person, “You’re not that creative”, ; “You’re not that bright!, “You’re not intelligent enough.”, “You’re not that flexible.” You’re rigid. You don’t know what we know. YOU’RE NOT THINKING! I took umbrage to that and I didn’t like it either. 😉
When you tell someone that they’re not an out-of-the-box thinker, it shouldn’t be a negative.
I find that “Box” and “Out-of-the-box” thinkers are both needed in planning situations and emergency management. In our day-to-day situations, Box Thinkers are very clear on their roles and responsibilities. They are clear on the “space” they occupy. They can prove to be invaluable, under many circumstances. They have full knowledge of their position in the organization and are detail oriented.
If you’re going to be a “Box Thinker”, though, be sure to handle everything within the box.
I know it may seem like an abstract analogy but follow me for a little while. Be clear on where your box fits into the entire operation. Know the relationship and responsibilities that your box has to the other boxes adjacent to, below and above your box.
EXAMPLE: If you’re a company officer and your “box” is being on the Ladder Company; “Handle everything within your box! If your task, that day, is to perform search & rescue then handle everything in your box! If you’re assigned to be the supervisor, on the third floor or division three of the building, then you are responsible for everything within that box. Fire suppression, search and rescue, ventilation, salvage, pre-&post- control overhaul, etc. Know the authority, resources and tools that are necessary for the box, completely. If your box is ventilation; then you should know everything there is to know about Ventilation: positive pressure, negative pressure, hydraulic, mechanical, natural, vertical, horizontal. You need to know when to apply what and at what appropriate time. Handle everything within that box.
When you’re an out-of-the-box thinker it means that you have the ability or the wherewithal to step outside of the norm; or you just decided to think of things in a different way. That doesn’t make you a better thinker than the people who do think within the box.
EXAMPLE: If your box is OPERATIONS, at an incident, and you are the Operations Section Chief…handle everything within your box. Assign the necessary tasks, establish the correct groups, place them in and on the proper divisions. Call up the appropriate resources. Provide for accountability and safety measures. Monitor progress. Be clear on your communications, directions and requests. Staff all required positions. Use checklists. And…and…and…
MASTER YOUR BOX!
Additionally, to be an “Out-of-the-box” thinker means that you can take the conventional methods, the tried and true methods and apply them in a different way. You may have the ability not use the conventional methods at all and still realize a successful outcome. You know the standards. You just look at the situation in a different way. You may want to come up with a different or alternative means to perform the same task. You may very well look at things completely different.
In Emergency Management, when you think outside of the box you are still utilizing box thinking to formulate your idea. You have to. Think of it as a Stringed Quartet vs. a Jazz Quartet. It’s still music. One is very structured and the other more improvisational and yet they still utilize some of the same instruments, chords and notes to produce the final sound that they desire. It can even be the same song or piece of music. Very often the stringed quartet can make improvisations or perform different interpretations to the classical pieces.
“Out-of-the-Box thinking” is no greater than “Box thinking”, when it’s done completely. It just means that we have different approaches to achieving a successful outcome..
I think they’re both great and I that any individual can possess both characteristics of a “Box or Out-of-the-Box thinker.
Which one are you and why do you think so?
What’s your take???
by John Alston
expanded podcast online…
As a Managing Officer Program student, you will build on foundational management and technical competencies, learning to address issues of interpersonal and cultural sensitivity, professional ethics, and outcome-based performance. On completion of the program, you will:
A certificate of completion for the Managing Officer Program is awarded after the successful completion of all courses and the capstone project.
The selection criteria for the Managing Officer Program are based on service and academic requirements.
At the time of application, you must be in a rank/position that meets either the Training or Experience requirements below. Your chief (or equivalent in nonfire organizations) verifies this training and experience through his or her signature on the application.
You should have a strong course completion background and have received training that has exposed you to more than just local requirements, such as regional and state training with responders from other jurisdictions.
This training can be demonstrated in one of many forms, which may include, but not be limited to, the following:
You must have experience as a supervising officer (such as fire operations, prevention, technical rescue, administration or EMS), which could include equivalent time as an “acting officer.”
To be considered for the Managing Officer Program, you must have:
Earned an associate degree from an accredited institution of higher education.
Earned a minimum of 60 college credit hours (or equivalent quarter-hours) toward the completion of a bachelor’s degree at an accredited institution of higher education.
In addition, you need to pass these courses before applying (available both locally and online through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the NFA):
You may submit an application package at any time during the year, but not later than Dec. 15. The first sessions of the Managing Officer Program will be offered in April and August of 2015. Students who apply by Dec. 15, 2014 will be selected for one of the 2015 sessions or a session offered in 2016 at a date to be determined.
To apply, submit the following:
Prior to Oct. 1, 2017, you may take prerequisite courses before, during and after the NFA on-campus first and second year program. Starting Oct. 1, 2017, prerequisite courses must be completed before beginning the on-campus program.
Select a course code below to see the course description.
|Prerequisites||First-year on-campus courses||Second-year on-campus courses|
|“Introduction to Emergency Response to Terrorism” (Q0890)||“Applications of Community Risk Reduction” (R0385)||“Contemporary Training Concepts for Fire and EMS” (R0386)|
|“Leadership I for Fire and EMS: Strategies for Company Success” (F0803 or W0803)||“Transitional Safety Leadership” (R0384)||“Analytical Tools for Decision-Making” (R0387)|
|“Leadership II for Fire and EMS: Strategies for Personal Success” (F0804 or W0804)|
|“Leadership III for Fire and EMS: Strategies for Supervisory Success” (F0805 or W0805)|
|“Shaping the Future” (F0602 or W0602)|
The Managing Officer Program Capstone Project allows you to apply concepts learned in the program toward the solution of a problem in your home district.
You and the chief of your department (or equivalent in nonfire organizations) must meet to identify a problem and its scope and limitations. The scope of the project should be appropriate to your responsibilities and duties in the organization, and it should be appropriate to the Managing Officer Program. Possible subjects include:
Before initiating the project, you must submit a letter from your chief indicating the title of the project, projected outcomes, how it will be evaluated or measured, and approval for the project to go forward. When the project is completed, your chief must submit a letter indicating that it was completed successfully.