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Warren Cersley's Blog (66)

COMING THROUGH

COMING THROUGH

“If you don’t hustle, I don’t accept it. If a player shows up the club, I show up the player.” Billy Martin.

NY Yankees Coach Billy Martin said this after making a pitching change and sending Paul Blair to right field to replace Reggie Jackson. Boston’s Jim Rice had poked…

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Added by Warren Cersley on September 24, 2017 at 1:29pm — No Comments

COBWEBS, COWARDS AND COWBOYS

Cobwebs, Cowards and Cowboys

“If you never saddled up and entered the arena, your opinion about cowboys lacks matter and merit.” I said that.

I had the privilege recently to hear all of the details of what I consider to be a difficult grab. It was shared first-hand with me because I am…

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Added by Warren Cersley on July 3, 2017 at 11:40am — 1 Comment

PLAYING HUBCAP

PLAYING HUBCAP

I’m thankful for my childhood friends and the lessons we learned together. As I found my way out of high school and into the Fire Department, somehow I ended up hanging out with the same kind of “got your back” kind of special people. I am THANKFUL for every one.

When I…

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Added by Warren Cersley on April 10, 2017 at 2:19pm — No Comments

UPSTAIRS WITH MR. BIBBS

Upstairs with Mr. Bibbs

The cold winds swirled down the cobblestone streets and alleys as if they were always following me, and they caused me to step up my gate and on most dark mornings to hurry past people who seemed better prepared for the elements and in no particular hurry at all.

I could tell that I was poor by the work clothes that I wore and by my shoes that this…

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Added by Warren Cersley on February 5, 2017 at 1:35pm — No Comments

PLAYING DRESS UP

 PLAYING DRESS UP

While participating in a leadership open forum recently, a fellow panel member told the story of a seminar speaker who engaged him about the responsibilities of his job. After rejecting everything that my friend described as his job as being secondary, the speaker told him that his one job, his sole purpose, was to make the Fire Chief of his department look…

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Added by Warren Cersley on January 11, 2017 at 11:34am — No Comments

COMING HOME

COMING HOME

The World War II veteran was coming home. As he walked over a rise near his family home, one of his sisters saw him and yelled out “Harley is home.” The entire family rushed out to meet him. Harley recalled his Father’s tearful words “maybe now we can learn to sleep again.”  

The unrehearsed words of Harley’s Father reminded me of my Father and how he…

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Added by Warren Cersley on December 13, 2016 at 9:57am — No Comments

LEADERSHIP ON A DIRT ROAD

 LEADERSHIP ON A DIRT ROAD

“There ain’t no bumps in that dirt road.”

I say this as a description of Fire Officers who are able to take their situation, their dirt road, and consistently smooth out the bumps, navigate around the mud and continue to advance, and be followed, because of their ability to solve problems with balance, steadiness…

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Added by Warren Cersley on October 23, 2016 at 1:05pm — No Comments

WHAT'S YOUR JOB?

WHAT’S YOUR JOB

Firefighting is a team, action oriented job. It requires well trained people who expect action and prepare accordingly. The exceptional ones who stand out and constantly improve their team, regardless of position or rank, stretch out their imaginations and they do the team things that indicate that they care, they give a hoot, they hustle, they…

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Added by Warren Cersley on August 26, 2016 at 8:00am — 1 Comment

WATCHING INTEREST RATES

WATCHING INTEREST RATES

I am a firm believer that Fire Service performance directly correlates with Fire Service leadership.

Show me a high performance fire company, a highly regarded firehouse, a stand out fire district or an entire fire department that consistently out performs others…

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Added by Warren Cersley on August 3, 2016 at 6:59pm — No Comments

CREDIT OR CREDIBILITY?

Credit or Credibility?

Each of us will have the opportunity to look back on our career and determine whether we earned credibility or if we fell short of that by wasting time seeking personal credit.

I overheard the following conversation a few years ago, as I walked toward a house fire.…

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Added by Warren Cersley on July 18, 2016 at 11:40am — No Comments

MORNING COFFEE

Morning Coffee

“Mama wanted me to be a preacher. I told her coachin’ and preachin’ were a lot alike. Paul “Bear” Bryant. (I would add leadin’ too.)

Every morning as I step outside and enjoy my first cup of fire house coffee at 5 AM, I give thanks for another day and for the good grace that has allowed us all to go home safely to our families. I have done my one and only job…

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Added by Warren Cersley on July 6, 2016 at 9:31am — No Comments

DEVELOPING INSTINCTS

DEVELOPING INSTINCTS

Firefighting is an action business; it is not passive or complacent and it requires decisive, action oriented people, with developed instincts.

I remember being taught to place the lower leg of a rescued child under my armpit before exiting the fire building. By…

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Added by Warren Cersley on May 24, 2016 at 3:47pm — No Comments

STANDING IN THE WAY

STANDING IN THE WAY

For me, as a youngster, the trip to visit relatives on their farm in the Virginia foothills was always exciting. I always thought that my four cousins were so lucky to live in such a special place, where there was never a shortage of exciting things to do. They raised cows and watered them from a claw foot bathtub. Every year they brought…

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Added by Warren Cersley on May 8, 2016 at 4:49pm — 1 Comment

THE ARROGANCE LADDER

THE ARROGANCE LADDER

I once worked with a Battalion Chief who would jokingly thumb up his collar trumpets and say “I woke up one morning and there they were.” He always did this in a crowd and usually while looking at himself in a mirror. He would then walk away and leave the people wondering what the intended message was. Since the unwritten rule of that day was that a conversation with an Officer was always initiated…

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Added by Warren Cersley on April 24, 2016 at 10:59am — No Comments

WHITE FLAG LEADERSHIP

WHITE FLAG LEADERSHIP

Leaders lead.

They make no excuses about their inheritance, the crews or the present climate and they do not lead with an attitude of fear and they surround themselves with great people.

Leaders don’t carry a white flag, they plan to win.

Many years ago, I printed off…

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Added by Warren Cersley on April 14, 2016 at 7:19pm — No Comments

THE OLD STUFF

The Old Stuff

Someday, in the blink of an eye, it will be the time to look back and to reflect on what you did with your life.

If you were chosen to serve, did you serve others well or serve yourself? Did you realize, early on or too late, that serving well requires a few simple steps from each of us who are chosen?

Did you keep a run journal of each run, what you were sent for, what you saw, what you did and most importantly what you learned? Were you able to bring…

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Added by Warren Cersley on April 10, 2016 at 7:42pm — No Comments

WHAT ARE WE REALLY GOOD AT?

WHAT ARE WE REALLY GOOD AT?

I’m not big on meetings. I especially dislike meetings that accomplish nothing.

Maybe, just maybe, somewhere along the way I got hung up on the belief that the Fire Service was a problem solving organization made up of talented and trustworthy crews instead of a new initiative testing ground.…

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Added by Warren Cersley on April 3, 2016 at 1:11pm — No Comments

WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?

WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?

Sometimes officer behavior leads me to ask “What were you thinking?”

Someone recently replayed to a friend from another department the story about a “group motivational retreat” that I held in the rear yard after a fire. I prefer to call it moonlight post incident…

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Added by Warren Cersley on April 1, 2016 at 3:12pm — No Comments

THE MAN IN THE BOX

The Man in the Box

Our firehouse quartered a two piece engine company, a truck company with a senior aerial and a Tactical Squad, which was designated as a compliment to firefighting staffing with the additional specialty of water rescue. There were fifteen of us on duty every day and each one of us knew what our job was before the bell rang.

There was no question about our…

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Added by Warren Cersley on March 17, 2016 at 2:16pm — No Comments

A review WITH the troops.

 A review WITH the troops.

After the Civil War, scattered on battlefields across the country, muzzle loaded rifles were found that had ended their service loaded and unfired. Many were found to be multiple loaded, with two, three and even more loads of wadding, powder and ball.…

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Added by Warren Cersley on February 24, 2016 at 11:21am — No Comments

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