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We all have them. Lots of businesses have them too. You know you are sitting around the table with your boss discussing who can we ask to get something done and someone says, "Maybe we can get so and so?" The fire service is no different.  We often see who are the real "do'ers", the "go getters", the one's who respond on every call, they are willing to train, train, train and are responsible for most of the required maintenance and truck checks. They do all that is asked of them and often times more!  These brothers and sisters are often referred to as the 20 percenters of an organization.  20 percent of the membership doing 80 percent of the workload.  They are often the "unofficial members" that make up the firehouse short list.

How does one get on the fire house shortlist?  Well making the short list often requires due diligence. But the biggest factor is having the mindset to (DTRT) "Do The Right Thing".  You all know what I am talking about... like putting in the time and effort to be recognized that you can be a trusted member of the fire department.

Without a strong "commitment to excellence" mindset and trust that will be gained by repeatedly completing tasks at hand... you will probably never make your fire department's short list.

The fire service even has a short list for instructors.  You know the presenters who are heavily sought after to deliver some of the industries latest training and techniques. They are the one's who have put great amounts of time into developing a concept, a program, or even written a book.  People always say "Great Presentation" but do they truly understand the time commitment it took to produce such a product?  Often times not, but these short listers reap the reward of the instructor shortlist. Good for them!   One word to the seekers, just like the firehouse list some may seek shortcuts to make the short list. The internet has provided a platform for instructors to present at times, material that "the presenter" themselves may not have invested the time to establish tactical mastery. Check out our article titled, "Tactical Mastery" for which we look at Malcomb Gladwell's theory on the 10,000 hour rule.  You see when you rush for the reward of the shortlist, often times you can stumble upon a well educated, or highly experienced brotherhood for which you cannot hide behind your laser pointer. Therefore time for tactical mastery is important to build not only the experience in the subject but the trust for which is needed for buy in. After all is said and done, once you're on the shortlist not only can your fees double but the amount of work increases to the point where you can't possibly do it all. Some of the  greatest on the shortlist have the ability to see a future trend and what is needed to capitalize on it. The elite short listers also have the ability to do just that and also be a visionary to foresee the next big thing! 

As Seth Godin states, "It's easy to seduce yourself into thinking it's a straight up meritocracy. The funniest comedians, the most gifted graphic designers, the most impactful speakers - these folks are chosen for the shortlist because they deserve it."  But as he puts it, that may not be exactly correct.  You obviously need a minimum amount of education, experience and talent to make the shortlist to begin with. It might even help to be really smart as well. But plenty of people with talent (and some who are really smart) still haven't made the shortlist... They are not thought of by their peers or leadership for recognition (or) outsiders who are looking to bring someone in they can trust... just skip over them.  Key word again is trust. Trust is the basic foundation for which the fire service has been built upon. Trust comes with time.  But the shortlist requires more than that. Maybe it is luck?  Well sure luck has a little to do with it, need to be in the right place at the right time as an opportunity knocks but in reality it requires the persistence of doing the right thing, in the right place, at the right time for extended periods of time. Not an overnight success, but one that may have taken a decade or more.


My point is the secret of getting on the shortlist is doing your best for a long period of time... DTRT - Because recognition comes with good honest hard work and persistency. And if your still seeking the shortlist as we speak, no better time than the present to DTRT and eventually time will provide you with the reward brothers.  Stay focused, stay on track and most importantly stay safe out there.

For more information about FETC Services, please check out our new Facebook page. A place where we give back to the fire service with free Fire-Rescue promotional product giveaways, 100 lifesaving tips in 100 days and where you can get the latest training material and lecturing opportunities from one of the leaders in the industry.

Take care and stay safe brothers... Billy Greenwood

FETC Services

Tap the Box on Fire Engineering Radio


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