At times I get frustrated with things in my organization, as I am sure all of you do. Don’t get me wrong, I am very proud to be a part of the department I work for, but there are times I question the motives of others. What are they doing in the Fire Service? Are they here to be sticker collectors, do they just like holding the title of firefighter? You know the ones; they reek of mediocrity, do nothing to improve their performance, and are satisfied with the status quo. Plenty of days I go home and beat my head against the wall because I fail to understand why someone would want to get into this profession and become stale and refuse to take serious their oath, and the mission of the organization. The mission requires of us to be always ready. Always ready to perform at the level of excellence we should all be reaching for everyday.
Like most of you, my goal is to move my fire department forward and make it the best damn department in the country. I think every one of us should be thinking that exact same way. Let’s face it, there are those out there that are completely happy tearing down the organization, or maybe even happy with tearing you down as well. I have had firefighters and officers alike approach me and let me know that the changes me and my trusted comrades are making are upsetting people. “It’s worked for so long why do we have to change it”, they say. Even crazier, I get complaints on why a very select few people in the department are always the ones conducting training and working on projects. That’s a damn good question isn’t it? Why are we the only ones doing it? Don’t they have the same ability to take charge of something and see it through to fruition? Yes they do, they just don’t. They are not committed, nor care enough to dedicate countless hours to improving performance, not individual performance, or the performance of the masses. All they care about is tearing down others and forming their army of weakness. When given the same opportunity to step up and become involved and make their mark, they remain standing fast and silent
So how do you and I deal with this frustration? Recently I was involved in a training event where Team Mediocrity was at it again. Complaining about what was involved, and how they don’t like being told how to do something. Usually it’s a small group when compared to the hundreds in my department. For some reason though, the voices of just those negative few ring the loudest in my ears. Again I grew frustrated while trying to focus on the larger numbers that enjoyed the training and were sincere about improving performance and upholding the mission. My friend and I, who I think very highly of and regard as a top shelf firefighter, were going back and forth about all of this. He sent me something that I wanted to share. Immediately I was pumped up and was able to keep looking forward and past the fire service ticks trying to suck the life blood out of me and others who are committed to excellence.
Here is what he sent:
Trying to build uniformity is going to cause an overflow of deficiency exposure and with this there will be a fight or flight emotion. Their anger and refusal to accept change is a prime example of this emotion. They are merging this emotion together and running away to see who is running with them, trying to form an army of weakness. We are doing what people are scared of and this is just another small battle in our war. We will overwhelm them with knowledge, skill, passion, and successes. They will flounder in their own self preservation as the masses will slowly become more efficient.
Those words helped me and I hope they help you as we all share the same frustrations. Build your army! Surround yourself with forward thinking, passionate, skillful firefighters. Seek others who are like minded and want to make your fire department the best one out there. Build your army! Identify younger firefighters who are hungry for this profession and guide them along the path that will lead them to excellence. Build your army and the armies of weakness will crumble beneath us, leaving only a department and firefighters striving to perform, and firefighters who are satisfied with nothing less than superiority. We strive for this, and overnight, we all become game changers!
REaL Fire Training LLC