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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 and I’ll point out leaders who recognize, care about and manage the interest rate of their group.

Whatever happened to the Fire Service leaders who met the Rookie or the fill-in at the door of the firehouse and outlined expectations? Their display of unit pride and ownership set the tone for the tour. They said things like “get on quick or get left” “you go where I go” “we drill at one o’clock everyday” “your riding assignment is ______ today – get prepared” “this is your home for the day – clean it accordingly”

These leaders set the tone for the day and they left nothing for doubt or debate before the fire or during the fire. You were expected to display an interest rate that they established for their team. These leaders had come from hard times, worked hard, studied hard and their unit was a quick out of the house, correct route, get there and shine, professional outfit that any incident commander was glad to see arrive on their scene. That is how Fire Officers should lead – then and now.

For many years, I paid a visit to each Rookie who came to my district. I gave them the pep talk and a list of expectations and I left them with the promise that I would return soon and that we would go over compartments together. On my second visit, they were to be able to tell me the contents in each compartment and at least one use for each tool and appliance. This simple exercise took place with the Rookie in the presence of the Company Officer. I was setting a standard and establishing an interest rate for both and letting them know that there were expectations in order to work in my district.

Last week, a Rookie asked me if I ever used vegetable oil to lube the zipper on my turnout coat. I confessed that I had not but if this helped him in readiness and in the saving of seconds that was fine with me. I did check, adjust and lay out my gear in a second saving ready position and I couldn’t agree more that our business is the people business and it most certainly involves saving seconds, readiness, expectations and personal and unit pride.

After you dressed up in your Sunday best and interviewed for the job or when you became a Fire Officer, did you live up to the interest rate that you sold yourself with or did you allow creeping gradualism and leadership decay to reduce you, as a Fireman or an Officer, to a much lower interest rate and a reduced yield?

Whether you are a Rookie, a senior member, Lieutenant, Captain, Battalion Chief, Deputy or Division Chief or a Fire Chief it is never too late to make a YOU turn. YOU control your interest rate and only you can adjust it, up or down. If your character, principles and virtues have resulted in a faltering or failed command it is most likely because of a disregard for or a lack of attention to your interest rate and that of your organization.

Stay away from negative people.

YOU decide what kind of day you will have tomorrow.

Manage your piece of the pie.

Do your recliners need coin slots and PASS devices.

Merit will always matter and leadership (bad) is cyclical.

Get out, do good things, make a difference.

What’s the current interest rate?

Thanks for reading caring and sharing.

Have a GREAT day – it’s a GREAT day for it.

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