Thursday, February 4, 2016

IGNITE: A Commitment to Values

As our careers progress, some move from being a leader of people to being a leader of leaders to being a leader of an organization. At each level, we rise to meet the challenges of adhering to our values of duty, respect, and integrity and assume the responsibility of instilling those values in others. –Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 67

As our careers progress, some move from being a leader of people to being a leader of leaders to being a leader of an organization. At each level, we rise to meet the challenges of adhering to our values of duty, respect, and integrity and assume the responsibility of instilling those values in others. – Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 67

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IGNITE: Team Unity

A unified leadership team sends a powerful message: when all leaders follow the same priorities and reinforce leader’s intent through consistent actions and words, our people develop a strong sense of trust for their leaders. - Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 16
A unified leadership team sends a powerful message: when all leaders follow the same priorities and reinforce leader’s intent through consistent actions and words, our people develop a strong sense of trust for their leaders. - Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 16

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http://www.fireleadership.gov/

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Learning from Successful Organizations: Seattle Seahawks - Leadership, Teamwork and Communication




Check out the recently released leadership module produced for the 2016 Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher. WFSTAR creators went to Seattle and hung out with members of the Seattle Seahawks. Although you cannot receive refresher credit here, we wanted our followers to be aware of its release and to give all our social media followers the opportunity to participate in the module.

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Overview: 
The intent of this module is to initiate a discussion on leadership, teamwork and communication utilizing examples from a successful organization outside of the fire and military community.

Exercise Instructions:
Watch the video and read the Introduction and the Terminology. Then, discuss the two exercise questions (in small groups or as a whole class). Share with the whole class if done in groups. After completing the two questions, we want to learn from YOUR successful organization. Share your success stories with WFSTAR so that others can learn from your organization. Instructions are located at the end of the module.

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INTRODUCTION 
In previous fire training courses, the focus has been about learning from leaders within the wildland fire and military community. This module is the first in a series designed to focus on learning from organizations outside of the military and wildland fire community. There are a lot of concepts that translate from football to firefighting and we thought it would be insightful to interview members of the coaching staff from the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League (NFL). Regardless of your interest level in sports or personal team affiliation, the fact remains that it takes a high degree of leadership, teamwork, and communication to operate effectively at the professional level of sports.

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TERMINOLOGY

Success – for the purposes of this module, the Seattle Seahawks were chosen as a case study for success based on three criteria (using data from the 2010 to 2014 seasons):
  1. Development of players: During this five-year period, 22 players were selected to the Pro Bowl. Example of player development can also be seen by looking at the starting roster of the team that won the Super Bowl in 2013; of the 22 starting players (11 offensive, 11 defensive), 13 were drafted in the 3rd round or later (included undrafted players). Players also receive professional development training to prepare them for careers after football (business training, entrepreneur workshops, etc.). 
  2. Development of coaches: Two coaches from the Seahawks were promoted to head coaches for other NFL teams. Several other positional coaches were promoted internally and externally. 
  3. Winning: In the same five-year stretch, the Seahawks have made four playoff appearances including two Super Bowls (won Super Bowl 2013, lost Super Bowl 2014). The Seahawks currently have five consecutive seasons with 7+ wins (out of a 16-game season). 
Humility – This term is mentioned several times by the coaches as a major emphasis of the team. The term humility comes from the Latin word humilitas, a noun related to the adjective humilis, which may be translated as "humble", but also as "grounded", "from the earth", or "low", since it derives from humus (earth). The author C.S. Lewis once wrote: "Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less."

Exercise
  1. The video focused on three main elements: leadership, teamwork, and communication. What effective methods or techniques from the video do you see demonstrated in your current work environment (on your crew, in the office, or during incident responses)? Provide specific examples. 
  2. What effective methods or techniques that were discussed in the video do NOT happen in your organization? What can YOU do to improve the conditions in these three areas? Provide specific examples.
We want to learn from your successful organization and share it with others. Please provide a brief description including:
  • What type of “team” are you a part of? Engine, hand crew, IMT, etc. 
  • What effective methods of leadership/teamwork/communication does your organization use? 
  • What has been the outcome from using these practices? Optional – provide your contact information so others may contact you. 
Share your stories using the email: annualrefresher@gmail.com.

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Visit the WFSTAR website to download the Instructor Guide or Student Workbook. Be sure to talk with your Training Officer to ensure this module is part of your annual fireline refresher. If not, host your own tailgate with the Seahawks! 

Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher logo

Monday, February 1, 2016

IGNITE: Never Stop Learning!

You can finish school, but you should never finish your education. –Jim Rohn

You can finish school, but you should never finish your education. – Jim Rohn

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

IGNITE: Taking Risks & Facing Challenges

Leaders take risks and face challenges every day. –Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 6
Leaders take risks and face challenges every day. – Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 6
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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

South Puget Sound Shows How to Lead by Following

A few weeks ago, we announced the winners of the 2015 IGNITE - From the Field for the Field Contest award winners. Thanks goes out to all those who participated.

Over the next couple of months, we will share leadership nuggets from the submissions. Even though we share them, we HIGHLY recommend you read review the application packets for yourself. After all, they are FROM THE FIELD FOR THE FIELD!

First Place Winners
Washington Department of Natural Resources
- South Puget Sound Region -



LEADING THE CHANGE

Within our organizations – particularly in governmental organizations – change is often dictated by something well outside our control and we are tasked with implementing the change. Instead of being a blind follower and doing something that someone else told you to do, become an active follower in your organization who is the transition point in the chain and become the one to lead the change. This way of thinking is best summed up in the following passage by Sergeant First Class Michael T. Woodward, in the US Army journal Infantry:
Effective leadership requires followers who are more than Pavlovian reactors to their leaders’ influences. When followers actively contribute, are aware of their function, and take personal pride in the art of followership, then the joint purpose of leadership and followership – higher levels of mission accomplishment – is achieved effectively.
This mindset on change is not limited to or unique to our program, nor is it something that can only be implemented when you “have the time.” By all measures, Washington State had its worst fire season on record in 2015 (over one million acres burned to date). The above examples are what we have been able to implement throughout an extraordinary fire season and we have at least half a dozen ideas so far that we plan to implement for 2016. All these examples stemmed from a change outside of our control where we saw an opportunity to implement an idea and help guide the change. While the ideas hatched and pursued may be different, the mindset can be used effectively in any group – an engine module, a Hotshot crew, a fire district, and even at a state or federal agency level. The only limitation is your willingness to accept and promote the mindset. This is when followership is leadership; where the synergy between the two produces greatness and the opportunity to Lead the Change.

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Listed below are some of the activities SPS wants to share with you. Click here to download SPS's packet with more details about how they implemented their leadership development.


FOLLOWERS AND LEADERS OF PEOPLE

South Puget Initial Attack
Changed the crews' mindsets as mop-up specialists to initial attack resources. 

A-Team Pro Tip
Captured learning opportunities and shared them immediately with the engine crews via text message.

Teambuilding Day
One full day committed entirely to building cohesion among all crews. This one-day catalyst sets the tone for the season. 

A-Team Leadership Award
The fire foresters established a leadership award for exemplary performance. Selection must be a unanimous decision and may not be awarded annually.

LEADER OF LEADERS

Leadership Library
Started a leadership library with books received from the 2014 IGNITE contest. Region staff added books and videos to create an ever-growing selection. 

Fire Training Academy and the L-280 Roadshow
Volunteered to teach L-280 courses at the fire training academy as well in other regions. Exposed non-fire program staff to leadership. 

Hose Drills - Seasonal vs. Permanent
Broke down barriers between season and permanent personnel and built team cohesion through proficiency drills. 

Shared Ideas on Leadership
Shared leadership ideas and exercises between non-fire workgroups and fire workgroups. 

LEADERS OF ORGANIZATIONS
Our success to date has driven us to push our ideas up the chain to the top of our agency and to the leadership of our cooperating partners. The fire districts that we share wildland protection with are impacted the most by this, so we’ve paid particular attention to their needs and made conscious efforts to develop ideas with them.

Annual Refresher Module - Leadership Greatness and Apollo 13
Developed a leadership module for our annual refresher that was built around David Marquet’s “Greatness” speech/video and the “Houston, we have a problem” scene in Apollo 13.

Fire Open House
Established an open house for all fire districts within our region to meet face-to-face with our cooperating partners in a controlled setting. Doing so gave us a significant advantage this fire season when we were able to recognize and make a connection with our counterparts as we arrived on scene of rapidly expanding incidents.

Cooperating Agency Initial Attack AARs
Expanded AARs to involve cooperating agencies.

Developing Training Opportunities
Recognized areas of need and took the initiative to address them, including wildland awareness training for structural firefighters.

Monday, January 25, 2016

IGNITE: Handling Failure

The question is not, "Are you going to fail?" The question is, "How are you going to handle your failure?" –John C Maxwell
The question is not, "Are you going to fail?" The question is, "How are you going to handle your failure?" – John C. Maxwell
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Thursday, January 21, 2016

IGNITE: Valuing Ourselves

Integrity is how we value ourselves. – Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 66
Integrity is how we value ourselves. – Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 66

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Gina Papke on Influential People


Influential People from The Smokey Generation on Vimeo.
Where is it written that you need a title to be a leader? According to Leading in the Wildland Fire Service,

Leadership is the art of influencing people in order to achieve a result. The most essential element for success in the wildland fire service is good leadership.  (p. 1)

Where we serve doesn't matter. What matters is the quality of service we provide to the overall mission. Each group in the fire service has importance and influences in a manner different from the other. We all, regardless of our position in the organization, have a duty to do our best wherever we are and whatever we are doing. Unlike the television show Cheers, you don't have to be a leader "where everyone knows your name." 

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What is your story? We challenge you to become a part of this amazing  project and share your leadership stories. Bethany Hannah began The Smokey Generation: A Wildland Fire Oral History and Digital Storytelling Project for her master's thesis. All members of the wildland fire service, not just hotshots, can share their stories by following her example. Click here for potential leadership questions. Visit The Smokey Generation website for complete information.

The Smokey Generation logo

Monday, January 18, 2016

IGNITE: Doing the Right Thing

The time is always right to do the right thing. – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The time is always right to do the right thing. – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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http://www.fireleadership.gov/