Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Leadership in Cinema Program Expands

Thanks to the efforts of North Zone Fire Management, Black Hills National Forest, the Leadership in Cinema (LinC) program is growing by leaps and bounds. As a leadership challenge, they have committed to creating lesson plans for all 10 episodes of Band of Brothers. Hopes are to have all lessons completed in October 2010.

In addition to the Band of Brothers series, a new lesson plan for Dead Poets Society has been uploaded.

If you or your unit/crew has developed questions for other videos or television programs, we'd like to incorporate them into the program. Even if you don't follow the template, we'd like to showcase your efforts.

Feel free to contact Pam McDonald, LinC program coordinator, for more information.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Wooden's Pyramid of Success

Coach John Wooden, mentioned in previous posts, was one of the greatest role models and leaders of all times. What he did to inspire those under his direction is truly amazing.

On,* I found his "Pyramid of Success." Along with the pyramid, Wooden identifies "12 Lessons in Leadership" that I thought students of fire and fire leaders could use along their roads to success.

His 12 lessons in leadership include:
  1. Good values attract good people.
  2. Love is the most powerful four-letter word.
  3. Call yourself a teacher.
  4. Emotion is your enemy.
  5. It takes 10 hands to make a basket.
  6. Little things make big things happen.
  7. Make each day your masterpiece.
  8. The carrot is mightier than a stick.
  9. Make greatness attainable by all.
  10. Seek significant change.
  11. Don't look at the scoreboard.
  12. Adversity is your asset.
(*This link may be prohibited on government computers, so I found a different link...)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"Learning Leads to Earning"

Students of fire may find the following article beneficial. I've yet to hear a leadership guru denounce the benefits of learning and reading. Whether you participate in agency-sponsored training or follow a self-development path, the rewards--not just money--bestowed upon you will come back many times over.

Learning Leads to Earning
by Jack Canfield

What kind of reading material is on your coffee table? Or do you not have enough time to read with all the television that you watch? OK, so what kind of programs are you watching on television? The sad truth is that most people spend more time being mindlessly entertained than they do developing their skills and learning their craft.

So what are you doing right now to further your education in what you’re passionate about? Are you waiting for the right opportunity to come knocking before you will develop the skills you will need for it? Get ready now! The more information you have, the more advantage you have over the people who don’t. Reading for just one hour a day will greatly increase your level of success!

There are so many things to read to develop your mind, from finance to psychology, from economics to business writing, from health to computers. For one hour a day you could be studying the wide array of subjects that can help you live successfully.

Successful people did not wait for someone to call on them to be an expert before they gathered all the knowledge they could about their specialty. They were ready when the opportunities presented themselves. Spend your time reading and learning, too. Read biographies and autobiographies to study the ways of other successful people. Read often, review what you’ve read, and apply at least one thing from what you’ve learned.

Attend conferences, trade shows, training seminars and success rallies. Remember to be teachable! You can’t learn a thing if you think you already know it all. Just allow yourself to let go of needing to be right and looking smart. Listen to those who have achieved success. Open yourself up to letting others help you create new ways of thinking. After all, you can try something out and if it doesn’t work for you, you can discard it.

Find out what you need to know and learn in order to be ready for your opportunity. Start now! Make a list of things you could be doing to prepare yourself. Do you need to take a class in your spare time? Do you need to ask your boss what it will take to get to the next level? Do you need to research the market to find out how to break into it? Will you need to gather a library of good reference materials? Tackle your list!

And when you are successful, don’t stop your learning habits. Keep up with your industry. Keep making improvements. Keep studying the masters. Be powerful by being as knowledgeable as you can be, by learning news ways to do things, and by being more effective and efficient in your life.

The more you know about your passion, the more money you will make doing it. The more you learn in advance, the better your chances of landing the opportunity when it comes to you, and the better your chances of creating the opportunity for yourself!

Reproduced with permission from the Ron White Newsletter. To subscribe to Ron White's Newsletter, go to Copyright 2010 All rights reserved worldwide.

All contents Copyright 2010 except where indicated otherwise. All rights reserved worldwide. **Duplication or reprints only with express permission or approved Credits (see above). All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Friday, August 13, 2010

"Federal Supervisors: Are They Ready, Willing and Able to Manage the Workplace?"

I recently came upon "Federal Supervisors: Are They Ready, Willing and Able to Manage the Workplace?" by Steve Oppermann at Steve addresses recurring themes found in discussion forums about "the perception that supervisors are unwilling, unable, or both, to deal with problem employees and workplace issues of various kinds."

Within the article, Steve refers to findings of a 2003 report by the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) titled "First-Line Supervisors in the Federal Service: Their Selection, Development, and Management." I found the principal findings that Steve mentions from the NAPA report directly support the mission of the Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program. You should read the report and article yourself, but I'll include a few here.
  • "First-line supervisors are the federal government's largest corporate leadership asset in sheer numbers and direct impact. Yet they must be more adequately prepared and supported to perform at the level that current and future needs require. Supervisors function at the point where public policy becomes action, and they directly represent management's voice to non-supervisory federal employees. As such, their behavior and job performance are a major determinant of organizational performance, workplace morale, and job satisfaction. They also influence employees' decisions to remain in or leave an organization."
  • "Supervisory jobs are becoming increasingly difficult to perform as the number of supervisors and managers declines. Expanding spans of control, exploding technological change, complex ‘people issues,' and evolving workplace models challenge both novice and seasoned supervisors alike."
  • "With some exceptions, federal agencies do a poor job of managing this corporate asset, beginning with the selection process. Some agencies have excellent leadership development programs for identifying supervisory candidates, but most do not offer extensive preparation. Also, most supervisory jobs require technical competence, but technical abilities far outweigh leadership competencies as a selection factor. Too often, leadership potential is not even considered in this equation."
  • "Federal agencies need to do a better job of developing and training supervisors. While some have successful training programs, it is uncommon for first-line supervisory training to be part of an agency's comprehensive leader development program."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Command Presence

The WFLDP, in Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, has this to say about command presence:

More than anything else, the leader's command presence sets the tone for the command climate. Command presence is how we present ourselves to others, the myriad of personal attributes and behaviors that communicates to others that we are worthy of their trust and respect.

Character is the foundation of command presence. All people reveal their character in every interaction, and character shapes and permeates a leader's command presence.

Another component of command presence--demeanor--speaks volumes to others. Poise and self-assurance play a large part in shaping the image projected. Effective leaders project an image that is calm, organized, and focused on success.

Fire leaders take charge when in charge; we lead from the front and act decisively. In times of crisis, a leader's command presence can be the critical factor in determining whether a team succumbs to pressures and dangers or stays focused to seize an opportunity to overcome and succeed. We inspire confidence among team members by demonstrating a strong and effective command presence.

Take a moment to watch a very short podcast regarding "leadership presence" by leadership expert John Baldoni.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Chertoff on Risk Management

A few years ago, then Homeland security secretary Michael Chertoff spoke at a Wharton Leadership Lecture regarding the government’s role in managing risk. In “Chertoff on the Government’s Role in Managing Risk—Both Natural and Man-made” Wharton authors quote Chertoff as acknowledging that “we have not always handled risk properly”

Such events as the 9/11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina, and the recent financial crisis all came with warnings of one nature or another. Even so, leaders at multiple levels in various agencies failed to “prevent or reduce our vulnerability to them.”

We have our own stories in wildland fire. We preach about lessons learned and risk management, but do we “walk the talk”? Do we become complacent with risk management because we’ve never been caught in a compromising situation on the fireline? Chertoff spoke of homeowners who seek assistance to rebuild in flood-prone areas. The wildland fire service deals with the same situations when homeowners build and rebuild in fire-prone areas.

The article also touches upon regulating risk management. With or without regulation, students of fire must make a conscious effort to properly mitigate risk and lead by example.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Momentary Micromanagement

One of your duties as a fire leader is to “Observe and assess actions in progress without micro-managing.” But when is micromanaging justified?

In “Sometimes Micromanaging Is Good—And Necessary” found at, Christine M. Riordan, dean and professor of management at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver, describes six occasions when micromanaging is temporarily justified.

  • A strategy is changing.

  • The enterprise is taking on a new endeavor.

  • There’s a new leader, employee or unit.

  • An employee or leader fails to execute, or a project continues to linger.

  • A customer registers a serious complaint.

  • Results are disappointing.

Effective fire leaders know when to take a more active role to assist their subordinates—when a little micromanaging is necessary. Most importantly, they know when enough is enough and a return to a more hands-off approach is warranted.