Thursday, September 29, 2011


Thanks go out to Tim Bartlett, Humboldt-Toiyabe NF, for adding another lesson plan to the Leadership in Cinema library. The Jarhead lesson plan provides a new format that local units may want to use to submit a lesson plan for another movie (including those already in the library).

Monday, September 26, 2011

Lessons of Leadership from Coach Pete

A few years ago I had the opportunity to hear Boise State's head football coach Chris Peterson speak at a motivational seminar. Although I am a member of Bronco Nation and respect Coach Pete, anyone who heard his talk understands why Boise State is among the top teams in college football. Coach Pete is a quality leader who leads by example and asks that those under his direction follow suit.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Leadership Moment - Stuart

Leaders are required to confront their subordinates. Here is short clip from the movie Gettysburg where General Robert E. Lee confronts subordinate General J.E.B. Stuart after he fails to fulfill his calvary duties.

Monday, September 19, 2011

"Ability, Motivation and Attitude"

by Chris Widener

"Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it." —Lou Holtz

There are three primary aspects of your life that will determine whether or not you are successful in your endeavors. You will not be successful if you have only one or two. You must have all three working together. Consider them like the three legs of a "stool of success."

Ability—the level at which you are able to actually do things; your skill level. If you have a high level of skill, that's good. And the better you get, the better it will be for you. To the degree that you can perform your actions at higher and higher skill levels, the more and more success you will find in your chosen field.

Motivation—the level at which you are able to find "a reason to act." This is the internal drive that you find that enables you to exercise your abilities. To the degree that you can find a way, or ways, to keep yourself motivated, you will see yourself right in the thick of things, carrying out your actions to the best of your abilities and succeeding accordingly.

Attitude—the mental state you have while carrying out your actions to the best of your ability. It is the way you view the world around you and choose to see it, either positively or negatively. To the degree that you can maintain a positive attitude about yourself, others, and the circumstances you find yourself in, you will see yourself achieving greater and greater things.

"But Chris, can't I get away with just two?"


What if you have high skills and motivation but a rotten attitude? People will stay away and hinder your success. What if you have a good attitude and motivation but poor skills? People will like you, maybe even root for you, but go to someone else for the skills they need. What if you have great skills and attitude but no motivation? Well, you'll be sitting on the couch like a lazy slug while the go-getters are out there making your money and achieving your dreams!

No, it takes all three. So let's ask some questions:

Ability: How highly skilled are you? Is your skill level holding you back? How so? What could you achieve if you just took your skills to the next level beyond where they are right now? How would improving your skills improve the bottom line of your success?

Motivation: How motivated are you? Why do you answer that way? What would your spouse or close friends say? Would they say you are as motivated as you say you are? Why or why not? Why do you have the level of motivation that you have? What could you do to find a higher level of motivation? What would happen if you became super motivated for the next period of your life. What great things would happen?

Attitude: Do you have a good attitude or a poor one? How would you rate yourself? What about when things go wrong? Are you more of an optimist or a pessimist? What would happen if you took your attitude to the next level for the next 60 days? What if you just chose to have an incredible attitude? What would be the ramifications?

"The world cares very little about what a man or woman knows; it is what a man or woman is able to do that counts." —Booker T. Washington

This is so true. People will judge you on what you accomplish, not what you know or what you talk about. In fact, if you know a lot or talk a lot but do not accomplish anything, people will wonder what happened. So the question is whether or not you will take the actions necessary to deliver on your potential. To do so, you will need to focus in on the three legs of the stool of success: Your ability, motivation and attitude.

Take some time this week to give some serious thought to these three areas. Your success depends on it! And when you have done some reflection, put the conclusions you come to into action!

Reproduced with permission from Chris Widener's Ezine. Chris Widener is an Internationally recognized speaker, author and radio host. He has authored over 450 articles and more than ten books, including a New York Times and Wall Street Journal Best-seller. He has produced over 85 CDs and DVDs on leadership, motivation and success In addition to being a featured contributing editor to the Jim Rohn One-Year Success Plan, Chris is a regular guest speaker receiving rave reviews! Chris demonstrates a style that is engaging and versatile while providing life-changing principles of leadership, motivation and success. If you would like to order Chris' products, including his Newest Release, The Art of Influence, as well as The Angel Inside, The Image, Live the Life You Always Dreamed Of or to book him to speak at your next event, go to or send an email to or call 877-929-0439. Also - to subscribe to Chris's free Ezine, send a blank email to

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Leadership Moment - Civil War

Civil rights riots are occuring across the globe. Take a look back at our own history. Leaders rise to the challenge of promoting change, but do followers always know what their leaders are fighting to accomplish?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Katrina versus Irene--Did FEMA Learn?

Over the last few weeks, leaders from across the nation have faced many crisis situations including historic wildfires, hurricanes and flooding. As Hurricane Irene set her sights on the East Coast, I reflected upon the government's response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Would Hurricane Irene release her wrath upon a still recovering New York City, most specifically Manhattan? Had the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) learned from the disaster experienced with Hurricane Katrina?

I recalled an earlier blog post showcasing an Washington Post's On Leadership interview with Craig Fugate, FEMA Director, regarding lessons learned from the Hurricane Katrina response. View for yourself whether Fugate responded to Hurricane Irene as he said he would after Hurricane Katrina.

I was intrigued by some of the recent public responses to Hurricane Irene. After the Hurricane Katrina disaster, I was amazed to hear the assertions that the government's response to Hurricane Irene was excessive, namely those inconvenience by evacuations in the New York City area. Just as with Hurricane Katrina, the full extent of the disaster was felt long after the hurricane passed. Historic flooding has been a life-changing event for many. Would those inconvenienced had the same response if New York City had taken a direct hit? Did what became a practice drill prepare those residents for a future event or will complacency reign?

As fire leaders, we must look at every incident as an unsual event and plan accordingly. There is no place for complacency in our decision making.

Additional reading:
FEMA Ready to Lead Through the Storm?, Jena McGregor, On Leadership, August 26, 2011.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Lessons Learned from Columbia

(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

The wildland firefighting community played a large part in the Columbia space shuttle recovery efforts. Paul Keller, writer/editor for the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center, and Tom Iraci, photographer, chronicled the USDA Forest Service's role in the recovery efforts in a publication titled Searching for and Recovering the Space Shuttle Columbia.

Staying true to the NWCG's Leadership Subcommittee's goal of benchmarking organizations, fire leaders might find the recent addition to the Leadership in Cinema program appealing.

A lesson plan was created to complement NOVA's 2008 documentary Space Shuttle Disaster. Space Shuttle Disaster is a behind-the-scenes look at the space shuttle project. “It offers a penetrating look at the history of the shuttle program and the political pressures that made the shuttle a highly complex engineering compromise, which fell short of its ambitious goal to make space travel routine, cheap, and safe.” (NOVA)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day Greetings

"Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country." - Department of Labor website

On behalf of the NWCG Leadership Subcommittee, I would like to thank all wildland fire service employees for their hard work and dedication. Happy Labor Day!span>