Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Making a Collective Impact

(Photo credit: i3solutions)
All around the nation, individuals are coming together to make a difference in the communities in which they live and serve. Unity of effort is a component of our command philosophy. We have made a concerted effort to bring community and fire leaders together "to find common ground and act in the best interests of those responding to the incident, the public, and our natural resources." (Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, pp. 15-16).

Ben Hecht, Harvard Business Review Blog Network contributor, shared his perspective on collaboration in "Collaboration Is the New Competition." He suggests five lesson for driving large-scale social changes through collaboration:
  • Clearly define what you can do together.
  • Transcend parochialism.
  • Adapt to data.
  • Feed the field.
  • Support the backbone.
The Wildland Fire Leadership Campaign was created with these lessons in mind.

Clearly Define What You Can Do Together
The purposes of the campaign are:
  • To foster a cohesive effort to promote leadership across the wildland fire service.
  • To provide a template that can be used to encourage leadership development at the local level.
  • To provide a mechanism to collect leadership best practices and share throughout the wildland fire service.
With budgetary cutbacks and limited resources, the wildland fire service has to become more efficient at developing our leaders. The best efforts of one unit can be shared with those who may not have the resources or ability to produce leadership development tools.

Transcend Parochialism
The campaign is designed to transcend leadership levels and agency affiliation. All members of the fire service are encouraged to participate and come together to make a difference in the communities for the great good of all. Each participant/unit is encouraged to put aside their interests and focus on the bigger picture.

Adapt to Data
Due to the interagency nature of the fire service, not to mention our involvement in all-hazard response, a one-size-fits all approach is unlikely. What works for one unit/area may not work for another. However, by collecting best practices, individuals can adapt the information to best suit their needs.

Feed the Field
The end state of the campaign is "creation of a wildland fire service culture that willingly shares leadership best practices in order to maintain superior service-wide leadership." Participants should should not only take from the campaign but also give back through the IGNITE the Spark for Leadership - From the Field for the Field contest. Using the spirit of healthy collaboration (competition) among wildland fire crews and personnel, the contest is intended to be one of the mechanisms used to collect leadership best practices to be shared throughout the wildland fire service.

Support the Backbone
The backbone of wildland fire leadership is the Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program.

Our history is deeply rooted in products developed by the field for the field. The campaign revitalizes the success of the grassroots effort that began over 10 years ago and keeps the program moving forward.

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