Tuesday, March 11, 2014

What Defines Your Team?

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Ethos n. The distinguishing charter, sentiment, moral nature, or guiding beliefs of a person, group or institution. (Merriam-Webster)

Ethos defines how crew members embody the values of the mission-driven culture within the leadership environment. This ethos represents a professional code of conduct clarifying expectations for member behavior and forming the foundation for relationships. A team committed to exemplify these values stand the best chance of building synergy and successfully achieving their mission. Examples include:
  • Service for the common good
  • High trust state
  • Pursuit of truth
  • Form function defined by the end state
  • Individual initiative
  • Continuous improvement
What Defines Us as a Wildland Fire Service

The following values and principles define the wildland fire service:

  • Be proficient in your job, both technically and as a leader. 
  • Make sound and timely decisions. 
  • Ensure that tasks are understood, supervised, accomplished. 
  • Develop your subordinates for the future. 
  • Know your subordinates and look out for their well-being. 
  • Keep your subordinates informed. 
  • Build the team. 
  • Employ your subordinates in accordance with their capabilities. 
  • Know yourself and seek improvement. 
  • Seek responsibility and accept responsibility for your actions. 
  • Set the example.
For the complete list and downloads visit our website.

An Example Within Our Organization

The following example was taken from the 2011 Standards for Interagency Hotshot Crew Operations:

Professional Ethics
IHCs acknowledge their responsibility to sponsor agencies and to the wildland fire community as a whole. IHCs subscribe to a Code of Ethics to guide them in their practice as wildland fire professionals. IHCs will:
  • Perform only services they are qualified, trained, and equipped in which can be accomplished safely. Continue to educate themselves in order to improve their qualifications and performance. Give earnest effort and provide their best professional advice in the performance of their duties.
  • Build their professional reputations based on the leadership values of duty, respect, integrity. Ensure the quality and cost effectiveness of our programs. Be accountable to host unit supervisors, incident management teams, other IHCs and to any hosting unit as a safe, productive and professional resource.
  • Conduct themselves and their programs in accordance with the Standards for Interagency Hotshot Crew Operations, relevant Agency, State and Federal policies and all required operational and safety procedures.
  • Ensure the civil rights of constituents and employees by treating every person with respect. Hazing, harassment of any kind, verbal abuse or physical abuse by any employee toward any other person will not be tolerated. Professional behavior will be exhibited at all times. 
  • Endeavor to enhance public knowledge and promote understanding of the functions and achievements of the wildland fire community.
Benchmarking Another Organization

Wiss & Company, an East Coast accounting firm, created a clever way to present their ethos. 

Wiss & Company ethos graphic
(Photo credit: Wiss & Company)

Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge
Thank you Shane Olpin, USFS Leadership Development Specialist and NWCG Leadership Subcommittee representative, for this blog submission. 

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