Friday, October 9, 2015

Close Calls and Trusting Your Intuition with Dan Pickard

Close Call, Trusting Intuition from The Smokey Generation on Vimeo.

Have you lost your situation awareness and experienced mission creep? Is your worst-case scenario playing out in front of you? Dan Pickard, Entiat Interagency Hotshot Crew, shares personal stories from the fireline. There is a fine line between success and failure in our business. How can you increase your margin, accept risk, and fulfill the mission? Most importantly, should you even be fighting the fire?

Operational Tempo
(Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, p. 31)

Operational tempo is the speed and intensity of our actions relative to the speed and intensity of unfolding events in the operational environment. Within this context, fire leaders plan, prepare, and execute operations proactively, rather than continuously being forced to react to the environment.

Successfully maintaining operational tempo is not solely about speeding up to match or exceed the pace of the environment. It is also about knowing when operations should slow down and why.
Fire leaders balance activities such as planning, preparation, and action. Too much time spent planning increases the potential for missing opportunities. Too little time spent planning increases the potential for error. A judicious assessment encompasses the capabilities and endurance of resources.

When employing people, leaders weigh expected gain against potential risks. Using too few resources keeps teams from building the momentum needed to gain the advantage. Using too many resources can lead to confusion. Tasking resources beyond their capabilities leaves the team exhausted and unable to respond to an unexpected change in the environment.

We are most vulnerable to accidents and errors when the operational tempo is changing, especially when it changes quickly. Maintaining good situation awareness in spite of change in operational tempo represents a considerable challenge.

The key to managing operational tempo successfully is monitoring the changing environment and capabilities of the team, and then applying good judgment to determine whether to push forward or pull back while making necessary planning and resource adjustments.

An Introduction to the Concept of Margin 

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