Thursday, November 16, 2017

IGNITE: Seeds of Hope

"Even in obstacles, a leader finds the seeds of hope." ~ Steve Gutzler (wildland firefighters scraping the terrain]
Even in obstacles, a leader finds the seeds of hope. - Steve Gutzler

[Photo credit: Baker River IHC]

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Consistency - A Key in Leadership Success

Keys to success
(Pixabay/Free Graphic Today)
A few years back when I was officiating college and high school basketball, I wasn’t considered the best—as a matter of fact I was yelled, screamed, and cursed at by the best of crowds. However, as voted on by the coaches, I was the most consistent referee during my time. There was never a school I couldn’t officiate in. Coaches knew that if I was officiating their game, I would be consistent with my calls.

Monday, November 13, 2017

IGNITE: Ask Questions!

It is better to ask some of the questions than know all the answers. ~ James Thurber ~ (view above the smoke layer)

It is better to ask some of the questions than know all the answers.
~ James Thurber ~

[Photo credit: Redding IHC]

Thursday, November 9, 2017

IGNITE: Expressions of Gratitude

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. - John Fitzgerald Kennedy (cannon at Gettysburg in the fall)

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. - John Fitzgerald Kennedy


[Photo credit: Paul Cerda]

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Bigger than Self - An Environment of Service

As we approach Veteran's Day and the conclusion of the 2017 Wildland Fire Leadership Campaign - Leading Authentically take a moment to watch this excerpt of Simon Sinek's
"Why good leaders make you feel safe" Ted Talk.


Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge - Digging a Little Deeper
  • Establish an environment of service within your team or local unit.
  • Read Richard Fagerlin's book Trust•o•logy.

Semper Fidelis OMNA

LtCol Eric Carlson USMC (Ret.), Col Craig Huddleston USMC (Ret.), Col Chris Conlin USMC (Ret.), and General John Kelly USMC (Ret.) and current White House Chief of Staff.
Photo of OMNA Marine veterans taken in Quantico, Virginia, circa 1988. From left to right:
LtCol Eric Carlson USMC (Ret.), Col Craig Huddleston USMC (Ret.), Col Chris Conlin USMC (Ret.), and General John Kelly USMC (Ret.) and current White House Chief of Staff.
Semper Fidelis OMNA
By George Risko

On November 10, 2017 the United States Marine Corps will celebrate its 242nd birthday. Formed at Tunn Tavern, on November 10, 1775, the USMC has gone on to deliver over two centuries of honorable and faithful service to the United States. In those years, the USMC has built up many men and women who then moved on into civilian life, taking with them the proud traditions and leadership qualities learned in the Corps.

Monday, November 6, 2017

IGNITE: Make a Path, Leave a Trail

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~ (DC-10 air tanker dropping retardant)
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~
[Photo credit: Justin Vernon]

Thursday, November 2, 2017

IGNITE: GAME ON!

It's "game on" every day! [Photo: UAK Nanook Wildland Fire Crew]

It's "game on" every day!

[Photo: UAK Nanooks Wildland Fire Crew]

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Experience Builds Bias


Us tree burners love belt buckles and their not so subtle significance. A buckle says: “This is where I paid my dues.” How many office pants are held up by a Shot Crew buckle from over a decade ago? I’m not bagging on this; my buckle has wings on it and I rock it proudly. I’m just pointing out the significance we place on experience.

Monday, October 30, 2017

IGNITE: The Key to Achieving Uncommon Results

Teamwork is the secret that makes common people achieve uncommon results. - Ifeanyi
Teamwork is the secret that makes common people achieve uncommon results. - Ifeanyi
[Photo credit: Feather River IHC]

Thursday, October 26, 2017

IGNITE: Are You Adjusting Sails?

The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails. - John Maxwell  [Photo credit: Kari Greer/USFS]
The pessimist complains about the wind.
The optimist expects it to change.
The leader adjusts the sails.
- John Maxwell

[Photo credit: Kari Greer/USFS]

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

October Fury - Fires of '47 in Maine




Seventy years ago Maine experienced one of the worst fire seasons on record. We have been sharing bits and pieces about those fires, but not speaks more than hearing from those who were there.

Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge - Digging a Little Deeper

Time is Running Out to Nominate

Paul Gleason
boots
Each year the NWCG Leadership Committee provides an opportunity for exceptional leaders to be recognized through the Paul Gleason Lead by Example Award.

The award was established to remember the contributions to the wildland fire service by Paul Gleason and his many achievements that established the foundation of being a student of fire and set the stage for the Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program to provide students of leadership tools, training and guidance in development of leadership skills.

Information about the award and how to nominate a person or group can be found on the Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program website.

Nominations are open until December 31.

When making a nomination, provide a detailed description of why the nominee deserves the award. Short statements may or may not do justice to a nominee's worthiness of the award.

Monday, October 23, 2017

IGNITE: Organizations Need Eager Followers

An organization, any organization, needs people who aren’t just willing to follow, but are eager to follow. - Seth Godin  [Photo credit: Plumas IHC, Gap fire, 2016]
An organization, any organization, needs people who aren’t just willing to follow, but are eager to follow. - Seth Godin
[Photo credit: Plumas IHC, Gap fire, 2016]

Thursday, October 19, 2017

IGNITE: Stay Calm

Relax. Look around. Make a call. - Leif Babin, Extreme Ownership
Relax. Look around. Make a call. - Leif Babin, Extreme Ownership

[Photo: Kyle Miller/Wyoming IHC]

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

There’s Nothing Wrong with the “F” Word

(Photo: Pixabay/Geralt)
There’s Nothing Wrong with the “F” Word
by Riva Duncan

Failure: The neglect or omission of expected or required action. The Oxford Dictionary
Human: representative of or susceptible to the sympathies and frailties of human nature. Merriam-Webster Dictionary
(Photo: Pixabay/DirtyOpi)
Well, I don’t know what all of you might be thinking, but I’m talking about Failure. Yes, that “F” word. It seems we have become afraid to talk about failure. This word is something that is rarely used anymore in FLAs, reviews, etc. We dance around it; we tip toe across it like it’s broken glass; we use other words instead. In our journey towards being a learning culture in fire, I feel the pendulum has swung too far the other way. In the "bad old days" that many of us remember, serious accidents and fatalities resulted in investigations that seemed hell-bent on finger-pointing, finding blame. “Firefighters failed to follow the 10 and 18.” “’Can-do’ attitudes were causal factors.” “Managers failed to keep their people safe.” I’m not saying we need to go back to those dark days. No way. We’ve made great strides in looking for the learning; trying to get to the “why” and not the “who.” But we seem so afraid to talk about failures that I fear we are losing some of these tragic, yet rich, opportunities for learning.

Monday, October 16, 2017

IGNITE: Empower Your People

Empowerment is not just the right thing to do, it is good business and it has a personal payback.  Patrick Townsend & Joan Gebhardt in "Five-Star Leadership"  [Photo: Baker River IHC]
Empowerment is not just the right thing to do, it is good business and it has a personal payback. -  Patrick Townsend & Joan Gebhardt in "Five-Star Leadership"
[Photo: Baker River IHC]

Thursday, October 12, 2017

IGNITE: Practice in the Art

The visible signs of artful leadership are expressed, ultimately, in its practice. - Max De Pree (wildland firefighters hiking along a waterway)
The visible signs of artful leadership are expressed, ultimately, in its practice. - Max De Pree

[Photo: Kyle Miller/Wyoming IHC]

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

More Questions Than Answers


(Photo: Geralt/Pixabay)
I recently asked our Facebook followers to weigh in on the following question:

"Leadership is more art than science."
[Do you agree/disagree? What does this mean?]

Monday, October 9, 2017

IGNITE: The Voyage of Discovery

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. - Marcel Proust (hotshot buggy driving towards the sunset
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. - Marcel Proust
[Photo: Kyle Miller/Wyoming IHC]

Thursday, October 5, 2017

IGNITE: Help One, Help Others

When you help a person become a better leader, you help all the people that leader impacts. - Perry Noble (hotshot crew sitting around a campfire)
When you help a person become a better leader, you help all the people that leader impacts. - Perry Noble
[Photo credit: Kyle Miller/Wyoming IHC (Snake Fire, 2015)]

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Are You a Pushmi or a Pullyu?

Book cover for Doctor Dolittle Meets the Pushmi-Pullyu

Have your ever felt like you were on the most amazing team in the worldthe Pushmi-Pullyu team? I know I have, and the results can be extremely frustrating or downright amazing!

Monday, October 2, 2017

IGNITE: Rising Above Followership

It is the capacity to develop and improve their skills that distinguishes leaders from followers. - Warren Bennis & Burt Nanus [Photo: Kyle Miller/Wyoming IHC, Griffin fire (2016)]
It is the capacity to develop and improve their skills that distinguishes leaders from followers. - Warren Bennis & Burt Nanus
[Photo: Kyle Miller/Wyoming IHC, Griffin fire (2016)]

Thursday, September 28, 2017

IGNITE: Empowering Others

Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.   - John Maxwell  (wildland firefighters walking into the sunset/sunrise)
Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others. - John Maxwell
[Photo credit: Plumas IHC]

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Leadership and Morale in Wildland Firefighting

High morale is a visible expression of team cohesion, and channeling the team's energy to a common focal point builds strong cohesion. - Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, p. 54

Leadership and Morale in Wildland Firefighting
By Thomas Dockery

When you think of building a team in the wildland firefighting community what do you normally think about? If you have previous experience in leadership roles, you may have slides to go off of, some do’s and don’ts that you’ve experienced through trial and error. If you’ve been in a junior role (which we’re all in no matter the title), you’ve hopefully observed leaders in action and have created slides on what not to do and some goals on what you would like to do if you were given the opportunity. Building a team in the wildland fire community is extremely complex and there are a million different ways to do it. However, the tools we have access to are the same. How many of you reading this paper have read Leading in the Wildland Fire Service published by the NWCG or visited the Wildland Fire Leadership Development website?  If you haven’t read the book or visited the website, it’s definitely worth your time. In the book you’ll find information on framework for leadership, duty (accomplishing your mission), respect (taking care of people), and integrity (developing yourself). But I would like to add to it by writing about a nameless entity that can destroy a team or make others jealous and that is morale.

Monday, September 25, 2017

IGNITE: Improving Lives and Organizations

Fire leaders bring order to chaos, improve our people’s lives, and strengthen our organizations.
Fire leaders bring order to chaos, improve our people’s lives, and strengthen our organizations. ~ Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, p. 6 ~
[Photo credit: Tallac IHC]

Thursday, September 21, 2017

IGNITE: Living Life's Lessons


Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood. - Helen Keller [wildland firefighter crew spread up a mountain road
Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood. - Helen Keller


[Photo: Redding IHC]

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The IFPM/FS-FPM Double Standard

hanging scale
(Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock)
“Following the South Canyon Fire in 1994, an interagency team was formed to investigate the fatalities and contributing factors. The subsequent 1995 Federal Wildland Fire Policy and Program Review, signed by both Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior, directed Federal wildland fire agencies to establish fire management qualifications standards to improve firefighter safety and increase professionalism in fire management programs.

Monday, September 18, 2017

IGNITE: Passing the Torch

Life is no ‘ brief candle’ to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.  ~ George Bernard Shaw ~ [Photo courtesy of Buck Rock Foundation] view from a fire lookout with sunset in the background
Life is no ‘ brief candle’ to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.
~ George Bernard Shaw ~
[Photo courtesy of Buck Rock Foundation]

IGNITE: Passing the Torch

Life is no ‘ brief candle’ to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.  ~ George Bernard Shaw ~  [Photo courtesy of Buck Rock Foundation] Sunset from a lookout
Life is no ‘ brief candle’ to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations. ~ George Bernard Shaw
[Photo courtesy of Buck Rock Foundation]

Thursday, September 14, 2017

IGNITE: Change the Way You Look at Things

Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change. - Wayne Dyer  [Photo: Edu Borroso]
Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change. - Wayne Dyer
[Photo: Edu Borroso]

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Some thoughts on what you eat…


Some folks proclaim, “you’re going to die anyway...” when they realize the amount of discipline I hold over what I eat. To that, I say, “it is not about dying, it is about how you live.” We have choices about what we eat, how much we eat, and how many different things we eat. Because we have choices, I want mine to be the best. So I research, study and reconcile what I learn with anecdotal information. I have come to a rather simple summary of what I should eat–QQV: Quality, Quantity and Variety.

Monday, September 11, 2017

IGNITE: Empowered!

Give me a place to stand, and I will move the earth. Give me a flucrum, and I shall move the world. - Archimedes  [Photo: Redding IHC]
Give me a place to stand, and I will move the earth. Give me a fulcrum, and I shall move the world. - Archimedes
[Photo: Redding IHC]

Thursday, September 7, 2017

IGNITE: Remember Where We Came From

If we forget where we came from, we will often lose sight of where we're going. - Perry Noble
If we forget where we came from, we will often lose sight of where we're going. - Perry Noble
[Photo: Kyle Miller/Wyoming IHC]

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

S-520 and "Escape: The Great California Fire"

Fire Outside My Window book cover (Sandra Millers Younger)
(Great pre-reading assignment by Sandra Millers Younger)

View above Country Estates
(View above Country Estates)
Greetings,

The International Association of Fire Chiefs is pleased to announce open registration for the San Diego County Megafires: An All Hazards Interactive Case Study; November 13 – 15, 2017. This program is certified as a National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) L-580 Leadership is Action course and limited to 40 participants.

Monday, September 4, 2017

IGNITE: The Toils of Labor

The harder I work the more I live. - George Bernard Shaw

The harder I work the more I live. - George Bernard Shaw

We send strength and thanks to all those working this Labor Day. Your sacrifice is greatly appreciated and not gone unnoticed. 

[Photo: Tallac IHC]

Thursday, August 31, 2017

IGNITE: Together!

None of us can accomplish alone what is possible when we are working together! - Chery Gegelman  [Photo: Plumas IHC/USFS]
None of us can accomplish alone what is possible when we are working together! - Chery Gegelman
[Photo: Plumas IHC/USFS]

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Are We There Yet?

Are we there yet?
(Photo: Wikimedia)
This is the retracted version of "Are We There Yet?" The original article could have been taken as bashing Millennials and rightly so. That was truly not the intent, and for that I apologize. 

You have the car packed and the family strapped into their seats. This is going to be the best vacation ever. The singing, car games, and DVD have worked well for about an hour; and then from the back seat you hear, "Are we there yet?" You still have miles and miles to go and the "littles" are done. They want to be at the destination NOW.

Monday, August 28, 2017

IGNITE: Mistakes Lead to Discovery

He who never made a mistake, never made a discovery. - Samuel Smiles  colors abound with trucks in foreground and storm and fire in background
He who never made a mistake, never made a discovery. - Samuel Smiles

IGNITE the Spark for Leadership. LIKE and SHARE throughout your networks. #fireleadership #fireminis

[Photo credit: Kari Greer/USFS]

Thursday, August 24, 2017

IGNITE: The Resilient Team

Resilient teams practice behaviors that reinforce situation awareness, communication, and learning. - Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, p. 55  [Photo: BLM and Oregon Department of Forestry]
Resilient teams practice behaviors that reinforce situation awareness, communication, and learning. - Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, p. 55
[Photo: BLM and Oregon Department of Forestry]

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Building Resilience

(Photo credit: Ron Porter/Creative Commons)
Resilience isn’t something you have or not. It’s something that you build every day as you move through the storm. We are all born with muscles but none of us are born strong. We have to build strength by exercising those muscles, by feeding those muscles and by letting those muscles recover after the strain. This is how we build our resilience; so that when we are next tested, we will be strong enough to bend.

Ben Iverson is currently a Training Specialist for NWCG Training Development at NIFC. All expressions are those of the author.

Monday, August 21, 2017

IGNITE: Commitment Begins with Involvement

Involvement is the foundation for commitment. - Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, p. 54  [Photo: BLM/Southern Nevada District Fire Program]
Involvement is the foundation for commitment. - Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, p. 54
[Photo: BLM/Southern Nevada District Fire Program]

Thursday, August 17, 2017

IGNITE: Discover the leader within you.

Discover the leader within you.

Discover the leader within you.

[Photo: Kari Greer/USFS]

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Leading Authentically: How Do I Tell the Emperors?

By Alfred Walter Bayes, Dalziel Brothers [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
(Photo: By Alfred Walter Bayes, Dalziel Brothers [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
Timeless leadership is always about character, and it is always about authenticity. ~ Warren Bennis
I take pride in being a squeaky wheel, a BS caller, a canary in the coal mine. I’ll tackle the hard topics, often saying what many are thinking but don’t want to speak up about. I like that about myself, but not everyone likes that about me. As I have matured as a person and an employee, I’ve gotten better at being a bit gentler with it than I used to—at least when the situation warrants it. I’m still not great at sugar-coating things, and I feel that I shouldn’t have to when addressing my peers and my higher ups.

Monday, August 14, 2017

IGNITE: DUTY - RESPECT - INTEGRITY

DUTY RESPECT INTEGRITY

DUTY
RESPECT
INTEGRITY

[Photo: Dan Ng/NPS]

Friday, August 11, 2017

LIVE!


The hardest assignments begin with the simplest act. Adding the black band to my badge somehow makes it more real. It signifies the need, the calling to bring another fallen firefighter home for the last time. I think about July 23, 2009, often. Tom Marovich died on July 21st, but I met his parents on July 23. That day is etched in my brain. If you’ve met a mother or a father or a sister or brother, you know what I mean. That day in 2009 nearly broke me. In the years since, I've been on a quest to be strong enough to bend when faced with the stormto become more resilient.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

IGNITE: Planting the Seeds of Knowledge

If we do not plant knowledge when young, it will give us no shade when we are old.  - Attributed to Lord Chesterton  [Photo: Kyle Miller/Wyoming IHC, Strawberry Hill fire]
If we do not plant knowledge when young, it will give us no shade when we are old. - Attributed to Lord Chesterton
[Photo: Kyle Miller/Wyoming IHC, Strawberry Hill fire]

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Extreme Ownership: Get After it!

Leif Babin, George Risko, Carlos Climent, and Jocko Willink
(Leif Babin, George Risko, Carlos Climent, and Jocko Willink; photo credit: George Risko)
What is Extreme Ownership? Well, first, it’s a philosophy of leadership. It is also a book, the full title of which is Extreme Ownership: How Navy SEALs Lead and Win, written by a couple of former Navy SEALs, Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. Jocko and Leif decided to share what they’ve learned about leadership, teamwork and relationships with the world. I am of the opinion that the principles in the book also qualify it as a lifestyle—and certainly, for me, a life changer.

Monday, August 7, 2017

IGNITE: You Have a Duty to Influence Decisions

Everyone has the right and the duty to influence decision making and to understand the results. – Max De Pree
[Photo: Kari Greer/USFS, Rough fire, 2015]