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This month's column will bring my writing about the concepts of self-assessment and personal planning full circle. In my previous two columns, I discussed the ways in which you need to lay the groundwork to let you have a working knowledge of the concepts of assessment and personal strategic planning. You need to examine not only yourself, but that part of the world wherein you will be living your personal and professional life. In those two columns, I provided reasons to do this, as well as the steps for you to consider using. You must assess your strengths and weaknesses in order to asses the impact of who you really are as a person and develop a realistic plan of what you may be able to accomplish during your time in the fire service.
To demonstrate that I am not a "do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do" sort of guy, I have updated the findings of my research to show you the personal development plan I created for use during my 60s. This plan will include what I want to accomplish in the next 10 years. Please read this plan closely. I want you to know and understand that I will be working to live the example that I am encouraging you to adopt. What follows is a personal strategic plan for my life.
To make the plan work for me, I had to reach out to a number of fine folks. Each has played a critical role in my life. Each has helped me to develop into a more effective professional within the fire service as well as within my community. More importantly, each has helped me to become a better person:
- Dr. Robert Fleming, a professor of management at Rowan University and nationally respected authority on fire officer personal and professional development, has been a colleague and mentor over the years and has played an instrumental role in my formulation of personal and professional goals and realistic implementation strategies. Dr. Fleming has provided sound and meaningful guidance with respect to personal integrity, courage, time management, effective communication skills, mentoring, coaching and integrity.
- Steve Austin is a respected, long-time fire service leader who formerly worked for the State Farm Insurance Co. He is a past president of the Delaware Volunteer Fireman's Association, a past president of the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Fireman's Association and a fire police officer with the Aetna Hose, Hook, and Ladder Company in Newark, DE.
- Billy Goldfeder is a deputy chief with the Loveland-Symmes Fire Department in Loveland, OH. A long-time author and lecturer on fire service operational, safety, and leadership topics, Billy is widely known for his direct style and forthright approach to the issue of firefighter safety. He is also on the board of directors of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
- Reverend Scott Brown is the senior pastor at the Colts Neck Reformed Church in Colts Neck, NJ, among the most dynamic and fastest-growing congregations within the Reformed Church in America.
- Reverend Chris Van DeBunte is the associate pastor at the Colts Neck Reformed Church.
- Jack Peltier is a retired assistant chief with the Marlboro, MA, Fire Department and an authority on fire department operations, fire service training, arson investigation and apparatus specification. He will assist with issues involving integrity, courage, listening, coaching and mentoring skills.
- Roger Busico is a computer expert in the private sector. He is a long-time member of the volunteer fire service and a member of the Adelphia Fire Company in Howell Township, NJ, for a decade. He wrote a column for many years on the administrative side of volunteer fire department operations. He will assist me on the issue of loyalty in a volunteer department.
I will develop a personal integrity statement.
I will create an educational program that defines the concept of courage and explains its role within the fire service.