The Organizational Missionary: Planting the Seeds of Change

This week it is my plan to create a ripple in the waters of the American Fire Service. Let me explain the nature of the stone that I am tossing into our collective pond.


This week it is my plan to create a ripple in the waters of the American Fire Service. Let me explain the nature of the stone that I am tossing into our collective pond. I want each of you to become the farmer who plants the seeds for a better organization within the soil of their existing fire department.

Think about this my friends. How many leaders cannot lead? How many mangers cannot manage? How many followers cannot follow? Sad to say, there are far too many who fall into each category. Let me once again offer my thoughts on the basics for creating a vibrant organization. There may be those among you who are tired of hearing me sound off about the basics of such topics as leadership, management, and organizational development.

Let me state for the record that I might be tempted to apologize for the repetitive nature of certain parts of my message, were it not such a persistent problem. Let me also suggest that those folks who really need to hear the message are not tuning in to the world of Firehouse and Firehouse.com. They need someone to take them to the farm field and help them plant the seeds of change.

That is why I preach to you, the people who have become my choir. Only when you take the message and begin to pass it along can we hope to have an impact upon our fire service. This is called the multiplier effect and it will not happen unless you take an active role in the process. You have to spread the word.

One thing for sure my friends, there is one person out there that I know will not be reading my words this week. After last week's commentary on the situation in Maryland he (or she) sent me a rather lengthy treatise that essentially dismissed me as a blathering fool.

He (or she) cried long and loud bemoaning the fact that Firehouse.com wasted so much space carrying the blathering of a fool with an ego so fragile that the fool found it necessary to hide his delicate body behind a whole slew of letters at the end of his name. What a hoot. This person has no idea how much laughter he brought into my world during the past week.

I mentioned to my detractor that as a writer of commentary, my primary task is to make people think. I stated that it was obvious from the length of his (or her) assault on me that a considerable amount of time on their part had been devoted to reading and thinking about my words.

Let me reinforce my message to "Some Dude." I write to make you think. It is not my task to have you love me or hate me. It is my task to make you think. At that point I then thanked that person for taking so much time to think about my words, and spending so much time to create a lengthy email reply. I also thanked them for helping me to accomplish my avowed purpose here on earth.

This is the mission which I have set forth for myself this week. I want to see a whole lot of thinking going on around here. I want all of you to read this commentary and then share the thoughts within it with someone with whom you spend time in a fire station. It might be a friend or associate. That does not matter. I would then like to ask about 100 of you to read it again and share it with your fire chief. There are two forms of sharing:

Either is good enough for me. From the response to many of my past emails, I do know that my words have flown under more than one closed office door. I am also certain that some of you have seen my words used in place of toilet tissue from time to time. That is all right too. You cannot like me or dislike me until you take the time to read my words and form an opinion. By then it is too late. I've gotten to you: you have thought.

Let me offer another provocative statement. Far too many of our current crop of leaders (and I use that word to describe position, not talent) have poisoned the waters of our fire service through their selfish approach to organizational development. They have adopted a style of leadership that can best be described as "self ahead of all others" leadership. Their motto is quite simple. Hooray for me and the hell with you.

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