The Road to Future Success

How often have you been encouraged to participate in a planning session of one kind or another? If you are anything like me, you have attended countless planning sessions, and have the scars, tee shirts, and merit badges to prove your efforts. While I...


How often have you been encouraged to participate in a planning session of one kind or another? If you are anything like me, you have attended countless planning sessions, and have the scars, tee shirts, and merit badges to prove your efforts. While I may seem to be making light of planning, that is not my intent.

Strategic planning has been portrayed as a critical part of preparing for the future. The future lies right out there in front of you. You would be well served to chart a course for the future of your fire department. It would be my suggestion that you ignore the future and what it holds for you at your own peril. In this particular instance it is my intention to share some thoughts on living with you.

A recent sermon in church opened my eyes to the fact that strategic planning is of little value if you and I fail to live our lives in a strategic way. We have a part to play in the manner in which we live our lives. Whereas strategic planning is meant to prepare your organization for the future, strategic living is a concept meant to prepare you to offer more to the future of the world.

Past failures often color how we view of the concept of strategic planning. My friends, planning is so important to our future and that of our organizations that we just have to keep trying. This requires a great deal of effort on our part which must be supplemented by an ample supply of patience.

I would rather be accused of a bad attempt at readying myself for the future than to be accused of ignoring it to bask in the glow of a glorious past. However unless you prepare yourself to live strategically, it may be that your efforts at strategic planning will fail.

Let me suggest that you and your life as you live it are a dynamic force for change which exists within the global context of the world at large. Unless you first learn to influence your own way of living, there is probably a very small chance of you having any impact upon the future of your organization, and therefore on the world at large. That is how I have approached my life.

On more that one occasion it has been my stated position that those organizations which fail to prepare for the future will be most assuredly be condemned to repeat the mistakes of the past. The same holds true for you and me. It is like doing the same thing over and over again on a computer and expecting a different outcome. That has become the modern definition of insanity.

While you may choose to dismiss my thoughts, it is my intention to offer some evidence that the past has a nasty little habit of repeating itself with regard to fire departments and how they conduct live-fire training. That might well come to be known as a new concept which I hereby choose to define as organizational insanity. In my case I suggest that this concept manifests itself through the actions of people who consider themselves smarter than the people who committed the mistakes of the past.

My suggestion is that this concept is the next outward extrapolation of the computer insanity example given above. If your organization keeps trying to meet the challenges of the future by using the methods of the past, you will be guilty of submitting to the concept of organizational insanity. I can hear you out there right now uttering the famous "not me" phrase of denial. Trust me my friends when I tell you that this is happening as you read these words.

It was just this past week that I was made aware of a situation down south where some really serious mistakes from the past were repeated by people who should have known better. The results in this current case may well come to define this new concept I have just created that will be now and ever hereafter be known as organizational insanity.

An email came bounding into my Outlook Express account from a gentleman who asked me if I remembered the school bus fire training incident which occurred here in New Jersey back in 1992. This gentleman was looking for any information on that incident that he might be able to use in his battle to halt this dangerously absurd way of training.

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