I Have the Right to Change My Mind: Don't I?

How many times have you faced a situation where the facts told you that something you had decided to do was wrong? You used the proper decision-making skills, you gathered the necessary facts, and you made the decision in the proper way; the way you had...

What I am suggesting is that your fire department will not be well-served by you being a "Yes Man" (or woman). It is critical for you to put forward the most up-to-date views of how to deliver the services provided by your department. You must do this in a positive and supportive manner. Trust me when I say that I will never approve abuse, insubordination, or insolence. Your approach must be conducted within the rules and regulations of your department, not to mention the normal bounds of propriety, politeness, and good manners. 

However, let me warn you that by stepping forward to promote change that you will be subjecting yourself to the scrutiny of your bosses. Be firm and stand your ground. If you can, begin with an area of agreement and then move in the new direction you are pursuing. It is my suggestion that you can become a force for good in your department by becoming a proactive person. Work to introduce new ideas and get out ahead of the curve. This is becoming more critical as new ways to do our work are beginning to emerge from some critical new research studies. 

Let me suggest that in becoming proactive that you will need to anticipate what is happening in the world around you. You will need to be flexible and ready to change as the facts and circumstances of a situation may dictate. Demonstrate that it is OK to change your mind from time to time. Your willingness to do this can set the tone for change in your immediate work area. The higher your rank, the larger then is your work area with your department. 

A word of caution is in order at this time. Do not change your mind too often. This is called vacillation is not a good thing to do. Stand your ground when people assault you with dreaded complaints such as:

  • We've never done it that way.
  • We have always done it this way.
  • That's not how my father did it.
  • If it ain't broken, don't fix it. (Some people cannot tell the difference between fixed and broken)

I am suggest that one of the hallmarks of the 21st Century is that you will have to open up your mind to the new ways in which we are going to be doing business in the coming years. If you open your mind to the world around you, you will become better attuned to knowing when and where changes may be needed. You can perform a valuable service by standing up and showing your department how to change.