The Fire Service Pyramid of Success Part 1

Fire station success has nothing to do with your arm patch, your fire chief, years of service, how many firefighters or fire stations your department has, or how many alarms your department responds to. Fire station success has everything to do with...


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Fire station success has nothing to do with your arm patch, your fire chief, years of service, how many firefighters or fire stations your department has, or how many alarms your department responds to. Fire station success has everything to do with you.

You can choose to be the leader of a "championship" fire station, life, crew and career. All you've got to do is begin; choose to begin building your Fire Station Pyramid of Success. Success is not about perfection. Success is not about winning. Success is not about being better than another person, another crew, another fire station or another fire department. Success is not a game of you against them; success is a one-on-one game of you against you. None of us will ever be perfect; perhaps more accurate, none of us can maintain perfection, struggling to achieve and maintain perfection will turn you into a neurotic mess.

Success is about continuous effort to learn, continuous effort to improve, and continuous effort to make your fire station and the world a better place. When you make your fire station a better place you make your fire department a better place.

As a fire officer -- a position of leadership -- your responsibility is to bring a group of firefighters together so that they reach their greatest level of competence and potential. The real challenge is to bring individual firefighters together as a high-performance team. This can be extremely difficult and challenging. However, that is your primary job and that is your primary responsibility.

It is important to acknowledge that you are in total control of your success -- not other firefighters, not other crews, not other fire stations, not your fire chief, not the mayor. It is entirely up to you. As a fire officer and as a leader, all you can offer and all that can be asked is that you always do your best. With faith and patience, the Pyramid will show you how to be the best you are capable of being.

The original Pyramid of Success was developed by the greatest basketball coach of all time: John R. Wooden. Born and raised in Indiana, Wooden began developing the foundation for the Pyramid in 1934. The Pyramid of Success was complete 14 years later, when Wooden was named head coach of the UCLA mens' basketball team. It took another 15 years for UCLA to win its first of 10 NCAA basketball championships under Wooden. Many people believe that John Wooden is the greatest team-sport coach of all time.

The Fire Station Pyramid of Success will be offered in four parts. Part 1 will introduce you to John Wooden, his principles of leadership, and introduce you to his Pyramid of Success. Part 2 will establish a foundation for personal and professional excellence. Part 3 and Part 4 will build upon the foundation by establishing principles for character, preparation, and leadership. The finished "product" is for you to establish your Fire Station Pyramid of Success.

All recognition and praise for developing the Pyramid of Success belongs to Wooden. I am merely an inspired disciple sharing his principles by adapting Wooden's Pyramid of Success for the fire service. I hope that you find Wooden's Pyramid of Success as inspiring and powerful as I do.

The Pyramid Of Success

First of all, Wooden's Pyramid of Success is not about basketball, in fact the Pyramid of Success has nothing to do with sports, wealth or power; the Pyramid of Success is about life and leadership. Lasting personal and organizational "success" is enabled through personal and organizational leadership. To understand the Pyramid of Success, you must first understand Wooden's definition of success: Success is peace of mind that is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you gave your best effort to become the best of which you are capable.

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