Making Decisions

It appears to me that not only in the fire service but in society in general there is an awful lot of decision making that is being put off by indecision. That is no decisions and subsequently no responsibility is being accepted.

We speak about planning and strategic planning and many other management techniques all of which are very valid. The problem that I am witnessing as evidenced by emails received, is that nobody is making any decisions!

We are going to meetings….we are developing plans, but nobody has an lower intentinal fortitude to act on the plans or forge ahead in any direction. Have a meeting, hire a consultant, develop a plan and maybe I will be retired and not havine to deal with it by the time it comes to fruition.

Decisions must be made!

Set a course of action before you plan, don’t plan on a course of action.

When you go on vacation, you decide where you want to go, then you plan how to get there.

I am seeing more and more leaders saying, lets develop a plan first then we will choose an option on what to do based upon the plan.

Make decisions, be flexible, not spineless.

Plans will change and must be modified as time goes by but do not be afraid to be flexible although that is extremely dangerous as it requires you to make even more decisions….yikes!

If you make decisions accept the responsibility for your actions.

Enough has been said about this in society in general but let me ask this simple question. Do you accept responsibility for your own actions and errors. Start with yourself the others might get the hint. Nobody is accepting responsibility for anything it is all about deflecting blame onto someone or something else.

Individual firefighters must be responsible for their own safety.

Individual firefighters must be held liable to follow orders.

Lieutenants and supervisors must be responsible and disciplined and accept responsibility that their subordinates are trained and will follow orders.

Chiefs must be responsible for ensuring adequate training and equipment are provided to their personnel.

City managers must provide the departments the resources necessary to fullfill the tasks they ask of their employees.

At each and every one of the levels I just stated, decisions must be made, and there is responsibility to be accepted, not deflected.

Make decisions, accept responsibility for your actions.

This joke floating around the internet drives the point home.

Firefighter’s hobbies are playing basketball.

Lieutenants hobbies are bowling.

Captain’s hobbies are playing softball.

Battalion Chiefs and deputies play baseball.

Chiefs go golfing.

Therefore, the higher in the organization you go the smaller your balls get!

(I will apologize now for those that feel insulted!)

Lighten up!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013