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Action Needed to Achieve Results

The most important thing a leader can do is get results. Obviously, leaders do not get results by themselves — they get them by leading others.

Leaders motivate others to get the results that their group or organization needs. One result that the fire service continuously strives to provide is the best possible service to the community. This may include simple actions such as assisting someone back into bed, or the dangerous and difficult challenge of rescuing an occupant from a burning building.

Merely motivating firefighters isn’t enough. The fire crew is only useful when it takes action to get results. When skilled, motivated firefighters take strong action, the results are limitless. Company officers who don’t believe that don’t understand leadership and the power of action to achieve results.

What is action? Action is not what we think or feel; it’s what we physically do. Many times we get caught up in what we believe we are doing. We create action or achievement in our minds. When we do this, we miss the important actions that we, as a team, are doing or failing to do. This leads to a failure to focus on the real mission, which is the main cause of negative or limited results.

Only action can get results. Leaders and their crews must take physical action to get real results. They must walk-the-walk, and not just talk-the-talk. Ask yourself and your crew, “Do we talk a great fire, or do we fight a great fire?” Be honest and take a moment to discuss it.

Action flow charts
On paper, draw an action flow chart of the results that you and your crew have achieved, or failed to achieve. It could be anything from the completion of company inspections to low turnout times at the fire station or training on high-risk, low-frequency tactics.

On the right side of the paper, list the results. On the left side draw the sequence of actions that lead to the results. What could you change to achieve better results? Drawing the chart helps everyone to see both the actions and the results. Which actions will you stop, which actions will you continue to do, and which new actions do you need to start?

Once you and your crew identify and agree on the results, change those positive actions into processes and inject them into your daily operations. Live and practice them together, as a team, to continue to achieve consistent and positive results.

Build actions into your daily meetings with the crew. Define the context for the actions you and your crew will take. Don’t just make a “to do” list. Explain the reality of the actions to them.

For example, you and your crew must complete three pre-fire plans this month. The quantity of the pre-fire plans is not the important part; it’s the quality of each pre-fire plan and what it can do for you and your crew — the result.

Explain that pre-fire plans provide firefighters with knowledge of a building prior to an emergency and that this familiarity will not only increase their operational efficiency but will also enhance their safety.

Real actions get real results. As firefighters, we live and die by results. The communities we serve expect only the best results. Recognizing, practicing, and monitoring real, physical actions will help you and your firefighters achieve continuous positive results.

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