In Any Change, Timing Is Essential

According to Musashi in The Book of Five Rings, timing is the core principle in strategy.  You must adapt your strategy to coordinate timing with your skill, and you must know when to attack and when not to attack.  All things ebb and flow and so there is cyclical timing, as in waiting for the proper time to execute, when the energy of the defenses are low or distracted.  There is also the benefit of understanding when the energy of the defense is at it’s peak and to use varying methods to either stall, divert, or spread out the defense until the timing can be right.  Sun Tzu said: “The victorious army first realizes the conditions for victory, and then seeks to engage in battle.  The vanquished army fights first, and then seeks victory.”

I know company and chief officers who have no sense of timing.  They’ll go off half-cocked at everything and anything, thinking that by brute strength and a full-on frontal assault, they’ll impose their will on whatever comes along.  Imagine their surprise when not only do they get it wrong, but they look bad in the process.  It doesn’t matter how right you are (or think you are), if the time and opportunity don’t meet, you will find yourself on the losing end again.

As frustrating as it can be sometimes, the officer must determine which way the wind is blowing and then introduce the change (or proposal for change) when the opportunity presents itself.  And I’ll tell people again and again, as I’m telling you now, watch officers who don’t understand this and I’ll bet they’re not perceived as very successful at their jobs.

Just as water flows to conform with boundaries and seeks the most efficient path, so should the officer possess the ability to change with one’s own situation to shift between options when presented with new information.  Be aware of where loyalties lie, with the old and with the new, seek the chance to win over those on either side, and be the master of change.

  • http://www.firefighterbasics.com Marques Bush

    What an amazing topic you just put up. As a company officer and being pretty young I really find I have to reel myself back in. Pump My Brakes as some would say. This to me has been my most challenging task over the past few years because you want it and want it now. I believe if you come up under and officer who posses this skill you will adapt to it easy other wise there is a hell of a road ahead

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Michael "Mick" Mayers

Deputy Fire Chief - Operations Division for Hilton Head Island (SC) Fire Rescue and an Emergency Response Coordinator with the United States Department of Health and Human Services  National Disaster Medical System Incident Response Coordination Team.
Recent Posts
Comments
Colin Fanning
The Roto-Ray: Beauty or Beast?
One of the most important facts we reviewed when deciding on the roto ray purchase was this; With the speeds of traffic on SC 278, by the time people heard the sirens on our fire trucks our light bars (on top of the roof) were out of sight. The roto ray, with its mounted location…
2014-07-25 15:07:00
Mick Mayers
Questioning Heroism
Thanks, Bryan! I genuinely believe I do and they tend to reward me with professionalism, innovation, and compassion to our citizens daily. That's something I am happy to facilitate.
2014-07-15 04:10:00
Bryan G. Riebe
Questioning Heroism
Chief, appreciated in your response to Geoff that you work for the FFs. Believe if more Chiefs lived that philosophy our fire services would be bastions of honor, ethics, and human potential.
2014-07-15 00:05:00
Christopher Roy
Questioning Heroism
Geoff, EMS, as its own service, does not have a strong voice and in turn, does not get the respect in the media/public that it does deserve. I do hope that changes. EMS doesn't have a home either, and that doesn't help. There are so many different delivery methods in this country that its probably…
2014-07-14 23:49:00
Mick Mayers
Questioning Heroism
I'm sorry you feel that way, Geoff. The department I work with has been doing EMS (advanced care AND transport) with cross-trained personnel for over twenty years and doing a pretty good job. Our community expects a certain level of service that we have been able to provide through that model and while not every…
2014-07-14 22:01:00

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Although I am affiliated or employed by certain entities, I in no way speak in this forum or others on behalf of those entities unless I have specifically stated such. Any implication otherwise is doing so contrary to my agreements with those entities. The result is that the observations and opinions by myself or on behalf of Firehouse Zen are not sanctioned by any other entity other than Graffiti Train Sherpa Publications and are protected by the copyright laws of the United States of America.

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