Successful Coaches Match Schemes to Personnel, Not Vice-Versa


Hilton Head and Bluffton, SC firefighters training on structural collapse.

When you don't have the resources internally, develop partnerships.

Successful coaches don’t force a system down the throats of their personnel without a very good reason. Instead, through careful evaluation of skill sets, they point their personnel toward positions in which they will have the greatest impact.

I’m a huge football fan. I’m impressed by teams that are able to recruit and develop personnel to fit their particular schema.  But there are also those who try to take a scheme they have bought into wholesale and refuse to adjust based on what their personnel can and can’t do.

If you wonder about what I’m getting at, look at it like this: If you are a fire chief in a small town or suburban department and insist that your department uses tactics employed in the big urban departments, I would suggest that you objectively evaluate the success you have with that and consider using different tactics.  Truly urban fire departments can bring resources to bear quickly. Urbanized areas often have great water supply and relatively short response times.  In a lot of departments around our nation, we don’t have an unlimited amount of companies to throw at an incident. We don’t have great water supplies everywhere.  As a result, we must find alternative delivery methods.

If you fail to admit this to yourself and choose to ignore the need to develop other abilities, you will continue fighting the same battles with the same results.  Develop vision and understand that there are other ways to do the job you do and to provide the service desired by your community, by getting them to help solve some of these issues.  Open up some planning sessions to the public and solicit ideas.  See if the people you serve have ideas that can provide resources you didn’t think were available.  If anything, the participants will enjoy learning more about what it is we do, as well as to educate the public on the things we really need.

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