Okay, It’s 2012: Now What?

An article on the Buddhist Channel website quoted His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, as he "called on people to be responsible human beings, to think more of the entire world they live in, rather than caring about their own narrow interests alone, as a way out of the global crisis." The Dalai Lama went on to say that avarice and short-sightedness were to blame, adding that people were guided by emotion and did not think of the long-term consequences.

Later int he article, the Dalai Lama was quoted as having said: "To establish harmony in these relations, we need to learn other religions. If you focus on traditions of different religions, you'll see that there are many similarities. If there are some 'bad' people among representatives of one religion, one must not judge by it about religion as a whole."

I was speaking yesterday with my officers as I made my rounds.  A few weeks back I sent a questionnaire to my personnel, asking them, basically, to conduct a SWOT analysis of our organization over 2011.  If you aren't aware, SWOT is an acronym for "Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats".  This is a tool you can use to perform  analysis prior to conducting strategic planning for your team.

When the surveys were returned, there were some things that I took personally.  That's not hard to do when you have ownership of your organization and I have always believed if there were problems, I could take care of them and I don't wait for others to take action.  But before reacting to those statements, I stopped and reflected a little bit.  When I spoke with my officers, as always, I reiterated to them that many of our problems, not just in our department, but in society, come from an unwillingess, or an inability to see the situation from another person's point of view.  In this case it was evident that I thought I had all the answers and it was not the case.  In fact, my involvement in some situations may very well have exacerbated some of the problems.

I give my officers a considerable amount of leeway because they have my trust,  And so you know, this isn't that feel-good Kumbaya "I trust you even when you screw me on every instance I leave you alone" kind of trust either.  My officers earned my trust and they make good decisions, not just to support the organization, but even more so, on behalf of the community we serve.  So when they tell me they have a problem with me, it isn't them complaining, it's the feedback I asked for and the feedback I deserve.

Any time you have a problem with someone, it really helps to reflect on the situation and ask yourself if there was a possibility you had something to do with that problem.  It may be that we weren't clear, or we trusted too much and didn't provide any preparation, or there may have been some other sort of issue.  But regardless, it is up to us to put ego aside and determine what the cause of the problem was and instead of pointing fingers, to determine what we can do to resolve the issues, educate everyone involved, and to move forward.

So here you are and its a new year.  What better time to look at things from a new perspective and to better understand the issues you deal with daily?  Instead of focusing on who screwed up, try focusing on what happened to get us in this jam to begin with, and then, what can we do to avoid having it happen again.  I have heard it said before, if you spend too much time looking in the rearview mirror, you are very likely going to crash into whatever is in front of you.

As the first act of this year, let's resolve to do less pointing of fingers and more walking a mile in another's shoes.  I think by approaching some of our challenges this way we might find more commonalities than differences, and in changing, find healing and growth. 

  • http://www.petskidsphotography.com Alexandra

    Interesting article about walkng a mile in someone else's shoes…I stumbled upon your blog while searching about the Dalai. I agree that by studying different religions, one does see the parallel thoughts in all the religions. I am Christian, and at one point I did study Judaism and Islam to compare and contrast from my own roots. Happy 2012! Keep the faith!

  • http://www.firehousezen.com Michael “Mick” Mayers


    My most sincere apologies. I have been very busy and did not even see your comment had been submitted and was awaiting approval.  Thank you for your comment.

    I do like to look at all the different teachings and wonder why people can't see how much they have in common. But I guess that's what keeps it interesting.

    Hopefully you will read more here and be back.  Thanks again and Happy New Year to you as well!

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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.

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I like the sentiment but I think the responsibility has to include everyone in the organization. The fire service has a paternalistic view of management and leadership. Ie one you have a bugle....... We adopted a military model of discipline and leadership from WW2. Our troops are not 19 year old boys that we have…
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Thanks for sharing that perspective!
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Very well stated sir!
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Thanks for reading!
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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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