Why we can’t get a better understanding across our personal dividing lines, I don’t know. But instead of talking about what color helmets we wear and how many lights we have on our POVs, maybe we should be taking on issues like recruitment of good people, understanding why some communities require career personnel and some must do with volunteers, understanding that some of us choose to be career and some find that they can volunteer in their communities, and some can actually do both, and any number of subjects.
Like it or not, organizational values define organizational culture. These values help guide you in times when hard decisions must be made under ambiguous situations. When organizations lack defined values, or personnel don’t understand them as the gospel truth, they don’t always reflect those values when challenged.
Our job entails more than just responding to emergencies. It entails responding to community needs and assisting our neighbors. That assistance comes in many forms, but the agencies who get it will be survivors, and those who don’t, well, I think you can figure that out yourself. It’s not a matter of “if”, but “when”.
I am a firefighter because I literally grew up in a firehouse. My grandfather was a firefighter’s firefighter. His nickname was “Smokey”. He was the Chief Fire Marshal in Montgomery County, PA up until his death in 1981. My uncles and my father all became firefighters as a result of his influence; not just firefighters but leaders in their field. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be.
If your small unit leaders aren’t on board with organizational vision, don’t count on the personnel they supervise joining in to resist them in carrying the desired vision out. It will be much easier on those troops if they can get along with their misdirected officer than if they embrace the change, so you can count on the message not getting through when it is most needed.