Professional?

 

TFCA 2012

Do you consider yourself a professional? Most trades that require a specific knowledge or training do. From construction, manufacturing, sales and service, all will be acknowledged a professional at some point and time.

When I studied the origins of the term “professional”, it took me through history.  In the pre-industrial world, a professional was an elite highly educated person that was established as a pro by a long study capped by a societal recognition, (Doctor, Layer, etc.).  Today, almost every trade has a board that recognizes their specialty as a profession.

So where do firefighters fall into the “professional” strata? Training, and credentialing and more than anything else, public acceptance. Although many States do not regulate firefighter credentials, it is up to you as an individual to embrace the profession as one that demands high standards in training and performance. Being “highly trained” will set you apart, even within the fire service. One of the biggest pieces of the professional status is your reputation in the public eye.  Your customers aren’t as impressed with your credentials as they are with how you treat them. How you make someone feel will be remembered long after the incident is over.

I have heard many a salty dog tell me that their years of service has given them a PhD of the job.  I have also heard many highly papered officers embarrass me with their lack of operational knowledge. Somewhere in between the “profession” must regulate itself with accountability of our performance to stay inline with our mission.

Becoming a pro, in the end, is nothing grander than growing up.  Steven Pressfield –

A professional is someone who is trained in an expertise that separates them from others not trained. There are many variations of the definition, I like Merriam Webster’s take;
(1) : characterized by or conforming to the technical or
ethical standards of a profession (2) : exhibiting a
courteous, conscientious, and generally
businesslike manner in the workplace.
If you think you are a professional because you get “paid” for your work, you may be missing the boat…. Set yourself apart from others by being a professional at all times.

Parting shot; What happen to firefighters being skilled tradesmen?  Have we lost our way somewhere along the line chasing a professional status?  what say you?

 

photo credit: Texas Fire Chief’s Academy 2012

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Are you planting trees, or feeling the pull of gravity?

Tree

 

When is the best time to plant a tree?  Twenty years ago. When is the second best time to plant a tree? Now!

– Proverb

I know where I need to be and what I should be doing, but the motivation, sometimes, is not here.  The work to be done is daunting and includes the not so fun stuff. Holding people accountable, making a decision that is not popular and the rare occasion in which I realize I am wrong and need to regroup (lol).

How do I get the tree planted today? One step at a time. Movement overcomes the pull of   gravity from the tasks. Like Nike says, “Just Do It”!

My writing has fallen off (gravity), my exercise has all but ceased (gravity), but today is the day to plant the tree. Today is the day I find my flow of movement.

“Someone sits in the shade of a tree today, because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

 

My question today is; Are you planting trees or are you just sitting in the shade? What are you doing?

Pikes Place Fish Market-Revisted

Pikes Peak Fish -Revisted. via Pikes Peak Fish -Revisted.

fish

This is a great story about the Seattle-based “Pikes Place Fish Market” and their philosophy of having a good attitude and fun at work with great customer service.  My question this morning is; How can we use this in the fire service today? without compromising compassion and customer service.  Please chime in with your thoughts and/or other ideas to raise our profession to a new level of customer service through great attitudes.

 

Thanks Tony for the article;

http://acorr1954.wordpress.com

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How to Be

great-leaders

Do you ever wonder how some leaders just “get it”? Like they were born with super-leadership abilities. These are the ones we study and probe to see if the secret ingredient can be duplicated. It never fails, that once we get close enough to really know them, we find out that they’re as normal as everyone else in the world. No super-leadership abilities, just a consistent way of seeing the world around them. A consistent walk that reflects that outlook.

Consistency is related to a great deal of leadership traits; trust, ethics, sincerity. It is also maintaining a theme of what you believe in and how your actions are aligned with what you espouse as  a leader.  The dots have to connect.

A very impressive leader, that I’ve been blessed to know, teaches that the foundation of leading others simply lies in being who you are. Another famous leadership sage, Frances Hesselbein, espouses “leadership is how to be, not how to do”.

Although I recommend that you are well versed in the leadership styles and legacies of all the greats, like Drucker, Collins, and Bennis, you also need to be cognizant of human psychology and current social trends. More than both of these, you need to know who you are, and how you are perceived. The hard part when this is known, is to remember to “be yourself”. Be genuine and embrace what makes you, you.

Great things are accomplished by talented people who believe they will accomplish them.
Warren G. Bennis

StrengthsFinder 2.0 out of Gallup is a great starting point in this discovery. It will also be a resource to learn about those around you and what makes them tic. If you really live within your strengths, you will be genuine, happy and an influencer of others, as long as you remember to consider the you impact on your potential followers.

Question?

How do you think others perceive you?  Think of a close professional relationship and then ask yourself, “would their impression of themselves match your impression of them”?

 

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Stop Talking Start Communicating

Stop Talking Start Communicating http://tumlin.com/book/

Please check out Dr. Tumlin’s book. There is no better advice in life or business than this book. Should be a mandatory read.

No matter what this job is, you must decide to do it well.

MLK.monument1-460x260

“No matter what this job is, you must decide to do it well. Do it so well that the living, the dead, or the unborn (Yes) can’t do it better. (Yeah) If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Raphael painted pictures; sweep streets like Michelangelo carved marble; sweep streets like Beethoven composed music; sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry; sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: “Here lived a great street sweeper (All right), who swept his job well.” (Oh yes)If you can’t be a pine on the top of the hill, Be a shrub in the valley (Well)—but be The best shrub on the side of the hill.” –Dr. Martin Luther King

Although this excerpt was not a part of the “I have a dream” speech fifty years ago, it does ring true for leadership and remembering the insight of Dr. King.

I was told of a waste water worker in my city this past week, who has done his job for over 25 years. The director over this division spent a day with this man and had to tell me of his experience. He said this inspirational man stopped to thank God, several times throughout the day, for allowing him the opportunity to serve his family through his work. He thanked God while he was holding a suction hose picking up clogs of solid waste. The story goes on to say this man has done this for most, if not his entire career. He is also known as the best waste water worker in our city, possibly anywhere.  His enthusiasm is contagious, his knowledge and expertise is admirable, and his heart is inspiring.

Sometimes we lose focus on our purpose in life. We separate our personal life from our work life, like the two have no connection. How can we be the best at our career craft, without being the best at home? I guess the question could be refined to; what is the underpinning for your pursuit to be the best? Is it self-satisfaction? Is it in the service of others? and if so, then who are you trying to serve?

I’m as guilty as anyone at competing at work and switching gears at home to just “be”. This is the struggle I’m working on, being the best I can be in “life” rather than at a career. I am trying to focus my service on a higher calling that will collaterally serve all of my life and those who share it with me, be it home, work or those I will never meet, like the waste water worker, whom I’ve not met, (yet).

This post is a stray from my normal ranting. But it’s a step… for me.

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Who’s driving?

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who’ll decide where to go.” -Dr. Seuss

Are you a follower or a leader? A watcher or a performer? Who did you influence today?  I believe we all fall into both titles to varying degrees every day, but when you reflect on your day, which one will you be remembered for?