Are You Personally & Professionally Developing, Part 2

October 9, 2023

In Part 1, I opened with a quote and a question from the Denver business coach Gary Barnes when he said, “99% of your current results are on purpose, either subconsciously or consciously.” Gary also asked, “Are you a participant or a spectator?”

Incident action planning tools

As a battalion chief, I used several tools to assist with tracking resources, decision-making, and long-range planning on fires, technical rescues, and haz mat incidents.

For wildland fires, I used maps, an incident action plan, an incident organizer, and the Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG). As an incident commander during the initial attack phase, I not only used the IRPG, but I also worked on completing the incident organizer. Why? Because both helped in developing the incident organization and building the incident action plan.

If I neglected to use either tool, I risked staring aimlessly into space, shooting spitballs, and hoping that all would go well. Hope is a good quality, but it is not a strategy or a viable course of action.

What is your action plan?

Likewise, if we do not have a plan to develop ourselves, then we resemble the steel ball inside a pinball machine. Bouncing off the bumpers and making a lot of noise but showing little progress for the effort.

How do you create a personal development plan? When I formulated an incident action plan at the scene of an emergency, I needed to know the situation facing me. The same principle is applied to developing your action plan: what is the situation before you?

Invest the time to conduct an honest assessment of your leadership knowledge, skills, and abilities by asking:

  • What are your core values?
  • What are your strengths and areas for improvement?
  • What leadership training have you had in the past year or past five years?
  • What books, journals, and articles are you reading?
  • Identify existing gaps in your leadership training.

This is not an end-all list, and you may think of other questions. The important point to remember is to be honest and do not candy coat the exercise. Review your answers and distill those into four areas: what is your current situation (including leadership gaps), what are you doing, what do you need to do, and what will you do? Remember, there is a difference between intention and deliberate action.

The last question in the paragraph above, what will you do, is directly tied into what you need to do. At this point, establish SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely) and commit to becoming a better leader. Why should you do this?

  • Because America and the world lacks character-based leaders who adhere to strong core values.
  • You will better serve those around you including your family.
  • You will become a better employee and citizen.
  • You will positively impact others.

Take command of your career development

In my last blog, I wrote that it is your responsibility to take command of your career development. Visit my website at Tailboard Talks – Fire Officer Leadership Academy to learn more about how you can do this or write to me at [email protected].

©2023 Rick Davis. Artificial intelligence (AI) WAS NOT used to generate this content.

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