Saturday, January 31, 2015

Followership is Leadership: Conformity Bias



2015 Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge: Followership is Leadership

Stepping up and saying or doing something takes courage. Courageous followers avoid the bias to conform.



#‎followershipisleadership‬ ‪#‎followership‬

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Begin the challenge today by downloading the 2015 Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge: Followership is Leadership Reference Guide.

Friday, January 30, 2015

There's More to Learn



An interviewer asked President Bill Clinton, "What is the most important thing you have learned?" President Bill Clinton replied, "There's more to learn. That we should all be hungry for a lifetime."

He goes on to explain that we are never to old to learn and that our brains make new connections.
  • What hunger resides within you that you need to feed?
  • What are you doing to expand your brain power and keep learning?
Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge - Digging Deeper
We challenge you to continue learning. Reflect upon your desires and dreams and make a plan to pursue something new.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

South Puget South Region Fire Program Succeeds

(left to right) Sean Kibbe, Brian Looper, Charley Burns, and Matt Caldwell
Congratulations to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources' South Puget Sound Region fire program on their recent achievement. They received a set of books for their participation in the 2014 IGNITE the Spark for Leadership - From the Field for the Field Contest. The contest was part of the Wildland Fire Leadership Campaign - The Resilient Team.

Become a part of the movement today and take the 2015 Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge: Follwership is Leadership.

2015 Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge logo

Food for Thought - Mastering Our Jobs

We fulfill our obligations by mastering our jobs, making sound and timely decisions, ensuring tasks can be done and are accomplished, and fostering this spirit of duty in subordinates. –Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 25
We fulfill our obligations by mastering our jobs, making sound and timely decisions, ensuring tasks can be done and are accomplished, and fostering this spirit of duty in subordinates.  – Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 25
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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Are You Up for the Challenge?

Followership to Leadership - Are you up for the challenge?

Challenge Background
The mission of the Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program (WFLDP) is “to promote cultural change in the workforce and to emphasize the vital importance of leadership concepts in the wildland fire service by providing educational and leadership development opportunities.” Since 2013, the WFLDP has challenged its followers to devote a portion of their leadership development efforts around a nationally-centered theme. Challenge themes have included "Leading with Courage" in 2013, "The Resilient Team" in 2014, and "Followership to Leadership" for 2015.

The purpose of the challenge is three-fold: (1) to foster a cohesive effort to promote leadership development across disciplines, (2) to provide a template that can be used to encourage leadership development at the local unit level, and (3) to provide a mechanism to collect innovative leadership development efforts and share across disciplines.

Every year, challenge organizers provide a reference guide with a suite of leadership activities local units can use to promote the theme. Facilitation of activities is voluntary; challenge participants are encouraged to develop their own activities with the hope they will share with others.

Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge logo

Who Can Take the Challenge?
What began as a challenge within the wildland fire service was broadened in 2015 to include any discipline willing to accept the challenge. The WFLDP sees the value in cross-cultural knowledge sharing and the contribution that this effort can have across disciplines.

All students of leadership, regardless of their affiliation to a wildland fire entity, are encouraged to participate and contribute to the development of the wider community. Members of the all-hazard community are highly encouraged to participate.

IGNITE the Spark for Leadership Contest
Throughout the nation, wildland fire leaders are building teams and developing their people using tools they have found or developed themselves. Imagine if students of leadership shared their experiences and successes with one another. Consider the possibility of going to a website such as the WFLDP and having a ready-made palette of leadership development tools from which to choose—items from the field for the field.

Using the spirit of healthy competition among wildland fire crews and personnel, the IGNITE the Spark for Leadership Contest is intended to be one of the mechanisms used to collect innovative leadership efforts to be shared across disciplines. The IGNITE the Spark for Leadership Contest is an optional component of the Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge and limited to entities with a tie to the wildland fire service.

Although the contest is limited to members of the wildland fire service, campaign organizers welcome the contributions of all participants. Activities received will be considered when populating the palette of leadership development tools.

Contest Winners
In 2013, the WFLDP selected Colorado's Boulder County Sheriff's Office Special Operations, as winners of the IGNITE the Spark for Leadership Contest. Their program used a variety of learning opportunities such as survival training, sand table exercises, Leadership in Cinema, and keynote speakers. This effort involved 75 special operations personnel over an 11-month period. 

Ruby Mtn. IHC 2014 From the Field for the Field Award Winner banner

The 2014 winners are the Bureau of Land Management's Ruby Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew (IHC) from Elko, Nevada. Ruby Mountain IHC fully incorporated the challenge into their 2014 fire season. Following the theme's key points, Ruby Mountain IHC built resiliency throughout their organization through such activities as a simulations, team building, and incorporating many tools from the Wildland Fire Leadership Toolbox such as Leadership in Cinema, experiential learning, and in-depth review of wildland fire accidents and incidents.

Are you up for the challenge? 
For more information and accept the challenge, download the 2015 Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge - Followership is Leadership Reference Guide (visit http://www.fireleadership.gov) or contact Pam McDonald at blm_fa_leadership_feedback@blm.gov or 208-387-5318. Together we can make a difference and IGNITE the Spark for Leadership!

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About the Author:
Pam McDonald is a writer/editor for BLM Wildland Fire Training and Workforce Development and Logistics/Social Media Administrator for the NWCG Leadership Subcommittee. The expressions above are those of the author.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Food for Thought - Good Leadership

Good leadership is never accidental. – Unknown
Good leadership is never accidental. – Unknown
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Friday, January 23, 2015

Giving Your Best



Are you giving your best effort? Those you work for, those who follow you, and those in your personal life deserve your best. In this Longhorn Network video, actor Matthew McConaughey speaks with members of the Texas Longhorn football team following a loss to Brigham Young University.

Video Highlights
  • Get to know your people.
  • Don't "preach" to your people; have a conversation with them.
  • Ask yourself why you do what you do.
  • Push yourself to be better than you think you can be.
  • Find a way to relax.
  • Be resilient and bounce back from diversities.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Food for Thought - Learning from Mistakes

Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself. – Eleanor Roosevelt

Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself. – Eleanor Roosevelt
IGNITE the Spark for Leadership and SHARE throughout your networks. #fireleadership #fireminis

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Showing Up for Leadership



In this TedTalk video, Bruce Avolio shares his thoughts on how people show up for leadership. How do you show up as a leader?

  • Like an annointed king or queen?
  • Born?
  • Made?
  • With great expectations?
  • Owning your leadership role?
  • Going up and over the top?
  • With everyone?

Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge - Digging a Little Deeper

  • Watch the video and then analyze your leadership or discuss with others the following questions:
    • Do your subordinates have a sense of ownership for what they do?
    • Are your subordinates valued for what they do?
    • Do you bring out the best in those you lead?
    • Are you growing others?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Food for Thought - Molders of Consensus

A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
IGNITE the Spark for Leadership and SHARE throughout your networks. #fireleadership #fireminis

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Art of War


"The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting." ~ Sun Tzu
(Photo credit: iz quotes)
The Art of War
by Al Mozingo

Introduction
Over the years I've heard references to The Art of War several times. But, I never read the book. Recently I picked up a book called The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi. Within the context of that book, he writes about The Art of War.

The book is divided into three segments: The Killing Sword, The Life-Giving Sword, and No Sword. Even though this book is about ancient times and about war, it may be applicable to us today. There are references that these apply to business, our everyday lives, and what we say and do. They apply to our interpersonal relations and how we behave and act.

The Art of War describes a conflict between good and evil; between life and death. The book describes how we can use our ability to create strategies to win. There are people who present good as bad and pretend to be righteous. We must be on the lookout to observe with utmost attention to discern what is right and wrong. People will be concern with their own interest and not acting in consideration of others. This causes problems, resentfulness, and angriness.

The Art of War is to give you knowledge, to have strategies to give life to many people by killing evil. The three scrolls (swords) convey this knowledge to strive for goodness--to do what is right.

The Killing Sword
The first lesson is the attainment of the way. To learn, to understand, and to articulate these principles learning is the gate.

Next, we must practice the art and study. To spontaneously conform to learning without consciously being aware of it is part of The Art of War. When you have succeeded in learning, it is a part of you, incorporated into your personality. This achievement is built on cultivating learning a practice.

In the Zen Arts, this learning has progressed into harmonizing your self-conscious knowledge into your unconscious. The inward attitude is called the will and what emanates outwardly is called mood. It is essential to control your mood by your will. If you're not mindful of this, the will can be drawn into by the mood. Then you're using your emotions.

To allow you to succeed and to gain victory you must control the mind. Get the other person to make the first move. This is the appropriate strategy to The Art of War. The methods of seeing what is happening is implementing a strategy and to induce the other person to tip their hand. This will allow you to gain victory by seeing what strategy they are using.

To gain the victory you need to keep your mind on the idea before you, This is done by developing single-minded concentration. This must be practice. This single-minded concentration will allow you to conceive, act and follow through to win.

Now concerning an attack. A hasty attack is a bad thing. To press aggressively is only after preparing yourself mentally and observing the situation. It is essential not to get flustered or you may loose. Observe your adversary's condition for resentfulness or anger. Be aware these things can cause you a problem.

One who thinks they know everything is inept. One who has attained realization and is upright is called "enlightened." The upright mind is called the mind of the Way. Attainment of the Way is important and will allow you to know much and to be adept.

"The First Sword" is a code word for seeing any incipient movement. You are to be observant and be able to perceive the impulses and actions of an adversary. To perceive this is called "one seeing." Perceiving with the eyes is called seeing something. To perceive with the mind is called observing something. You need to develop both.

The primary reason for "one to see," is to perceive what is happening, whether it exists and to understand the abilities and intentions of another. Seeing with the eyes is subordinate to seeing with the mine. The mind can see things far away, before the eyes can actually see it. The mind can help prepare you beforehand.

The Life-Giving Sword
People's abilities and intentions are manifested in many ways. You must be on the lookout for these to win. Do what is good; throw away what is bad. You should not be too quick or too slow. In a casual manner, do what is right. When you act to quickly, you will be flustered. When you act too slowly, you are timid.

"The First Principle" is a code word in marital arts. In the context of the Art of War, it means to keep a clear mind, pay close attention and make sure you don't get caught unprepared.

The face can tell intentions. The color of the face changes with feelings and moods. If the blood rises and the face turns red, the person may be angry. Keep watch. If their is a flow and a smile, this is good. Keep a watch for this. It is the energy in the body, and the body that tells a story. The principle is very relevant in dealing with people.

No Sword
When you have no sword and unarmed you can still prevail. You can take another sword away. This is the aim of the swordless, to win the fight with no sword. Attitude is the basic idea of swordlessness.

Zen monks are able to harmonize with the truth. Using the truth in what you say and do is very important. This allows one to have "great spiritual power." Working freely and independently, you can perceive the concealing of intentions, deceptions and actions of others. Always keep aware and see with your mind.

Mastery is what your trying to attain as a good fighter. You have great potential if you are attentive to everything. Your potential will mature and increase if you are watchful. To be attentive your mind must not linger. It is essential to practice an attitude of not dwelling on any one thing. You must be ready at all times. Always do what is right, keeping your mind on that which is needed (rightness).

Conclusion

The book is very complex and esoteric. We need to reflect upon our thinking on what is being said in its' pages. Our own enlightenment comes from reflection, training, truth, and doing what is right. Let us all affirm what is right and strive to do what is right.

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Reference:

The Book of Five Rings, Miyamoto Musashi, translated by Thomas Cleary, Shambhala Publications, Boston, MA 1993

About the Author:

Al Mozingo is well-versed in leadership training and a certified leadership development instructor. He teaches Basic and Advanced Leadership. See Mr. Mozingo’s website: www.firemanager.com.

Printed with permission from the author.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Food for Thought - Involve Them

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. – Benjamin Franklin
Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. – Benjamin Franklin
IGNITE the Spark for Leadership. LIKE and SHARE throughout your networks. #fireleadership #fireminis

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

From the Field for the Field Contest Winners

Ruby Mountain IHC Award Winner banner

The WLFDP is proud to announce the winners of the 2014 IGNITE the Spark for Leadership - From the Field for the Field Contest.  The following teams are to be recognized on jobs well-done! Congratulations for IGNITING the Spark for Leadership.

  • First Place: Ruby Mountain IHC
  • Runner Up: Carson City BLM Fire and Aviation 
  • Honorable Mention: South Puget Sound Region, Washington State Department of Natural Resources
  • Honorable Mention: Uinta Wasatch Cache - South Zone, US Forest Service 

Each group will receive a set of books for their leadership library.

In the near future, application packages will posted on the WFLDP website.

Storytelling

by Justin Vernon

A few days ago the Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program posted a question about storytelling on their Facebook page, and that kick started my thought process about the topic.

Let me start off by saying I love good storytelling, especially stories that are true. I’ve always read some varieties of fiction, mainly Louis L’Amour westerns and sci-fi and fantasy in the style of Douglas Adams, J.R.R. Tolkien and Robert Jordan, along with smatterings of other fiction. But for the most part I find myself drawn to the stories that are true, found in memoirs, biographies, and the like. I often find that reality provides us with stories that are better than can be created in an author’s imagination, because sometimes reality is so improbable that one couldn’t just make it up. More than that, for me at least, I find that true stories simply resonate more strongly with me than fiction does. That’s probably because as I read a work of fiction, I’m always aware that it’s a fabrication, that the author is likely writing events in a purposeful manner to create or invoke certain emotions for the reader. In non-fiction stories, there isn’t that same sense, real or imagined, that the author is trying to manipulate my thought process.

Anyway, back to storytelling. One of the things I love most about working in wildland fire, and aviation especially, is the storytelling that happens whenever a group of people come together. There’s always a slow time when the stories start to roll out – whether it’s sitting around the office or station over a cup of coffee waiting for an IA, or out in the field during mop-up. Given that many fire people have an adventurous nature and goofy temperament to some degree, the stories of screwups, mishaps, and improbable successes are almost always good for a laugh.

I think it’s often overlooked that wildland firefighting is primarily a culture where oral traditions reign supreme. At least in my experience, most fire folks are in fire because they enjoy working in the woods, and activities like reading just aren’t that high on the priority list. Very few of us ended up in this line of work because we enjoyed office buildings and paperwork. While there are notable exceptions, most folks don’t carry books in their gear bags. I remember that I was in college, studying forestry with a combination of timber beasts and fire folks, when I realized that most of my peers didn’t read for pleasure, and even reading for school or work was avoided when possible. As I’ve grown older and more observant, I’ve realized that while reading isn’t a priority for this culture, oral storytelling takes the place of reading in transferring knowledge, traditions, best practices, and cultural norms among members of the group. Thus storytelling in its various forms has a more powerful role to play in the fire community than might be expected at first glance.

Telling stories is a powerful way to exchange information, and establish commonalities among members of the group. It’s amazing how often you can find that despite having a completely different background from someone you’ve just met, you share similar experiences. Stories are one way in which we can establish common experiences with one another, and in the fire realm, can be great tool when building a team. Sitting around a beer-filled table, or around a bonfire beer in hand while sharing stories is one of our culture’s primary means of forming bonds within the group, outside of shared experiences on the fireline.

It’s also a way for us, as the “crusty old salts,” to pass information on to the younger people in our lives. I still remember soaking up random bits and pieces of information listening to the more experienced folks on the crew swap stories around the hangar when I started working in helitack a decade ago. It’s impossible for us to share our knowledge all at once with the next generation, and storytelling is a way of parceling out that knowledge when it’s appropriate to do so, whether over beers after work or around the shop sharpening saws and tools after a day of project work.

Informal storytelling is also a way that we can share our negative experiences in an environment that is relatively safe for the person doing the sharing. Formal means of exploring accidents, screwups, failures, etc, often have a negative association, whereas informal storytelling can be a safer way to share your experience, and what you learned from your screwup. Think of the powerful learning moments in your life, and I bet you’ll find more occurred in a storytelling situation than during a formal learning event.

Storytelling is personal, and that personal connection you get when telling or listening to a story is important in the increasingly disconnected environment of 21st century social interaction. We tend to pay more attention to things when they’re relevant, when there’s a personal connection or relationship with the story being told, and when we pay attention we usually get more out out of it than if it doesn’t hold our attention.

A great example for me is the story of South Canyon/Storm King. I’d read the reports, and I’d read Fire on the Mountain, and while interesting, it really wasn’t all that personal. This past summer Eric Hipke with the National Interagency Fire Center released a two-part video telling the story South Canyon in the words of those who were there. For me that video made an impact beyond what reading about the event had. When you see the faces of those involved, and you can read their emotions, see their pain, still strong twenty years later, and imagine being in their shoes, it becomes personal, and more real.

I like telling stories. I’ve been blessed to have experiences in my life and career that are somewhat unique in nature, and they make for some great stories. For me at least, storytelling is as much about defining who we are as it is entertaining or teaching and learning. My stories are part of who I am, pieces of the puzzle that is me. Like puzzle pieces, each story can be interesting in and of itself, but it’s only when all the pictures are assembled that you see the sum of the parts. It doesn’t matter if it’s your stories, painting a picture of your life, or the stories of you organization or family, painting a bigger picture – there’s value in the storytelling that is often missed in the digital age.

Until next time…

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Justin Vernon is a regular guest contributor on our blog. Justin works for the United States Forest Service and is a member of Sparks for Professional Reading Program Change. Check out his Chasing Fire blog. All expressions are those of the author.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Food for Thought - Praise

Leaders praise and reward appropriately, as required by the effort and situation. – Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 58  IGNITE the Spark for Leadership.

Leaders praise and reward appropriately, as required by the effort and situation. – Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 58
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Friday, January 9, 2015

Are Your Roots Deep and Strong?

Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program logo with roots
Leadership development is similar to growing a tree. With proper care and nourishment, our roots grow deep and strong. Without proper care, we may still grow. Our roots may grow shallow, reducing our ability to withstand the elements. Our future growth and ability to thrive compromised.

The Leadership Environment
The environment in which growth occurs has an impact on development. The tree on the left (below) is the parent to the one on the right. Neither has a pot big enough to support proper development. The parent gets an abundant amount of light from an east-facing window; the offspring, only light from a north-facing window and weekday office lighting.

 

Both trees are root-bound, but the branches give us insight into their early development. The parent probably had a container, possibly this pot, large enough to support its initial growth. The offspring was transplanted from the parent's pot into one about half the size of the one shown. When transplanted to its current pot, the offspring had plenty of room to grow. Now, the pot inhibits growth and resiliency. Because the pots are not the plant's native enviornments, they must rely upon outside intervention to provide for their care.

Becoming the Master Gardener of Your Development
Just as with tree growth and development, we need a quality leadership development environment in order to grow and thrive. To develop strong, deep roots, we need space and proper care; and we cannot rely upon someone else to provide for our nurturing. If we only take the classes our superiors allow us to take and never dig any deeper, our roots will grow shallow--our roots bound by the limitations of our environment. By becoming the master gardeners of our own development, we remove the limits for growth and development, and the opportunity for developing strong roots and sturdy branches emerges.

Continued Nurturing
As with the trees, we cannot just plant the seeds of leadership and ignore them. We cannot take a class or attend an event, feed it for a short period, and then drop our care for the next best thing. We owe it to ourselves and those with whom we live and serve to be good leaders--to become life-long learners both on and off the fireline. Leadership transcends wildland fire service boundaries; we are leaders in our homes and communities as spouses, parents, and productive members of society.

Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge - Digging a Little Deeper

  • What are you doing to further your leadership development? Take a moment to develop a strategy to nurture your leadership self-development. Schedule time in your calendar to grow and thrive. This may include reading, volunteering, mentoring, taking a class, attending an event, listening to a podcast, or assume a leadership position outside your day job.
  • Be an active participant in leadership development activities. Avoid the "listen-to-me" courses and "do" leadership development. Try things outside your comfort zone. Play as you learn by using experiential learning tools.
  • Assess your leadership environment. Are you limited by your present job or environment? What can you do to overcome the limitations of your container? Do you need a new job or a different perspective? What will help you grow and thrive?
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About the Author:
Pam McDonald is a writer/editor for BLM Wildland Fire Training and Workforce Development and member of the NWCG Leadership Subcommittee. The expressions are those of the author.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Food for Thought - Submission to Duty

Leadership is submission to duty, not elevation to power. – Gordon Tootoosis

Leadership is submission to duty, not elevation to power. – Gordon Tootoosis

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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Good Leaders Make All the Difference



Leadership is the art of influencing people in order to achieve a result. The most essential element for success in the wildland fire service is good leadership. (Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, p. 1)
Good leaders can build up or destroy the very populations they lead. In "The Leaders Who Ruined Africa, and the Generation Who Can Fix It," Fred Swaniker shares his vision of a new Africa built upon the success of leaders like Nelson Mandela. Swaniker's transformational leadership philosophy can be the catalyst for creating greatness.
"Every now and then, a generation is called upon to be great. You can be that great generation." ~ Nelson Mandela
How can leadership development at the lowest levels create greatness across the wildland fire community?

Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge - Digging a Little Deeper

  • Read or watch "The Long Walk to Freedom" about the leadership legacy of Nelson Mandela. 
  • From the Field for the Field Challenge: Develop a "The Long Walk to Freedom" lesson plan for the Leadership in Cinema program.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Food for Thought - Students of Fire

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. – Benjamin Franklin

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. –  Benjamin Franklin

IGNITE the Spark for Leadership and SHARE throughout your networks. #fireleadership #fireminis

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Food for Thought - Resilience

Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties. – Helen Keller
Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.– Helen Keller
IGNITE the Spark for Leadership and SHARE throughout your networks. #fireleadership #fireminis