Firefighters Know Why Trust Matters

Disorganized, reactive business owners and other managers often complain of continually being drawn into “fighting fires,” meaning that emergencies and failures frequently demand immediate, ad hoc attention. I find this metaphor comical since real firefighters do not operate in the haphazard, seat-of-the-pants manner so familiar in many businesses. Professional firefighters–well, there’s the answer right in the modifier. The people responding to actual hot fires are professionals. They train, they plan, and they follow proven procedures.

My friend, Brad Mayhew, is the real deal. A former hotshot wildland firefighter, just like the ones in the movie, Only the Brave, which dramatized the tragedy of the 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire. Brad also worked on the investigation into why that crew died.

One of Brad’s lessons from the dangerous wildland kind of firefighting can help those engaged in the safe office kind of “firefighting.” During the Coal Canyon Fire in 2011, two firefighters found themselves in a vehicle surrounded by flames. One was soon overcome by the fumes and heat. Hearing their distress calls, Reese, a nearby firefighter, radioed back that the survivor must leave the vehicle immediately and run fifty feet through flames, fumes, and hot ash to reach safety.

Would you accept that advice from a co-worker? How about from someone who didn’t even work for your company, a supplier or client? That firefighter is alive because he took the advice. Here’s he did, as Brad wrote in Firehouse magazine:

“‘I have a close relationship with Reese. Because of who he is and because it came from him … that was what we had to do.’”

 

How did they get to know and trust one another? Training together. Agencies in the area hold joint large-scale scenarios, live-fire exercises, simulations and classroom training. Training together builds trust and familiarity across agency lines.

 

But it had not always been that way between these fire departments. They used to be like the different departments in many dysfunctional commercial enterprises:

Twenty years earlier, agency relationships were described as “very contentious” with “mutual resentment and animosity.”

 

Local leaders decided to fix this: “We all just finally understood that the old ways and the animosity were getting us nowhere, and that it’s not about ourselves. We were not serving the people on the ground. We weren’t getting the firefighters what they needed. That’s wrong. We … needed to set the example” (SAI Report, D&A). The Report goes on to say, “It took 10 years of deliberate effort to transform relationships among cooperators.”

–Source: Wildland Case Studies Show Why Trust Matters
by Brad Mayhew and Kirk Summers

 

Once again, performance —even survival— is all about trust.

Learn the 5 components of trust by clicking here for my article.

 


 

Top Executive Coaching Newsletter Directory

 


 

CEO Executive Coach Tony Mayo has shared a great deal of practical information with business people since re-launching his free e-mail newsletter in 2008. Here is a list of topics covered. Just click on any title to read more.

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Growing Beyond Control into Confidence • PODCAST

Growing Beyond Control into Confidence • PODCAST


 

Click here for Tony Mayo's podcastThis short podcast describes an important step in the growth of business owners and other leaders, moving beyond the urge to control and micro-manage every action toward acting with confidence in your team and your own ability to respond to every eventuality.

 


Transcript: (more…)

A Simple Habit That Can Boost Productivity

NASA-DC-9-cockpit


Repeat Back
&
Report Back

Here is a simple habit that can boost productivity in your organization. One client credits this technique for an 18% increase in annual revenue with a reduced headcount. It takes practice but quickly becomes second nature.

I brought this method into the workplace from my flight training. Pilots and air traffic controllers (ATC) must communicate precisely and briefly while also executing specialized tasks. Misunderstandings in aircraft can have horrible consequences, so specific communication techniques are required. Many of the most serious accidents are caused by failure to follow these practices, including the 1977’s Tenerife Airport Disaster, commercial aviation’s deadliest incident.

Talk may be cheap but miscommunication is costly.

Have you ever listened to the (more…)

The Power of Progress Reports

 


 

TonyMayo.com-Progress-Report-image Of all the management tools I recommend, one of the most effective is both very simple and very unlikely to be consistently employed—if it is used at all: the written progress report, completed on a consistent schedule.

The power of progress reports to promote results and reduce anxiety is demonstrated daily, on matters titanic and trivial. The U. S. Constitution requires that the President “from time to time give to the Congress information of the State of the Union.” Public companies are required by law to present results to shareholders, at fixed intervals and in specific formats. Schools send regular reports to parents, our GPS tells where we are, and UPS sends a text when a package arrives.

Still, managers and employees resist implementing this simple process.

Why?

Who cares about why? Just grow up and start doing a progress report. Declare your goals. Confront your results. Adjust to living in reality. Enjoy the benefits of clarity while the less disciplined fail and fail in a fog of vague expectations and inchoate regrets.

Before I explain how to format and prepare a good progress report, let’s deal with some common excuses questions.

Q: I don’t have a boss.

A: If you have (more…)

Tony Mayo Reads the bonus chapter of The Courage to Be in Community

 


 

How to BE in Courageous, Genuine Relationships

This podcast is Tony Mayo reading the bonus chapter to his Amazon #1 best-selling book, The Courage to be in Community.

The focus of the book was the importance of compassion and authenticity, while this new chapter is all about implementation, with specific advice on how to be compassionate and authentic in your day-to-day life. The twenty-minute podcast is a simple, practical guide to building better relationships at work and at home, with answers to these reader questions:

  • What can I do to deepen relationships?
  • How can I feel comfortable with people of different backgrounds, tastes, and values?
  • How do I help others feel safe to share their lives with me?
  • What habits might I establish to reduce loneliness and build community?

Tony recommends these resources for further study and practice.

Just click here to listen now or subscribe on your device using Apple’s Tunes, Android, and other podcatchers to have this and all new episodes placed on your device as they become available.

 

Pixar Fosters Creative Community

 


 

I believe that community matters. … Pixar is a community in the true sense of the word. We think that lasting relationships matter, and we share some basic beliefs:

  • Talent is rare.
  • Management’s job is not to prevent risk but to build the capability to recover when failures occur….we don’t second-guess or micromanage.
  • It must be safe to tell the truth. …get honest feedback from everyone.
  • We must constantly challenge all of our assumptions and search for the flaws that could destroy our culture. …Nobody pulls any punches to be polite.

Pixar’s Operating Principles

1. Everyone must have the freedom to communicate with anyone.

2. It must be safe for everyone to offer ideas.

3. We must stay close to innovations happening in the academic community.

if we aren’t always at least a little scared, we’re not doing our job.

 

 

–How Pixar Fosters Collective Creativity
by Ed Catmull, President
Harvard Business Review

 

 


 

Marriott: Happy Employees = Happy Customers

It’s always been the major belief of our company, take good care of your people, they’ll take good care of the customer and the customer will come back.

And we celebrate them. We train them. We teach them. We provide opportunity for them. You’ve got to make your employees happy.

If the employees are happy, they are going to make the customers happy.

–J. W. Marriott, Jr.
 speaking of his father,
the founder of Marriott Hotels

How Bill Marriott’s Putting Employees First Transformed A Family Root Beer Stand Into $14B Hotel Giant by Steve Forbes in Forbes Magazine January 8, 2014