A very common theme I hear from businesses that we work with today is, “We are just constantly running around putting out fires!”
Firefighting in business can be a very self-fulfilling, self-destructing prophecy.
First, the brain senses and even receives a rush of endorphins as a “reward” for playing The Hero Firefighter, swooping in and providing a solution to a problem during a critical moment. (That big project that’s due tomorrow, or in a few hours.)
The brain reacts and creates a response that increases our body’s response. The increase in heart rate is a rush for our body.
Eventually, we seek the adrenaline rush we created, and our need or want to be that “firefighter” increases so that we can experience that chemical joy. Thus, we consciously or sub-consciously create situations that allow us to be the firefighter.
Not only is that quite destructive on our bodies long-term, it is simply devastating on our business results and performance short and long-term.
A few things that we may not be aware of, regarding the REAL fire service and real firefighters.
First, there is an Inspector and fire prevention bureau.
Fires, are actually considered a bad thing and something the bureau looks to prevent as they tend to be damaging and potentially deadly.
An Inspector comes into your business and looks around for things that may become potential hazards down the road. Just like inspecting your business for bad or potentially hazardous behaviors.
The Inspector also checks to make sure you have certain safety checks in place, like smoke detectors and fire suppression devices.
Just like inspecting your business for the right meetings, acceptable behaviors and even the right people.
Next, the fire crew is highly trained and frequently practices the right behaviors needed to NOT have their heart rate sky rocket during a fire scenario.
Every experienced firefighter knows that not practicing a stop and think and calm demeanor during a fire will get themselves or someone else hurt, and will allow the fire to spread.
They have learned and practiced techniques to maximize safety and are focused on extinguishing the fire as quickly as possible, often in minutes.
Do our firefighters in business (our leaders) have the right techniques to do the same?
Last, a thorough investigation is done after every fire to help determine how to prevent any fire from occurring again.
The fire crew reviews their activities and the inspector comes back and does a review of how to put in place safeguards to prevent this catastrophe from happening again.
Ah. Wouldn’t it be grand if businesses truly operated like REAL firefighters?
Are you ready to stop putting fires out all day and start approaching your day with the skills and calm demeanor that will diffuse the “fires” you were fighting and prevent more “fires” from coming back next week? Talk to John Casey, former fire investigator and head of Shamrock Consultants.
Shamrock Consultants creates leaders who deliver results.
Shamrock leverages 26 years of leadership development experience to assist organizations in the transformation to effective leadership using unique, powerful, and PROVEN methods – methods created from data collected from 40,000 managers at 2,000 different businesses.
I’m John Casey and I bring my whole self, plus 26 years of assessing and coaching leaders, to your organizations’ leadership benchmarking and transformation process to help your managers become highly effective LEADERS. My heart, my research, and my experience are all in my work, and it shows clearly in my client interactions and their organizations’ leadership results.