Good to Great…How many times have you heard that buzz phrase in the last three years. Maybe you never even gave it much thought till now. So let’s take this opportunity to dissect the concept. Good… If you would ask most any company officer or firefighter if they were a good company they would most likely reply yes. If we posed the same question only changing company to department the most common answer would be yes. In general conversation this same group would use the word good in describing most of their collegues. So why do they use good and not great? What does it take to go from Good to Great?
There are a lot of philosophies on what it takes to be great. Here is the only issue, once you set a goal to move you from good to great and it is achieved…are you great or is it the norm now. Basically you should be focused on continual improvement and never satisfied with “Status Quo”. There are many actions, achievements and items that may classify you as good to great, however, we should not forget that we are a service delivery organization and we are only as good / great as we are perceived by our customers. There is not many days that go by that I don’t hear a comment, read an article, get a phone call or email about what a brother or sister firefighter has done in this business. These range from certifications to speaking engagements to articles published. The list could go on and on. The ones that truly touch me are the ones where we the fire service provide what I will call “True Passion” for the business. Each day thousands of these incidents occur where “True Passion” is demonstrated by the fire service worldwide. I would like to take this opportunity to share one of these “True Passion” cases from my home department, High Point Fire Department. Here is the letter written by one of the crew members:
On December 14, 2009 Engine 9 was staffed with FEO Travis Thompson, FF Lamar Sullivan and myself (FF Derek Way). Captain Richard Trexler II was on vacation. On this date Engine 9 responded to a call on 604 Hickory Chapel Road for assistance needed by the police department. Upon arrival Engine 9 found a High Point Police officer at the front door stating that a lady needs help inside the residence. We found an 84 year old female laying face down on the floor beside her bed. The patient stated that she had fallen and had been on the floor for 3 days and that she needed help getting up. Engine 9 assisted the patient with getting up and helped her to a chair in her bedroom. The patient was alert / oriented and stated that she had fallen in the kitchen on Thursday, December 10, 2009, and had to crawl from the kitchen into her room. When the patient fell she was at the refrigerator and the door was left open, so all of the food had spoiled. This lady did not have anything to eat or drink for 3 days, was very weak and sore.
The patient stated that she did not have any food and that she would eat the next day when “Meals on Wheels” brought her something. When the patient said this Acting Captain Travis Thompson immediately asked FF Lamar Sullivan and myself if we minded giving our leftover dinner to this lady. We both agreed and thought it would be a great idea. By this time GCEMS was already on the scene, stated that the lady needed to eat and drink immediately. Acting Captain Travis Thompson told EMS that we had leftover food at the station and that we would like to get this food so that the lady would have food. We returned to the station, picked up the food and returned back the scene and gave it to the lady. By the look on the patient’s face I could tell that she was truly touched by having the food brought to her and was very thankful. I feel that by Acting Captain Travis Thompson offering food to this patient in need, he made the High Point Fire Department shine. This gesture not only touched the patient medically and physically, but personally touched her by knowing that FEO Travis Thompson truly cared about her wellbeing. I know some people are quick to write letters complaining about things but I thought that Acting Captain Travis Thompson’s actions were outstanding and thought that someone should know.
This is a prime example of Good to Great mentality. This is only one example of many that could be shared from fire departments across the world. Sadly the opposite outcome exists. There are companies who would have never put that personal touch into a call.
It is good to see that your leadership carries on even when you are not present. You lead by example and try to do the right things. This attribute is tremendous in the fire service today as we don’t see that as much as we should. I am truly proud of your leadership and teachings to your crew as it shows as your the level of professionalism exemplifies that of a great company officer.
As an acting officer your ability to step up an lead shows a promising future for you. Your ability to carry on the vision and mission set by HPFD and your Captain shows that your focus is on customer service and is sincerely from a caring heart. Your actions and thought process demonstrated the highest level of servantship…giving and caring for those in need
I ability to recognize what is excellent leadership is an outstanding trait. Your humbleness of recognizing a peer who has acted in excellence is one of a true servant and steward to mankind. This trait is the foundation of an excellent leader.
As a member and officer of the fire service for many years I am extremely proud of each and every firefighter and officer who have “True Passion” for your contributions truly make a difference everyday. Thanks for your tireless work and professionalism.
My questions to you:
- Do you have the “Good to Great” mentality?
- Do you have “True Passion”?
- It takes both to be a good Company Officer!