If We’re not Improving then What are we Doing?

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

Henry Ford

Now I’m sure that we have all heard this quote at some point in time; but how many of us have brought this out of our personal lives and into work. But don’t take this the wrong way I’m not here to complain or tell you what you should do.  I’m just here to ask some questions that might make you think about some things that you might not have thought about before.  

Well, it’s not any worse than it was.

Now I have been told before “If it’s not any better than it was it’s not any worse.”  Now that can mean many different things depending on your context.  If you’re working on your vehicle and it’s not better than it was then it’s not any worse.  But if you look at that from an operational point of view how do you know if it’s not worse if you haven’t truly tried everything you can to make the situation better.  And I’m not just talking about a situation on scene I’m talking about everyday station life, training, and general attitude.  In my opinion, if things are not getting better, then they are getting worse.  Because if you had that opportunity to make something better and didn’t you made things worse.   

Our Shop is Getting Awesome!

“Fear of the unknown!”

There is a book out there called “Who Moved My Cheese” by Spencer Johnson.  It’s a short story ruffly thirty pages told like a children’s book.  But is a very thought-provoking story.  The down and dirty version are there are two mice and two little people in a maze in search of cheese. They both end up finding the same large supply of cheese.  While the mice stay prepared to look for more the little people become comfortable where they are.  And when all the cheese is gone, they sit there and wait for it to come back.  But at one point in the book, one of the little people says 

“Let’s go!” he exclaimed, all of a sudden.

“No” Hem quickly responded. “I like it here.  It’s comfortable. It’s what I know. Besides, it’s dangerous out there.”

“No, it isn’t” Haw argued. “We’ve run through many parts of the Maze before, and we can do it again.”

“I’m getting too old for that,” Hem said. “And I’m afraid I’m not interested in getting lost and making a fool of myself. Are you?”

With that. Haw’s fear of failing returned and his hope of finding New Cheese faded.

One reason people resist change is that they are focusing on what they have to give up not what they will gain.  The little people didn’t want to look for more cheese is because they were afraid of what they would have to give up 

The ever-changing job

The fire service is an ever-changing career field.  Not a single fire will be the same or a single patient be the same.  We must work off the seat of our pants and a very thin grey line. Sure some methods may be crude or way different from the book say.  And at times you might make people mad because a choice you made was risky or taboo but its what needs to be done.  And remember if you don’t know where you’re going you will always be where you are at.

Now I know I have thrown out many different thoughts out their, but I just ask you to consider what I have said.  Think about the way you, your crew, and your department do things.  Think about they way fires have changed and see if your tactics or ways of approaching things have changed.  And if they have to think about ways that you could change them for the good because something is better than nothing.  And remember there more than one way to skin a cat.  Please comment and tell me what you think.