Creating a Value-Driven Organization

Issue 8 and Volume 153.

BY MARK WALLACE There are several ways to make qualitative distinctions between fire departments. One such distinction is whether a department is considered a rule-driven organization or a value-driven organization. Each has its own management style and philosophy. RULE-DRIVEN DEPARTMENTS Most “traditional” fire departments are rule-driven. They are identified by an extensive standard operating procedure (SOP) manual. Nearly every conceivable procedure or policy is documented in minute detail so that no confusion will arise about the expected behaviors and required procedures. The SOP manual is often several inches thick. In some cases, the SOPs of a rule-driven organization are contained in several volumes. I call a rule-driven system of management the “be no” system of management. Whenever someone does something that is considered wrong or not desirable, a new SOP is produced, explaining in detail that there shall “be no” more of this or there shall “be no” more of…

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