by Robert J. Maloney
“We all seem to be dealing with generational progression, a public that has a different view of the fire service than a generation ago, and rapidly emerging science that impacts fireground strategy and tactics,” John Tippett said in discussing his Monday afternoon workshop, “Leading in Changing Times: Three Windows for Successful Growth.” The deputy chief of operations for the Charleston (SC) Fire department has attended the FDIC off and on for the last 30 years and first presented here in 2006. The inspiration for the workshop was that leader colleagues from all over the country seemed to share common concerns about leadership in today’s fire service. “All three influences above demand that we take a different approach to leading our organizations. In this class, attendees can compare their experience with what I’ve compiled from others and observations of my own to validate what we are all living with in our organizations today.”
According to Tippett to be successful within our departments: 1. We have to be flexible in how we address each generation and recognize that we were once the “new breed” and that another “new breed” is on the cusp of taking the organization on its next journey. 2. We have to recognize that while being firefighters may be foremost in our minds, the people we serve have a different view of our service. We have to get back to the basic mission, helping others. 3. The science emerging from NIST and UL has to be incorporated rapidly into our thought processes and actions if we are going to be successful in maintaining the interior attack as our primary action at fire scenes. If we fail to listen to the science and modify our behavior, we’ll lose public standing and professional respect due to our lack of ability to adapt.
Commenting on his FDIC experience, Tippett said, “I have yet to attend and not walk away a better professional.”