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From the Chief
 Together We Can
It has been said that nothing succeeds a success better than another sweet success. How many times in a sporting event have you seen a defensive stop, an error, or a special play change the momentum in a game, creating additional successes?

In the world we live in today, our lives are so busy, that sometimes, we don’t stop or realize that each success we achieve leads to additional successes. Difficult economic times create difficult leadership decisions for individuals and organizations. Fire Departments, including the Kent Fire Department are not given a free “get out jail” card when it comes to difficult leadership decisions. As we read the daily newspaper, watch the nightly news, or talk to family or friends, its sometimes difficult to understand why individuals or organizations find leadership decisions so difficult to make.

I would like to share with you five steps learned over time through experiences or from the “road of hard knocks” that either individuals or organizations can use or apply to assist in making difficult leadership decisions.

Step Number One: The Impossible Dream

In making difficult leadership decisions, many of us feel that through consensus building, we must have 100% agreement in leadership decision making. An impossible dream. In reality, if you can get 60% agreement in making leadership decisions, a 2/3 majority, that is good enough. What is important that you as an individual making a decision or an organization making a decision, have 100% commitment once the leadership decision is made. Not 100% agreement, but 100% commitment once the decision is made.

Step Number Two: None Of Us Is As Smart As All Of Us

I love this saying, and wished I was the author.  Someone smarter than me did that. It is so important to know when to ask for help in making difficult leadership decisions, and who to ask. Ask yourself, who are the stake holders. We all need someone we can turn to in stressful times. Together we can.

Step Number Three: “Only Thing We Have To Fear Is Fear Itself”

Some of the most famous words spoken by President Franklin D. Roosevelt were at his first inaugural address. President Roosevelt, a leader who had to make some very difficult leadership decisions was saying let go of fear. Let go of fear in leadership decision making. That regardless of the difficulty surrounding a leadership decision, that any decision is better than indecision or no decision.

Step Number Four: Problems Become Opportunities

In making leadership decisions, you have a choice; is it a decision problem or a decision opportunity. With a positive attitude, look for positives or victories surrounding the leadership decision. You or your organization through positive actions can turn a decision problem into a decision opportunity, through positive actions. Experience tells us, when a problem decision is positively perceived, it will become an opportunity.

Step Number Five: Now What?

The real test of effective leadership in difficult decision making is to have a backup plan. What happens when realization sets in, that the difficult leadership decision made was wrong? Now what? Realizing there are constants and variables in all decisions that sometimes you and I don’t control, not having a backup plan or emergency plan, is not a leadership decision. Not having a “Plan B” means that you have not made an effective leadership decision.

In closing, the fear in making difficult leadership decisions - is the choice. Choose to believe, that every successful leadership decision was created through a difficult leadership decision.

Together we can.

Thank you.


Kent Fire Department - RFA
24611 116th Ave. SE
Kent, WA 98030
Ph: (253) 856-4300