Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Are You Up for the Challenge?

Followership to Leadership - Are you up for the challenge?

Challenge Background
The mission of the Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program (WFLDP) is “to promote cultural change in the workforce and to emphasize the vital importance of leadership concepts in the wildland fire service by providing educational and leadership development opportunities.” Since 2013, the WFLDP has challenged its followers to devote a portion of their leadership development efforts around a nationally-centered theme. Challenge themes have included "Leading with Courage" in 2013, "The Resilient Team" in 2014, and "Followership to Leadership" for 2015.

The purpose of the challenge is three-fold: (1) to foster a cohesive effort to promote leadership development across disciplines, (2) to provide a template that can be used to encourage leadership development at the local unit level, and (3) to provide a mechanism to collect innovative leadership development efforts and share across disciplines.

Every year, challenge organizers provide a reference guide with a suite of leadership activities local units can use to promote the theme. Facilitation of activities is voluntary; challenge participants are encouraged to develop their own activities with the hope they will share with others.

Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge logo

Who Can Take the Challenge?
What began as a challenge within the wildland fire service was broadened in 2015 to include any discipline willing to accept the challenge. The WFLDP sees the value in cross-cultural knowledge sharing and the contribution that this effort can have across disciplines.

All students of leadership, regardless of their affiliation to a wildland fire entity, are encouraged to participate and contribute to the development of the wider community. Members of the all-hazard community are highly encouraged to participate.

IGNITE the Spark for Leadership Contest
Throughout the nation, wildland fire leaders are building teams and developing their people using tools they have found or developed themselves. Imagine if students of leadership shared their experiences and successes with one another. Consider the possibility of going to a website such as the WFLDP and having a ready-made palette of leadership development tools from which to choose—items from the field for the field.

Using the spirit of healthy competition among wildland fire crews and personnel, the IGNITE the Spark for Leadership Contest is intended to be one of the mechanisms used to collect innovative leadership efforts to be shared across disciplines. The IGNITE the Spark for Leadership Contest is an optional component of the Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge and limited to entities with a tie to the wildland fire service.

Although the contest is limited to members of the wildland fire service, campaign organizers welcome the contributions of all participants. Activities received will be considered when populating the palette of leadership development tools.

Contest Winners
In 2013, the WFLDP selected Utah's Boulder County Sheriff's Office Special Operations, as winners of the IGNITE the Spark for Leadership Contest. Their program used a variety of learning opportunities such as survival training, sand table exercises, Leadership in Cinema, and keynote speakers. This effort involved 75 special operations personnel over an 11-month period. 

Ruby Mtn. IHC 2014 From the Field for the Field Award Winner banner

The 2014 winners are the Bureau of Land Management's Ruby Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew (IHC) from Elko, Nevada. Ruby Mountain IHC fully incorporated the challenge into their 2014 fire season. Following the theme's key points, Ruby Mountain IHC built resiliency throughout their organization through such activities as a simulations, team building, and incorporating many tools from the Wildland Fire Leadership Toolbox such as Leadership in Cinema, experiential learning, and in-depth review of wildland fire accidents and incidents.

Are you up for the challenge? 
For more information and accept the challenge, download the 2015 Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge - Followership is Leadership Reference Guide (visit http://www.fireleadership.gov) or contact Pam McDonald at blm_fa_leadership_feedback@blm.gov or 208-387-5318. Together we can make a difference and IGNITE the Spark for Leadership!

About the Author:
Pam McDonald is a writer/editor for BLM Wildland Fire Training and Workforce Development and Logistics/Social Media Administrator for the NWCG Leadership Subcommittee. The expressions above are those of the author.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Food for Thought - Good Leadership

Good leadership is never accidental. – Unknown
Good leadership is never accidental. – Unknown
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Friday, January 23, 2015

Giving Your Best

Are you giving your best effort? Those you work for, those who follow you, and those in your personal life deserve your best. In this Longhorn Network video, actor Matthew McConaughey speaks with members of the Texas Longhorn football team following a loss to Brigham Young University.

Video Highlights
  • Get to know your people.
  • Don't "preach" to your people; have a conversation with them.
  • Ask yourself why you do what you do.
  • Push yourself to be better than you think you can be.
  • Find a way to relax.
  • Be resilient and bounce back from diversities.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Food for Thought - Learning from Mistakes

Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself. – Eleanor Roosevelt

Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself. – Eleanor Roosevelt
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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Showing Up for Leadership

In this TedTalk video, Bruce Avolio shares his thoughts on how people show up for leadership. How do you show up as a leader?

  • Like an annointed king or queen?
  • Born?
  • Made?
  • With great expectations?
  • Owning your leadership role?
  • Going up and over the top?
  • With everyone?

Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge - Digging a Little Deeper

  • Watch the video and then analyze your leadership or discuss with others the following questions:
    • Do your subordinates have a sense of ownership for what they do?
    • Are your subordinates valued for what they do?
    • Do you bring out the best in those you lead?
    • Are you growing others?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Food for Thought - Molders of Consensus

A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Friday, January 16, 2015

The Art of War

"The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting." ~ Sun Tzu
(Photo credit: iz quotes)
The Art of War
by Al Mozingo

Over the years I've heard references to The Art of War several times. But, I never read the book. Recently I picked up a book called The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi. Within the context of that book, he writes about The Art of War.

The book is divided into three segments: The Killing Sword, The Life-Giving Sword, and No Sword. Even though this book is about ancient times and about war, it may be applicable to us today. There are references that these apply to business, our everyday lives, and what we say and do. They apply to our interpersonal relations and how we behave and act.

The Art of War describes a conflict between good and evil; between life and death. The book describes how we can use our ability to create strategies to win. There are people who present good as bad and pretend to be righteous. We must be on the lookout to observe with utmost attention to discern what is right and wrong. People will be concern with their own interest and not acting in consideration of others. This causes problems, resentfulness, and angriness.

The Art of War is to give you knowledge, to have strategies to give life to many people by killing evil. The three scrolls (swords) convey this knowledge to strive for goodness--to do what is right.

The Killing Sword
The first lesson is the attainment of the way. To learn, to understand, and to articulate these principles learning is the gate.

Next, we must practice the art and study. To spontaneously conform to learning without consciously being aware of it is part of The Art of War. When you have succeeded in learning, it is a part of you, incorporated into your personality. This achievement is built on cultivating learning a practice.

In the Zen Arts, this learning has progressed into harmonizing your self-conscious knowledge into your unconscious. The inward attitude is called the will and what emanates outwardly is called mood. It is essential to control your mood by your will. If you're not mindful of this, the will can be drawn into by the mood. Then you're using your emotions.

To allow you to succeed and to gain victory you must control the mind. Get the other person to make the first move. This is the appropriate strategy to The Art of War. The methods of seeing what is happening is implementing a strategy and to induce the other person to tip their hand. This will allow you to gain victory by seeing what strategy they are using.

To gain the victory you need to keep your mind on the idea before you, This is done by developing single-minded concentration. This must be practice. This single-minded concentration will allow you to conceive, act and follow through to win.

Now concerning an attack. A hasty attack is a bad thing. To press aggressively is only after preparing yourself mentally and observing the situation. It is essential not to get flustered or you may loose. Observe your adversary's condition for resentfulness or anger. Be aware these things can cause you a problem.

One who thinks they know everything is inept. One who has attained realization and is upright is called "enlightened." The upright mind is called the mind of the Way. Attainment of the Way is important and will allow you to know much and to be adept.

"The First Sword" is a code word for seeing any incipient movement. You are to be observant and be able to perceive the impulses and actions of an adversary. To perceive this is called "one seeing." Perceiving with the eyes is called seeing something. To perceive with the mind is called observing something. You need to develop both.

The primary reason for "one to see," is to perceive what is happening, whether it exists and to understand the abilities and intentions of another. Seeing with the eyes is subordinate to seeing with the mine. The mind can see things far away, before the eyes can actually see it. The mind can help prepare you beforehand.

The Life-Giving Sword
People's abilities and intentions are manifested in many ways. You must be on the lookout for these to win. Do what is good; throw away what is bad. You should not be too quick or too slow. In a casual manner, do what is right. When you act to quickly, you will be flustered. When you act too slowly, you are timid.

"The First Principle" is a code word in marital arts. In the context of the Art of War, it means to keep a clear mind, pay close attention and make sure you don't get caught unprepared.

The face can tell intentions. The color of the face changes with feelings and moods. If the blood rises and the face turns red, the person may be angry. Keep watch. If their is a flow and a smile, this is good. Keep a watch for this. It is the energy in the body, and the body that tells a story. The principle is very relevant in dealing with people.

No Sword
When you have no sword and unarmed you can still prevail. You can take another sword away. This is the aim of the swordless, to win the fight with no sword. Attitude is the basic idea of swordlessness.

Zen monks are able to harmonize with the truth. Using the truth in what you say and do is very important. This allows one to have "great spiritual power." Working freely and independently, you can perceive the concealing of intentions, deceptions and actions of others. Always keep aware and see with your mind.

Mastery is what your trying to attain as a good fighter. You have great potential if you are attentive to everything. Your potential will mature and increase if you are watchful. To be attentive your mind must not linger. It is essential to practice an attitude of not dwelling on any one thing. You must be ready at all times. Always do what is right, keeping your mind on that which is needed (rightness).


The book is very complex and esoteric. We need to reflect upon our thinking on what is being said in its' pages. Our own enlightenment comes from reflection, training, truth, and doing what is right. Let us all affirm what is right and strive to do what is right.



The Book of Five Rings, Miyamoto Musashi, translated by Thomas Cleary, Shambhala Publications, Boston, MA 1993

About the Author:

Al Mozingo is well-versed in leadership training and a certified leadership development instructor. He teaches Basic and Advanced Leadership. See Mr. Mozingo’s website: www.firemanager.com.

Printed with permission from the author.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Food for Thought - Involve Them

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. – Benjamin Franklin
Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. – Benjamin Franklin
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