Friday, March 6, 2015

"Escape: A Dateline Special Presentation" Airs This Weekend

Leadership in Cinema banner

Leadership in Cinema Documentary Alert:

NBC Dateline is airing a documentary on the Cedar and Paradise Fires this Sunday, March 8 at 9 p.m., 8 Central.
"My hope and my sense from our interactions with the crew working on this program is that it will be a sensitively drawn retrospective. For sure, the fact that NBC chose the Cedar Fire as one of only three catastrophes featured in this special 3-part series about disaster survivors validates our extraordinary experiences here in San Diego that terrible week in 2003--and again in 2007.
Let this new version of our story be a tribute both to those loved ones we lost and to our resilience as survivors." - Sandra Millers Younger, author of "The Fire Outside My Window"
"The Fire Outside My Window" book cover

More from Sandra Millers Younger:
Some students of fire are familiar with Ms. Millers Younger from the development of the San Diego County Mega Fire Interactive Case Study development. Find out more about this historical documentation of the Cedar fire and Sandra's efforts to change and prepare her community on her website.

Mentoring A New Generation


Continuing our partnership with the Eagle Rock School (ER), students of Cynthia Elkins and Dayan Safferstein’s art class spent the past 5 weeks painting this mural in the Alpine Interagency Hotshot Dorm at Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). Building on the success of the ER Internship and Citizen Science Classes (Fire & Dragonfly), students learned how to work with clients, adopt and expand their vision, work on a team with varied work styles, and finish an original work of art under a deadline. The project was a new way to involve ER students and to connect with new audiences and students that may have never thought about doing anything with the National Parks. The mural provides a way for youth to leave their mark on RMNP and show other students they too can get involved and leave a lasting impression.

The class was the idea of Paul Cerda (Alpine Hotshots), Ben Baldwin (RMNP) and Jon Anderson (ER). “We have worked together on several internships, classes and opportunities and thought this would be an interesting idea,” said Ben Baldwin.

The class also painted a replica of the "1981 Arrowhead 1" logo on the south facing wall of the dorm. The image was taken from a crew shirt Jon Larson gave Paul Cerda at the crew's 30-year reunion. 


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Food for Thought - Invest in Training

The best leaders know that the investment in training will pay off in the long term. – Kouzes & Posner, The Leadership Challenge 5th Edition
The best leaders know that the investment in training will pay off in the long term. – Kouzes & Posner, The Leadership Challenge 5th Edition
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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Behind the Curtain



Follow the yellow brick road, and you shall reach the Emerald City. Beware, however, for what you find behind the curtain may not be what you expect. 

Located in the City of Trees (the Emerald City) in a small office from behind two large monitors (behind the curtain) and a set of controls (a keyboard and the Internet), this blogger (the wizard) administers various Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program social media platforms.

Through my wizardry, I am able to do great and powerful things. If it weren't for Facebook intervention, I just might control everything you see. So, who am I, you ask? Well, I am just like many of you. I am no one special. I don't have a fancy title. I don't have a big office. I don't have special powers. I don't have the answers. Truth be known, I am a "humbug"—a fraud. I am a nice person but a terrible wizard, and I don't act alone. There are communities of people who help me create and maintain the splendor you see.

Munchkins from near and far bring skills, creativity, and magic to create a leadership social media network that reaches students of fire and leadership in kingdoms around the world. These wonderful helpers write blogs, create mini posters, share content, and promote our program. Together we create one of the biggest and best lands of leadership around.

However, no matter how much glory and praise is given to this wizard and Munchkins, the truth is the wizard cannot give to the Tin Men, Cowardly Lions, Scarecrows, and Dorothys what they already have. Inherently, each of you already possesses what you need to succeed. All the wizard does is flip the controls using the resources of others to create a path of discovery.

It is along the path of discovery that we connect with one another to share our stories, and our knowledge and experiences. We vow to never repeat the mistakes of others and to remember those that have gone down the path before us. We know the path is long and may not be paved with gold, but with persistence we hope to obtain whatever it is we seek to find. The truth is ours to find.

There is no Emerald City. There is no wizard with great powers who will do for us what we can do ourselves. There is no path that we don't build ourselves. And lastly, there is no place like home where those we love await our return each day.

This is Part 2 of a two-part series. 

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



Monday, March 2, 2015

Paul Cerda Presented with 2014 Lead by Example Award

Paul Cerda with Mike Lewelling and Jim McMahill
(Mike Lewelling, Paul Cerda, and Jim McMahill)
Congratulations to Alpine IHC Superintendent Paul Cerda. Paul was one of the recipients of the 2014 Paul Gleason Lead by Example Award for motivation and vision.

Paul  was recognized for boldly leading with inspired vision and clear intent. His efforts to lead the Alpine Interagency Hotshot Crew to Type 1 Wildland Fire Module status shows his ability to innovate, communicate, and influence change. This bold effort to diversify for the betterment of the wildland fire service took insight and courage.

As an advocate for leadership development, Paul embodies the values of duty, respect and integrity. His vision, motivational ability, and innovative methods to “build the team” demonstrates true passion for his people and those he serves. Paul has not only created depth within his own organization but also strengthened the entire service through your positive influence. Paul has shown what right looks like.

Food for Thought: Love - The Strength of Any Organization

I don’t necessarily have to like my players and associates, but as their leader, I must love them. Love is loyalty, love is teamwork, love respects the dignity of the individual. This is the strength of any organization. –Vince Lombardi
I don’t necessarily have to like my players and associates, but as their leader, I must love them. Love is loyalty, love is teamwork, love respects the dignity of the individual. This is the strength of any organization. – Vince Lombardi
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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Humility: A Leadership Trait That Gets Results

Followership is Leadership: Are you up for the challenge?

Followership is Leadership: Are you up for the challenge?

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” - Ernest Hemingway

"Effective leaders project an image that is calm, organized and focused on success." (Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, p. 20) Every wildland firefighter should have a strong command presence. Strength often comes in the form of humility.

Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge


Friday, February 27, 2015

The Road Isn't Easy

"The Wonderful Wizard of Oz"
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Road Isn't Easy
If you have read the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, you know the journey to the Emerald City was less than perfect. From watching the movie, I had a vision of the yellow brick road as neatly paved and easy to travel. However, nothing could be further from the truth. In the book, the road was worn, covered with trees, and blocked by rivers, beasts and other barriers. Dorothy and her friends found difficulty traveling down its winding path. I have my own troubled path with the yellow brick road.

Yellow brick road from the "Return to Oz"
(Yellow brick road from the "Return to Oz"; photo credit Captive Wildwoman blog)
In 2002/2003, I proposed using movies to convey leadership concepts in a program called Leadership in Cinema (LinC)—a popular Leadership Toolbox item. One of the first lesson plans I created was for the movie the Wizard of Oz. I put a lot of thought and effort into creating a lesson plan I felt worked well for developing wildland fire leaders. However, when I submitted the lesson plan, the steward of the Leadership Toolbox had a differing opinion and denied my request. I was given little reason for the denial, but I had my theories: 1) The concept of using film to convey leadership lessons was relatively new—based primarily in academia. 2) My relationship with the steward was new; a foundation of trust yet to be established. 3) Children's movies are entertaining not educational (not that fables hadn't been effectively used for ages).

Introduction from "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz"
L. Frank Baum, author of the book "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," may very well have set the stage for the dilemma between the steward and me. Here is what Baum shared in the introduction of his book in 1900:
Folklore, legends, myths and fairy tales have followed childhood through the ages, for every healthy youngster has a wholesome and instinctive love for stories fantastic, marvelous and manifestly unreal. The winged fairies of Grimm and Andersen have brought more happiness to childish hearts than all other human creations.
Yet the old time fairy tale, having served for generations, may now be classed as "historical" in the children's library; for the time has come for a series of newer "wonder tales" in which the stereotyped genie, dwarf and fairy are eliminated, together with all the horrible and blood-curdling incidents devised by their authors to point a fearsome moral to each tale. Modern education includes morality; therefore the modern child seeks only entertainment in its wonder tales and gladly dispenses with all disagreeable incident. 
Having this thought in mind, the story of 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' was written solely to please children of today. It aspires to being a modernized fairy tale, in which the wonderment and joy are retained and the heartaches and nightmares are left out.
The Rest of the Story
Ironic that 100 years later, we would come full circle and find Baum's inspiration had become one of the top 10 movies used to develop leaders.

The lesson plan has never (wait for it) made it into the library. The steward, upon reaching his retirement gave me the approval to post about 3 years ago. Some twisted control issue kept me from posting it even when I became the steward of the program and had the authority to add it to the library.

Well, I recently turned 50 years old. The months before my birthday were a time of great discernment. Out of that time came a desire to complete unfinished projects (too many to count). I discovered I had been carrying burdens I didn't need to be carrying for far too long. It was time to lighten the load and travel a better road. My reluctance to post has only kept a good lesson from the very people that I claim to serve.

In the weeks before and after my special day, I downloaded Baum's book (free; now in the public domain), watched the remastered 1939 movie, revised the lesson plan, AND sent it to the new LinC steward for consideration in the library.

My Challenge to You
I lightened my load and challenge you to do the same. Is there something holding you back from reaching your full potential? Is the road you have chosen fit for travel? Will it take you where you need to, or should, go?

This is Part 1 of a two-part series. 

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

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Food for Thought - Adversity

Adversity doesn't develop character, adversity reveals character. –Dr. Tony Bacon, The Art of Servant Leadership

Adversity doesn't develop character, adversity reveals character. – Dr. Tony Bacon, The Art of Servant Leadership

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Leadership is Not A Solo Act



In this video, Barry Posner, co-author of The Leadership Challenge" and "The Truth about Leadership," shares two truths of leadership:

1. You make a difference.



2. You cannot do it alone.



Leadership begins with a belief in self.



Figure out your personal values and principles.
  • Where are you willing to put your efforts? 
  • What are you willing to sacrifice for your values and principles?

Leadership is a relationship.



Your behavior must be consistent with your values and principles.



Leaders turn followers into leaders.