Technology with a Purpose


Advice for Leaders in the Fire Service: Communicate with Your Rookies

Blog by Jacob Johnson
Lieutenant with Pearland Fire Department (Texas)

What’s the best way to handle a rookie who really isn’t a rookie? You know, someone who left another department and has arrived at your doorstep. These newcomers are rookies in your department and need to learn your department’s culture, but they are still skilled with some experience in the field.

How should we as officers handle these situations?

These individuals are a little different than the regular everyday rookie just off the street. These people require a certain kind of treatment that other trainees don’t. I have with this situation several times now. A rookie recently came to our department with four years of experience. He was starting to learn the Driver/Operator position at his previous department. Here is how I handled his assimilation, and though it may not be perfect, it seems to be working nicely:

First, I sat the rookie down on his first shift and explained my expectations. I wanted to make sure he found out what was expected from me, not someone else. Obviously, expectations for somebody with four years of experience are different than someone just out of fire school. Your rookie should be able to test out of basic skills very quickly and be comfortable testing on their first day if called upon. Once they clear all basic skills, then take those abilities and build on them.

Secondly, I explained that because of his previous experience, the rookie treatment would be reduced. That he would be given a little more wiggle-room than a typical rookie. I wanted to make sure he understood, however, if he ever slacked up, he was most definitely going to hear about it. Even with previous experience, newcomers need to have necessary expectations, duties and goals that all rookies need to live up to.

I have had this conversation with several newcomers to my crew and have seen tremendous results. By communicating effectively, the newcomers feel respect, while being made completely aware of what a new employee is expected to deliver.

The most important thing for just about any rookie, in just about every profession, is to be accepted by the crew. This is especially true in our line of work. Firefighters are known to eat their young and as officers we allow it because we believe it will pay dividends and make that one-time rookie into a seasoned professional. Very seldom do officers really need to get involved, anyway. Usually your crew will handle the rookie well before you need to. Just make sure they do it in the right way.

Treating a newcomer with some experience like he’s completely uninformed will cause them to shut down. We need to respect their experience. And the best way to receive respect is to give respect. It’s also equally important for rookies to respect the men and women who came before them. Communication is the key.

About the Author
Jacob Johnson is a lieutenant with the Pearland Fire Department in Texas. He has been in the fire service for more than 10 years.

The Ultimate Test of Leadership

Blog by Bill Sturgeon
Retired Division Chief of Training for Orange County Fire Rescue Department in Florida

At the age of 38, Scott Waddle was selected to become the commanding officer of USS Greeneville, an improved Los Angeles Class Fast Attack submarine stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Commander Waddle was selected from a highly competitive field of specially trained and exceptionally skilled naval officers. On board his new submarine, the challenges Waddle faced were staggering. Extremely low morale and an unacceptable turnover rate were two of the most pressing issues.

Few thought his ship could improve, but Waddle only became more resolved to prove the critics wrong. The solution was a system of beliefs that Waddle calls Deck Plate Leadership. Its a process of replacing command and control with commitment and cohesion by engaging the hearts, minds and loyalties of workers. By every measure, Waddles principles led to breakthrough results. Personnel turnover decreased to an unprecedented three percent. The rate of military promotions tripled and operating expenses were slashed by 25 percent. As a result, the USS Greeneville became regarded as the finest boat in the Pacific Fleet.

The ultimate test for Waddle and his shipmates followed a tragic accident when the Greeneville —  while at sea for a distinguished visitors day cruise — performed an emergency surface maneuver and collided with the Japanese fishing training vessel Ehime Maru, sinking the vessel in three minutes and killing nine aboard.

The story of the collision made global headlines and was the subject of heated discussion and debate. What followed, however, was even more unprecedented. Waddle, as the former commanding officer, took sole responsibility for his and his crews’ actions. He took the stand during the Navy’s Court of Inquiry and testified without immunity knowing his words could be used against him in a court martial. In a time when corporate executives have been quick to blame others within their organizations for their failures, Waddle demonstrated an uncommon strength of character, integrity and uncompromising ethical conduct by accepting responsibility for himself and the actions of his crew.

In the aftermath of the ordeal, Waddle shows us failure is not final and tells us there are no failures in life only mistakes, and from these mistakes, lessons.

What is deck plate leadership?

Let us start with a working definition of leadership.

Leadership is spoken of in various contexts. Sometimes it’s meant to describe the person in a position of authority and other times it is describing an ability to influence. Either way, a good definition of leadership would be to inspire a group of people to work together as a team and accomplish the impossible.

This is exactly what you are being asked to do every day as a fire officer. Our basic mission is to make a very bad day for someone better. But what are the characteristics of a good leader? Here are 20 characteristics of a leader:

1. Confident, but humble.

2. Demands excellence from himself and his crew.

3. Firm, but can relax and have fun doing the job.

4. Calm under pressure. Maintains focus.

5. Executes The 5 Best Principles. Be Positive. Be Specific. Be Consistent. Be Certain. Be Immediate.

6. Gives credit to teammates publicly.

7. Does not blame teammates or points fingers.

8. Knows the mission and the strengths and weakness of personnel and allows them to apply their skills.

9. Involves the entire team.

10. Sacrifices personal glory for the good of the crew.

11. Accepts that no one is perfect and that we all make mistakes. But also recognizes when a mistake has been made and learns from it.

12. Visible for everyone to see.

13. Leads by example, from the front.

14. Displays the values of honor, courage, and commitment.

15. Multi-tasks effectively.

16. Manages time efficiently.

17. Has excellent instincts and vision.

18. Makes sound, educated decisions and only takes calculated risks.

19. Vocal and points out where things aren’t happening correctly, but is not openly negative or pessimistic.

20. Inspires the crew to accomplish the impossible.

If you do not possess all of these attributes do not fret. They are all obtainable with a willingness to learn and a willingness to change. Let me sum up what Waddle would say your action plan should be every shift:

1. Get up, out of the chair!

2. Get down, on the floor to see whats going on!

3. Get dirty, do the job!

By applying lessons learned and developing your attributes as a leader, you will soon develop deck plate leadership.

EMS Agency in Pennsylvania Finds Value in TargetSolutions’ Web-Based Training System

cb-holy-spirit-ems-success-storyAs a leading provider of pre-hospital services in Pennsylvania, Holy Spirit EMS, formerly known as West Shore Emergency Medical Services, is committed to delivering top-notch assistance to its patients. To meet that goal, close to 200 employees from the agency need effective training. That’s why it turned to TargetSolutions back in 2002.

According to EMS Director Steve Poffenberger, the organization relies on TargetSolutions for three key reasons: Its comprehensive online training library, its password-protected File Center, and its unrivaled certification tracking capabilities.

Online Training: It’s critical that personnel with Holy Spirit EMS not only stay certified but exceptionally well trained to meet the demands of their profession. TargetSolutions’ variety of courses, quality of content and 24/7 system availability have gone a long way toward helping the agency meet its needs, Poffenberger said. Whether its Hazmat, Bloodborne Pathogens or a Human Resources topic such as Sexual Harassment, Holy Spirit EMS relies on TargetSolutions’ online training catalog to save time and money.

“I know for a fact we are saving money by doing it this route. It can be very time consuming and expensive scheduling instructor-led training for our employees. There are instructor costs, overtime costs, venue costs. The more we can push out this way the better.”

Steve Poffenberger, Holy Spirit EMS (Penn.)

TargetSolutions courses not only meet federal, state and local requirements, but they’re outstanding quality, according to the feedback Poffenberger has received. The training is definitely meeting our needs, Poffenberger said. Negative comments from our personnel are few and far between and our risk management, HR, and compliance departments have reviewed the course content and are very satisfied.

File Center: Having a centralized online location for storing files, documents, and videos has been beneficial for Holy Spirit EMS, Poffenberger said. The organization uploads internal resources, including instructional manuals, how-to videos and policies into the database and directs employees there for access.

“Having a place to store material is efficient,” Poffenberger said. “You can send things out by e-mail and that is all well and good, but what happens when you hire someone two weeks from now and they don’t have all that information? We direct our employees to go to the organizational File Center.”

Certification Tracker: There are many benefits to using TargetSolutions, but its powerful certification tracking capabilities might be the most valuable for Holy Spirit EMS. Poffenberger has loaded all of his personnel’s certifications into TargetSolutions and rests easy knowing the system will warn him and the employees when important expirations approach. Rather than tracking critical information with an Excel spreadsheet, Poffenberger relies on TargetSolutions’ automated alert system. Each month he runs a report to find out who has recertified and what further action is required.

“This is a huge time saver,” Poffenberger said. “Having the whole process automated helps a great deal. People often lose track of these types of things, but with TargetSolutions, they’re assured reminders at 90 days, 60 days and 30 days. They know they have to get out and get recertified. This has proven to be huge for us.”

After a decade on the platform, Holy Spirit EMS continues to believe in TargetSolutions. Poffenberger said he occasionally checks into alternatives on the market just to see what is out there, but he’s always reminded TargetSolutions is the industry’s leader.

“I’m often asked, how do you manage all those people?” Poffenberger said. “I just tell them, it’s simple we subscribe to TargetSolutions.”

  • Please click here to download this success story.

About TargetSolutions
TargetSolutions is the leading provider of web-based technology solutions for fire and EMS departments. These solutions enable departments to maintain compliance, reduce losses, deliver training and track all station-level tasks, certifications, and activities.

TargetSolutions Looking Forward to Upcoming Release of Mobile Application to Track Training Activities

It’s not the first time and it certainly wont be the last, but TargetSolutions is about to revolutionize the way fire departments complete recordkeeping activities.

Clients will soon be able to access a ground-breaking application for smartphones, including Apples iPhone, Googles Android and the markets other mobile devices. The original application, which is currently undergoing its final testing phase and is expected to be made available this spring, will give users the ability to complete self-assigned activities, view their assignment history and easily access their departments site through a web browser.

TargetSolutions began developing the application in late 2011 and has expedited its first version to be made available as soon as possible. “It’s the first step toward providing clients with a comprehensive mobile application to track training activities,” said Software Engineer Manager Dustyn Borghi.

“The completion of this mobile apps first version is very exciting,” Borghi said. “We are pushing our technology forward and this is the beginning of our mobile application development. This is really a stepping stone to providing our most powerful features. We are focused on getting this in our clients hands quickly and receiving their feedback on where it needs to go so we can continue to innovate in the right direction.”

Platform administrators will initially be able to make operational activities that are routinely tracked on the platform self-assignable so users can complete them without needing to access a computer.

“All across the country, millions of firefighters are constantly tracking equipment, vehicles, facilities, and much more, and they’re doing it with a clipboard, a piece of paper and a pen,” said TargetSolutions CEO Jon Handy. “With this new app, clients will be able to leverage technology to save time and money. We think this app is going to make our clients lives easier.”

About TargetSolutions
TargetSolutions is the leading provider of web-based technology solutions for fire and EMS departments. These solutions enable departments to maintain compliance, reduce losses, deliver curriculum, and track all station-level tasks, certifications and training activities.

Understanding Crew Resource Management

Blog by Brian Ward
Officer with Gwinnett County Fire Department in Georgia

The International Association of Fire Chiefs describes Crew Resource Management (CRM) as the effective management of all available resources to mitigate a situation while minimizing errors, improving safety and increasing performance. Five factors have been identified as major components in dealing with accidents. These same five factors make up the core of CRM. They include situational awareness, communication, decision making skills, teamwork, and safety barriers.

Situational Awareness
The first and arguably the most important component is situational awareness. Everything on an emergency incident functions and revolves around situational awareness, including our decision making on the fireground. Situational awareness is commonly referred to as the Big Picture. It also encompasses more than just the Big Picture.

In Gary Klein and Caroline E. Zsamboks Naturalistic Decision Making, situational awareness is broken down into three levels:

Level 1: Perception of the Elements in the Environment

Level 2: Comprehension of the Situation

Level 3: Projection of Future Status

For the fire service this translates to how we perceive incidents, being able to understand incidents and how factors are interrelated in accomplishing our goals and forecasting future factors of an incident.

If situational awareness is not the most important key to handling an incident, then it most certainly is communication. Without effective communication, nothing will be accomplished. The IAFC describes communication as the cornerstone of CRM. There are six keys areas to communication: sender, receiver, message, medium, filters and feedback. Its best to use face-to-face communication when possible, but radio is the only option most of the time. Regardless of the method, the six key areas must be understood and used in order for communication to work and the job to be completed. Within these six key areas there are several other items that need to be addressed. The first is simply being clear and concise. Say what you mean and give enough detail, but don’t overload the individuals working memory space.

Below is a prime example from Gary Klein’s Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions on how even great leaders can make a communication mistake:

During World War II, Winston Churchill gave the order to not engage with warships that were larger and that could destroy their individual ships. What he meant was do not try and take on ships larger than theirs and lose. Consequently, one of his admirals had surrounded an enemy warship but let it go because it was larger and he did not want any trouble with his superiors. This was not the intent of Churchill’s letter to the admiral, but because of unclear communication, it happened. That same warship went on to destroy some of Britain’s ships, playing a significant role against the British during the war.

Decision Making
Situational awareness is vital to how we make decisions. One recent study examining military fighter pilots showed their decisions were directly based on how they perceived situations. They may have made the right call for their perception of the incident, but they didn’t perceive the situation correctly, so they failed.

In essence, having a strong background in situational awareness can help us make decisions within our limited scope of time. In conjunction with situational awareness, our incident commanders need accurate information relayed back to them to establish strategies and tactics. Once this has occurred, the leader can make a sound decision that will have a positive outcome on the incident.

In recent studies in the field of Naturalistic Decision Making, making decisions in a natural setting (real-life environment) has brought forward several considerations for training to be designed around, including mental simulation, pattern matching, story building and the power of intuition.

Each of these plays a part in how our brain relates to what is in front of us and how we make decisions. Nothing can replace on-scene experience, but that is not always something we can control. With this information, we have found the need for more training.

Using scenario-based or tactical decision games is a great way for a firefighter to begin to build patterns and stories of how to operate at an incident, without actually being on scene to learn. Mental simulation and intuition will only come once we show a complete understanding of how one factor relates to the next even when it’s not directly in front of us.

How often do we actually train or perform as a team? How often do we actually examine what we do as a team that makes us function effectively or fail? As firefighters we train constantly to function as part of a team; however, do we always carry that to the field?

When a team has worked together and has bonded, it functions smoothly. One key in reaching this goal is communicating suggestions and concerns to other team members. Mutual respect among team members is essential for it to excel.

Barriers or Safety Nets
Barriers or safety nets are put in place so that when we make a mistake, something is there to catch us. No matter who we are, how much training or education we have received, how much experience we’ve gained, or how many awards we have garnered, at some point we are going to make a mistake. The key is to understand our weaknesses and to avoid repeating the same mistake.

Barriers can come in the many different forms. Some of the obvious ones are SOPs/SOGs, effective training, core competency books, updated equipment and increased use of technology. Other barriers could include establishing Incident Safety Officers on all scenes, establishing RIC teams with proper resources and staffing, providing acting and company officers training, and offering drivers training programs.

One other area that can be of great benefit is the use of checklists and worksheets to help the officers on scene such as Incident Commander, Safety Officer, Rehab Group Supervisor and RIC Group Team Leader. Checklists can help remind the officers of the tasks to be completed, benchmarks, safety concerns and crew locations. However, with all great things there are downfalls.

We still have not found a way to checklist or talk a fire out. It’s important to remember that the checklist is only as effective as the expertise of the individual using it. We must still train and educate the same as before and still allow officers the discretion to change the plan of the checklist as they see fit. Each of these key areas has a place in every fire stations training schedule. The ability to understand how to correlate and implement these components into our training will translate to increased efficiency and safety on the fire ground.

About the Author
Brian Ward is an engineer/acting officer with Gwinnett County Fire Department in Georgia. He is a past training officer, chairman of the Metro Atlanta Training Officers and currently serves on the Honeywell Advisory Council. He is a State of Georgia Advocate for Everyone Goes Home and the Membership Task Force Co-Chair and Live Fire Instructor for ISFSI. Brian was recently awarded the National Seal of Excellence from the NFFF/EGH.

Is It Time to Arm Our EMTs

Story by Tim Holman
Chief, German Township Fire & EMS

According to the department of labor, 52 percent of EMTs in the field have been assaulted. This statistic is even more alarming when we see the increase of ambushes on first responders. In recent years we have seen EMTs shot and killed while trying to perform emergency care. These incidents are increasing each year.

Due to media bias toward guns, the idea of arming EMTs for self-defense and protection will receive much scrutiny. But times are changing and civil unrest is increasing. More people are becoming desperate and more people resent figures of authority.

Some argue we should just wait for law enforcement to clear the scene before entering. Unfortunately law enforcement is experiencing staffing issues just like others in public safety. How will waiting 30 or 40 minutes to enter a home to treat a patient stand up in court? Many systems, when dispatched to a drug overdose, rely on law enforcement to clear the scene before entering. This is a wise and proactive approach for keeping our EMTs safe. But suppose you are called to such a scene and the patient is not breathing. You stage your unit away from the scene and wait for your local police. Unfortunately all their units are tied up and the ETA is 20 to 30 minutes. You wait and the patient dies. The family sues you because you made no attempt to determine if the scene was safe. They argue the patient was unresponsive and of no danger to anyone. Do you really think that a jury would rule in the favor of the EMS?

What about routine calls that deteriorate into violent situations? Retreat? And what if you do not have time? Is that just the risk associated with the job? No, that is unacceptable. Our constitution states we have a right to bear arms for personal protection. That right should not end just because you are now at work.

Some may argue there are many EMTs who should not be allowed to carry a gun. The same can be said about some law enforcement officials I know. No one can convince me we cannot train EMTs in tactical skills. We teach them to start IVs, intubate, deliver medications, and many other difficult tasks.

Why can’t we train them to carry a gun for protection? Not to arrest people. Not to be a cop, but to be able to enter a scene and clear it for safety.

In 2009 the FBI estimates that more than 2 million crimes were stopped by law-abiding citizens with concealed handguns. Of these it is estimated that fewer than 100 shots were fired.

Before arming EMTs they must be trained in tactical techniques in clearing a scene, carrying a gun in deep concealment, de-escalating a violent encounter and various other skills. And yes some may not be allowed to carry if they cannot qualify appropriately. At the very least we should consider arming at least on individual on each EMS crew.

There are some negative consequences in arming EMTs. Our image may change. Some people think guns are evil. Public education would be needed to combat this. Some advocate using deep concealment and not publicizing that EMTs are armed. Another drawback may be the liability insurance. Training and qualifying may help reduce this challenge.

By the way, if you are still thinking this is a crazy concept, consider several cities have already passed ordinances to allow EMTs to carry handguns while on duty. Another city in the west has made it policy that no EMS crew leaves the station without someone on the crew being armed. This policy originated after several of their female crews were dispatched on false calls to lure them into homes.

Most people will have very strong feelings about this concept. Talk about it. Think about it. Consider other options. But we must stop the senseless killings of EMTs trying to serve their communities.

About the Author
Tim Holman is a seminar speaker who has conducted programs throughout the United States. Holman speaks and trains on a variety of business, fire and EMS management and leadership issues. Holman specializes in providing fire and EMS officer development programs. Holman was the Fire Chief magazine “Fire Chief of the Year” for 2002.

Added Value Critical During Emergencies Brunacini Says

When Alan Brunacini starts talking about leadership, it’s good to listen closely. The retired chief from the Phoenix Fire Department is an authority on the topic and a large crowd gathered in February at the Firehouse World conference in San Diego for his seminar titled Added Value Leadership.

Brunacini, who offers a featured training series through TargetSolutions based on his popular book Functional Boss Behaviors, conducted a give and take discussion with the audience about what makes good and bad leadership, how leadership trickles down through an entire organization, and how departments can bring added value to the citizens they serve.

“Leadership starts at the topand its not what they say, but what they do,” Brunacini said. “Whatever you do as a leader, you teach.”

During one exchange with a firefighter in the audience, Brunacini made the point that citizens will strongly remember the first two minutes and last three minutes they spend with responders during emergencies.

“We have to be sober and salient 24/7, but we only have to be nice eight times a day for 20 minutes at a time. Thats mandatory,” Brunacinci said. “If you cant do that, just stay in the truck. It’s about the added value. Mrs. Smith is going to remember how she felt because of the effort we make to connect.”

Brunacini asked the audience how leaders can inspire their people to deliver added value during calls. After more give and take with the audience, Brunacini said leaders need to do the same thing with their workers that they are asking them to do with the public by connecting.

You do all the little things that’s what matters, he said.

Please click here for more information on Brunacini’s Functional Boss Behaviors through TargetSolutions, which outlines 10 rules for fire industry supervisors to ensure their behavior creates an environment focused on enhancing service and delivering value. Also, check out this blog article titled Learning to Be the Boss by Brunacini.

About TargetSolutions
TargetSolutions online training and records management system is the most effective way to enhance your departments training program. We are focused on helping organizations reduce costs, improve operational efficiency and maintain compliance. With cutting-edge technology and more than 700 courses in our library, we make training easy.

TargetSolutions Helps Neighboring Departments Collaborate, Standardize Training

In San Diego’s North County, the cities are close in proximity, but the fire departments are even closer. Check out this video to learn how they work together to train more efficiently.
  • This blog was updated on Wednesday, July 6, 2016

There are 15 departments in San Diego’s North County that have formed together to create the North Zone Training Group. The collaboration is an effort to meet each agency’s training needs through cooperative planning and preparation.

North-Zone-LogoTo achieve this mission with greater efficiency, the North Zone uses TargetSolutions, the industry’s leading computer-based training management system. The goal is to organize the mutual aid partners on an Enterprise site so they can synchronize training activities, share vital resources, and communicate effectively with each other and TargetSolutions.

“TargetSolutions is a common tool we all use and that has great value for us,” said Stuart Sprung of the Oceanside Fire Department. “We have common procedures and guidelines and TargetSolutions provides us with the platform to speak the same language. Each city is like its own network; having a place to come together and share resources just makes sense for all of us.”

North Zone Agencies
Camp Pendleton Fire Department | Carlsbad Fire Department | Deer Springs Fire Protection District | Encinitas Fire Department | Elfin Forest/Harmony Grove Fire Department | Escondido Fire Department | De Luz Volunteer Fire Department | Del Mar Fire Department | North County Fire Protection District | Oceanside Fire Department | San Marcos Fire Department | San Onofre Fire Department | Solana Beach Fire Department | Rancho Santa Fe Fire

The North Zone originally came together more than 20 years ago. A key factor being so many firefighters were coming through a local community college, creating a need to consolidate training techniques so new recruits had similar skills when performing mandatory job functions.

“When the Palomar College Fire Academy started back in 1990 and students were learning hose lays and other basic firefighting skills, we wanted them to come back to our agencies doing things the same way,” said Brett Van Wey, who serves as the chief for the San Marcos Fire Department.

The need to have firefighters working cohesively is what initially inspired the group to collaborate and that same need brought them together through TargetSolutions two decades later. TargetSolutions is a highly customizable system, so the departments worked together to utilize the platform and understand certain techniques for creating, delivering, tracking, reporting and sharing activities and resources.

“The training officers were looking to get all of our resources under one site,” said Van Wey. “We wanted to create an enterprise site under a joint deal. We’ve been collaborating together for quite awhile, and with all of us having moved to TargetSolutions, this opportunity to share resources and other policy-driven stuff in one centralized site was significant.

“Now, if we have a new policy or a new training manual section, we can put it on one website and everyone will have the ability to assign it out. This helps everybody in the North Zone get the same information without redundancy. We can build things one time and it will be there for all of us.”

About TargetSolutions
TargetSolutions online training and records management system is the most effective way to enhance your department’s training program. We are focused on helping organizations reduce costs, improve operational efficiency and maintain compliance. With cutting-edge technology and more than 1,000 courses in our library, we simplify training management.

How to Motivate Your People More Effectively

Conventional wisdom says there are two ways to motivate employees. The carrot and the stick. But the truth is there is a third way, a better way. By showering employees with respect and appreciation, you can earn their loyalty and greater productivity.

Blog by Peter Dove
President of the Shared Values Association

Much has been written about how to motivate people. Some people think there is some type of magic that if they could only access, they could zap a new power into people.

Sorry, but no.

There are various kinds of motivation. Coercive motivation for example can be quite effective. Do you remember this quote?

“You can make a horse sit up and deal cards, it’s just a matter of voltage.”

Col. Nathan Jessep, played by Jack Nicholson in ‘A Few Good Men’

Later in the movie, Jessep famously exclaimed, “you can’t handle the truth!”

The truth is this: People are only motivated by what they value. Yes, that might be money, or saving their skin, but people remain motivated exclusively by what they value.

You can coerce people into doing what you want. Threats, punishment, and the rest of the stick methods are often used. Restrictive motivation is another stick method and somewhat of a cousin to coercive motivation. You can restrict liberty, freedom, access to information, things, people, or opportunity, as punishment unless people do what is demanded.

On the more positive side, one can motivate by way of incentive or quid pro quo, which is “do this and I’ll give you that.” It really is sort of based on a bribe paradigm and the carrot-end of the carrot vs. the stick approach.

Offering a carrot or brandishing a stick will indeed get people to do things, but it is something difficult to sustain; and as Alfie Kohn demonstrates in his book “Punished by Rewards,” it does not work very well. People resist the stick and carrots become carrot cake, then steak and carrots. Entitlement sets in and people expect steak, carrots, peas, potatoes and fine wine! And yes, fine wine gets expensive.

But there is a better way, a third way. You can work to understand your people’s motives and align your behavior in a way to deliver what they want. This is sustainable. Again, people are only motivated by what they value.

The typical manager thinks they have only two kinds of power (carrot and stick) available to them. But the carrot and the stick are accessible because of their position. Do this or that because I’m the boss and I have a certain amount of authority over you, they say. A good example is automobile dealerships, which use coercive, restrictive and incentive methods to persuade sales people to sell cars. This does not make these dealers good or bad, it just makes them typical of how business is done.

What Is Referent Power?

Referent power is based on a third idea and the greatest of things: Love. I will do for you, not because I feel a threat, either explicit or implied. I will not do for you because of some reward. I behave, work at my best and carry a certain winning attitude because I respect and want to serve you. I do what I do because I want you, my boss to be proud of me. I execute my duties with care because I like the people I work with and want to contribute and not let them down. I behave as I do because what we do together has meaning.

Can you see how referent power is the most powerful? The trick of course is how to deliberately create this values-based referent power in your workplace. There is not enough space here to describe all that goes into building a shared-values work environment, however, here are three things you can do now.

1. Make it safe: Create a workplace where it is safe to tell the boss and co-workers the uncompromising truth, without fear of repercussion.

2. Give credit where credit is due: This is the easiest thing to do and you can start now. Most people are not told they are appreciated and why they are appreciated.

3. Make expectations clear: Unclear expectations are enormously de-motivating. Tell your people what is expected, by when, what a finished job looks like, what the failure and success paths are, what the resources are and then coach them on their way.

There are a number of other values that must be shared in the workplace in order to arrive at a credible referent power base – or what we call a Heroic Environment. But focusing on these first three steps can accomplish much. I wish you all the best on your journey.

About the Author
Peter Dove is a management consultant with a background in corporate culture design. He serves as the president of Shared Values Associates, Inc. In this position, he travels the U.S. speaking to groups on the importance of shared values in the workplace.

Lake County Fire Rescue Realizes Potential of TargetSolutions Online Training and Records Management System

Lake County Fire Rescue serves approximately 250,000 citizens across 1,200 unincorporated miles of Florida. The Division consists of nearly 200 dedicated, highly-trained professionals who take pride in helping people around the clock, every day of the year, the Division’s website states about its personnel.

The Division, which operates 23 fire stations throughout its rural and urban areas, responds to emergencies of all types. In 2011, the Division responded to 17,477 incidents, including emergencies and non-emergencies. To help prepare for those situations, the department relies on TargetSolutions online training and records management system.

Over the last two years, Lake County has completed more than 32,000 assignments, including web-based courses and customized department-specific activities, on the platform. TargetSolutions has become a critical component to the Division’s training program, said Training Section Lieutenant Kathy Edwards.

“It took us a little time to really use the program,” Edwards said. “We had to clean up our site from before. Once that was done, we began to understand its capabilities and started to make the most of it.”

With the platform now operating on all cylinders, the Division is ready for its upcoming ISO audit, as well as other critical day-to-day tracking activities. In addition to the increased efficiency, the Division is also experiencing cost savings with TargetSolutions.

“(TargetSolutions) has helped reduce overtime and other additional training expenses,” Edwards said.

To read the full story on how Lake County Fire Rescue is maximizing the TargetSolutions platform, please click here. And if you have any questions about TargetSolutions, please contact us at (800) 840-8048.