Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement For a Complex World (New York: Penguin Publishing Group, 2015)

This book addresses probably the biggest limiting factor facing fire departments today: The lack of a “team approach” from the “administrative firehouse.” You know, the chiefs’ firehouse. We all know that it takes teams of skilled firefighters and officers working together to safely and effectively accomplish the mission objectives on the fire ground. Well, shouldn’t our “team of chiefs” work together as well to achieve the department’s goals and objectives? Shouldn’t they be a “team of teams?”


If you are a chief officer, this is a must-read for you. This recap from the book says it all: The temptation to lead as a chess master, controlling each move of the organization, must give way to an approach as a gardener, enabling rather than directing.

Times have changed, and it’s time for chief officers to change too. Loosen the strict hierarchy, stop micromanaging, and get rid of most of those rules. Establish relationships and build trust. Start working with your teams. Become a “team of teams.”

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