Our Mission Statement in 4 Short Sentences

Photo by Kim Fitzsimmons

Photo by Kim Fitzsimmons

Like most fire departments, we have a kind of sterile mission statement that’s enclosed in a picture frame or found at the bottom of our letterhead. In short, it focuses on these five areas: employee health and safety, customer relations, quality, efficiency, and recently we added fiscal sustainability (not a bad idea in today’s crazy economic world).

I believe in our mission, but also think it’s too long and doesn’t carry a punch. So, for better clarity, and a little more impact, here’s what I preach to the troops, in 4 short sentences:

Be safe. Be a master at what you do. Be professional. And, be nice.

Here’s a little more detail on each one:

  • Be Safe. Respond safely, work safely, and train safely. Follow your policies and standard operating procedures, and execute them safely and effectively. Stay aware of everything. Watch over your brothers and sisters and have their back. Speak up when you need to, and say it right. Continue to maintain the readiness of your safety equipment, and use it properly when you’re supposed to. Practice personnel accountability, all the time; and know where you are at all times.
  • Be a master a what you do. Don’t just settle for competence, be a master at what you do. You have to, because people are counting on you. Stay physically fit, because your work involves great physical exertion. Stay mentally fit. Be a continuous learner; read books, go to conferences, and get a college education. Cultivate your powers of observation and have inquiring minds. Know WHY and HOW to do things, not just what to do. Communicate effectively and often. Have the initiative and will to keep going. Be disciplined and follow orders. Constantly train for readiness and improvement. Arrive on scene ready and prepared to help. Always look back at what you did and ask, HOW can I do it better next time?
  • Be Professional. Be courageous, but calm. Be patient, because it can be difficult dealing with people who are in a state of considerable stress (sometimes, including your brothers and sisters). Practice a positive image everywhere, all the time. Consider every person a customer, especially the other members of your Department, the support people, and the administrative staff. Maintain your fire house, your truck, and your equipment in a constant state of readiness; and do it with pride in appearance. Maintain pride in your appearance and wear your uniform proudly. Get involved and provide ideas to make the job easier, safer, and more enjoyable for all of us.
  • And last, but most important, be nice. You’re in the people business, so be nice to everyone you encounter. Behave and work with your peers, not against them. Be a servant to others, because it’s the true calling of the fire service. Practice compassion and consideration for everyone, including customers, bystanders, family members, and fire department members; show that you care. Treat each other and the public with respect. Help people and do a little more.

These are my four simple suggestions for a mission. If each of us makes an effort to follow these, we will have a safe and rewarding career.

What’s your simple mission?

Don't wait, live your mission today!

Is work just work, or do you try to make a difference in everything that you do? What’s your purpose? What’s your mission for each day?

In his guest post at Michael Hyatt’s Intentional Leadership, Jon Gordon asserts that, “You can make a difference every day and touch the lives of everyone you meet.”

He lists examples of ordinary people with an extra-ordinary purpose. Here’s one I especially like:

  • I heard of a janitor who worked at NASA. And even though he was sweeping floors, he felt his bigger purpose was contributing to putting a man on the moon.

Read more of Jon Gordon’s post here.

What is the bigger purpose for which you are working?

Of Related Interest:

Just Your Job, or Your Mission?

Seth Godin talks of another way to approach your job:

Are you doing a good job?

One way to approach your work: “I come in on time, even a little early. I do what the boss asks, a bit faster than she expects. I stay on time and on budget, and I’m hardworking and loyal.”

The other way: “What aren’t they asking me to do that I can do, learn from, make an impact, and possibly fail (yet survive)? What’s not on my agenda that I can fight to put there? Who can I frighten, what can I learn, how can I go faster, what sort of legacy am I creating?”

You might very well be doing a good job. But that doesn’t mean you’re a linchpin, the one we’ll miss. For that, you have to stop thinking about the job and start thinking about your platform, your point of view and your mission.

It’s entirely possible you work somewhere that gives you no option but to merely do a job. If that’s actually true, I wonder why someone with your potential would stay…

In the post-industrial revolution, the very nature of a job is outmoded. Doing a good job is no guarantee of security, advancement or delight.

Ask yourself, “Am I just doing a job, or am I on a mission?”

Don’t feel you have a mission? Here’s a few questions to help you discover yours:

  1. What do you really want to do?
  2. Why do you want to do it?
  3. Who do you want to help?
  4. What will the result be if you do it? What value will it create?

Of Related Interest: