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Did you know that we’ve been holding this annual conference & vendor exhibit event for over 40 years? Did you also know that our conference has the most consistent and loyal exhibitors and sponsors of ANY divisional conference? Thanks to our loyal corporate sponsors working with us we have been able to see the birth of new programs and development of higher quality equipment, online and live training programs, access to thousands of relevant training programs and….awareness of the many health issues that firefighters and EMT’s battle long after the job is done.

HATS OFF TO YOU FOR LISTENING, UNDERSTANDING, RESEARCHING AND DELIVERING exactly what we need. But our job isn’t done. And thanks to you for giving us the tools we need to continue to advance the skills our firefighters of tomorrow will need.




Questions? Please contact Lisa Moatts @ (843)330-6615 or connect with our Facebook page and message us. We usually respond within 2 hours.


The largest threat to fire departments



Issues of sexual harassment, bullying and retaliation have received increasing attention in the fire service in recent years. So it’s no surprise that discriminatory harassment was the top training topic represented in Lexipol’s Daily Training Bulletin (DTB) program for fire departments in 2018. 

Departments using the DTB program had access to 120 unique firefighter training bulletins last year, providing nearly 4 hours of training. Lexipol strives to keep the training program closely associated with issues making headlines in the fire service. 

An end-of-year summary from Lexipol organizes the training topics into 11 main categories and more than 100 subtopics. General Operations accounted for 26% of the DTBs, featuring subtopics such as fireground accountability, emergency driving and hazmat response. Personnel topics accounted for 21% of the DTBs issued. In addition to discriminatory harassment, this category includes subtopics such as modified duty assignments, promotions and transfers, and outside employment. Safety (9%) and Training (8%) were the third- and fourth-highest categories, respectively. 

Top level training chart with General Operations as the largest piece of the pie.
2nd is Personnel

DTBs use a proven system of realistic and verifiable training to expose firefighters to their department’s policies and help them apply policy to real-world situations. The bulletins are authored by Lexipol’s Training Team and use scenarios to bring policy to life and enhance firefighter understanding of their policies. 

“Our Training Team members are current and former fire department instructors, so we benefit from a wealth of practical knowledge relating to critical topics such as firefighter safety, technical rescue, and conduct and behavior,” says Don Weaver, Training Director for Lexipol. “We design our training bulletins to focus on a specific aspect of the department’s policy and present them in the form of scenarios because we know this helps enhance learning retention— the firefighters are being asked to consider how their policy works in the real world.” The DTB program also takes into consideration current events and emerging trends. 

To access the complete listing of 2018 topics, click here. 

Sign up to receive email updates from Lexipol, strategic partner of the Southwestern Division IAFC members.

Bullying- still a real threat

The fire service is often described as a “brotherhood”—the implication being that firefighters watch out for and support each other. In many fire departments, the brotherhood is alive and well. But in too many firehouses across the country, the reality is more complex. In a recent webinar, 84% of respondents indicated they had observed or been the victim of bullying in the fire service. And a quick check of headlines reveals no shortage of news stories about firefighters being sexually harassed, hazed and retaliated against.

Bullying is found in many workplaces, but the impact can be greater on firefighters because the station is like a second home, where firefighters cook, clean and even sleep side by side. Fortunately, fire service leaders have begun to understand the negative impact of bullying and harassment and many are taking steps to reduce such behavior. Following are 10 strategies identified in the webinar, which was presented by Deputy Chief Billy Goldfeder, Chief I. David Daniels, Chief Colleen Walz and Chief Joanne Hayes-White.

1. Identify the behavior

Although bullying is often used in a general sense to describe all types of harassing behavior, there are important differences in the terms we use—differences that can have a legal impact.

  • Hazing is abusive or humiliating tricks and ridicule directed at new members of the department
  • Bullying is repeated mistreatment; threats, humiliation or intimidation; work sabotage
  • Harassment is verbal or physical conduct that creates an unpleasant or hostile situation (usually toward a protected class)
  • Workplace violence is verbal, physical or sexual assault

When assessing a specific situation or educating personnel about inappropriate behaviors in the firehouse, it’s important to distinguish between these terms.

2. Acknowledge the leader’s role

According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, 61% of bullies are bosses. Sometimes, this is the result of an overt use of power. But there are less insidious reasons as well. Chief Daniels notes that many leaders in the fire service were bullied themselves when they were moving up through the ranks. They may believe that such behavior is the way to get results. That’s why it’s important for fire service leaders to assess the cultural influences that shaped their leadership philosophy and the tone they’re setting in their departments. Equally important is providing early education to company officers on what bullying and harassment are and how to stop them.

3. Prevent retaliation

Although the ultimate goal is to stop bullying in the first place, equally important is a fire department’s response when such behavior is seen or alleged. Chief Walz notes it’s essential to have policies and procedures in place to ensure firefighters who come forward with information or accusations are not retaliated against. This includes instructing others with knowledge of the situation what constitutes retaliation—an unwelcome shift or station change, the denial of a promotion, shunning the accuser or encouraging others to do so, giving the firefighter an undeserved poor performance review. Many instances of bullying and harassment can be dealt with effectively, but if they progress to retaliation, the consequences for everyone involved become much more severe.

4. Confront the behavior

Too often when firefighters observe bullying behavior or even when they’re victims of it, they don’t confront the bully. It takes personal courage and individual responsibility to call someone out for bad behavior—it’s often easier to “go along to get along”—but it’s critical to creating lasting change in the fire service. It’s also key to correcting behavior before problems become so big they cause career or legal repercussions. A company officer who puts a swift end to teasing that’s going too far is less likely to have a true bully on their crew. Note: How you confront behavior will depend on the severity of the situation. A firefighter who feels physically threatened or psychologically abused will need to go through formal channels to confront their accuser.

5. Train and educate company officers

Company officers are the first line of defense in stopping bullying and harassment in the fire service. They spend a lot of time with personnel and observe the interactions between firefighters. Fire departments need to ensure company officers are trained to recognize bullying, empowered to step in, and have access to a process for reporting inappropriate behavior. Regular training on bullying, harassment and inclusivity should be provided to company officers and leaders should engage them in conversations about crew dynamics.

Bullying is carried out against those identified as “other”—it may be the way they look, the interests they have, their gender or ethnicity, or any characteristic that doesn’t fit with the group dynamic.

6. Involve the safety officer

Your department likely has one or more safety officers designated to watch out for the wellbeing of firefighters. Typically, this means responsibilities such as checking for unsafe acts, ensuring proper PPE is being used, advocating for annual physicals and the like. But Chief Daniels points out there’s no reason the safety officer shouldn’t be involved with anti-bullying efforts. After all, being treated badly at the station can compound other types of trauma, elevating a firefighter’s risk for PTSD, depression and suicide. Safety officers should be trained to notice and intervene.

7. Establish proper policies

Chief Goldfeder notes that clearly written policies also play a key role in reducing bullying and harassment in the fire service. Your policies need to make clear that discriminatory behavior, harassment, bullying and hazing are unacceptable. Some departments write individual policies for each of these areas; others cover them in a “code of conduct” policy. However you do it, make sure the policy language is unambiguous and track policy acknowledgement by your firefighters. Think beyond the obvious, too. If you have women in your department, eventually some of them may become pregnant. Do you provide for a light-duty option when they can no longer respond to fires? What’s the process for returning to duty, and do your company officers know about the federal requirement to provide time and space for nursing mothers to express breast milk?

8. Expand recruitment

Bullying is carried out against those identified as “other”—it may be the way they look, the interests they have, their gender or ethnicity, or any characteristic that doesn’t fit with the group dynamic. For this reason, one of the more powerful long-term strategies to combat bullying is to make your fire department more diverse. As the group embraces diversity, the notion of “otherness” fades. Fire departments can do this by recruiting in different places than they have traditionally. They should equip all firefighters with recruitment material and instruct them to be on the lookout for potential recruits when on call. And fire departments should reexamine their recruitment messages, too, to ensure the messages will connect with qualified applicants who bring different experiences and backgrounds to the job. Finally, it’s important to look at the non-minority candidates you’re recruiting. It’s not just about flooding your ranks with women and people of color; it’s about ensuring everyone you’re hiring supports the mission of building an inclusive fire department.

9. Establish promotional guidelines

Just as diversity in the rank-and-file can reduce bullying, diversity in leadership can be a powerful antidote. Too often, however, people who are “different” feel shut out of the promotional process. Fire departments can address this by establishing transparent, impartial promotional guidelines and publicizing them widely. Chief Hayes-White notes that because the fire service has so long been dominated by white men, you may need to take an extra step and encourage QUALIFIED women and people of color to consider testing for promotion. Note this is not favoritism or a promise they’ll get the job. It’s asking whether they might be interested, encouraging them to think about it.

10. Preserve worthy traditions

One criticism that often comes up when we talk about a more inclusive fire department is that exclusivity comes at the expense of fire department traditions. Those who came up in the department from a young age may resent changes. “I paid my dues as a rookie, now you’re saying I have to treat the new guy with kid gloves.” Fire department leaders need to be prepared for this type of pushback. Involve union and volunteer leadership in policy changes and talk openly about what’s changing and what’s not changing. Some past practices are downright harmful and don’t have a place in a progressive, modern department. The challenge for leaders is to respect tradition while being unafraid to push the department forward.

March Madness

The Southwestern Division board has been busy with events and state-related activities.

President Shauwn Howell of Pine Bluff Fire Department attended the opening session of the Leadership Academy in Lafayette.

He was joined by IAFC Director Roy Robichaux of Plaquesmines Parish, and Executive Director Moatts to welcome the attendees of the 3rd annual Leadership Academy.

President Howell also attended the LFCA annual spring conference held in Bossier City. The LFCA is a very active organization within the state of Louisiana as well as the Southwestern Division. President Howell is very active in the Southwestern community

IAFC- Division kicks off the largest class yet in Lafayette

Bienvenue en Louisiane

WHAT: 3rd Annual IAFC-SW Division Leadership Academy Symposium

WHERE:  Louis F. Babin Institute of Fire Training, 300 N. Dugas Road, Lafayette, LA

WHEN:     Tuesday, March 12, thru Thursday, March 14, 2019 at 8:30 a.m.

DETAILS: Lafayette Fire Department will host the International Association of Fire Chief, Southwest Division, Leadership and Coaching Academy this week at our training facility. 1 Smart Career consulting firm partnered with IAFC to bring this cutting edge leadership academy designed for members of the fire service. Twenty-two fire chiefs and officers from the southwest division of IAFC will be in attendance including members from Lafayette Fire. The academy will begin with a 3 day symposium on topics of leadership, coaching, and mentoring. It will be followed by 4 months of online courses. 

Fire Chief Robert Benoit is a member of the IAFC. He is also the 1st Vice President of the IAFC’s Southwestern Division. IAFC is a prominent organization in the fire service providing leadership to fire departments throughout the United States and Canada. Chief Benoit welcomed the opportunity to have Lafayette serve as a host site. After reviewing the course programming, he was encouraged with the depth of training and believed the outcome to be very beneficial to his members and the fire service in general.

Fire officers from 5 states; Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Minnesota spent 3 days in Lafayette March 12, 13 & 14 for our 3rd annual Hi-Performance Leadership Academy Symposium. Each year since 2016 the Southwestern Division has partnered 1 Smart Career’s Kelly Walsh and Dan Jones to host a 6 month combined real and virtual classroom to deliver exemplary leadership skills to the officers.

There will be a graduation ceremony held for the officers who complete the course. The ceremony is held in conjunction with the Executive Leadership Academy in October.

“Laissez les bon temps rouler.”

At the conclusion of the academy, there was a special treat for the students and instructors. The officers from Plaquesmines Parish Fire Department worked with the host to show everyone what real cajun food is all about



By Scott Eskwitt

Why do firefighters deviate from policy? And when it happens, what is the right way to address the deviation? Before we delve into these questions, let’s look at two recent firefighter deviations from policy that made headlines. 

In Dallas, firefighters deviated from a newly instituted policy when they entered a home during a shooting incident. The firefighters knew two people, including a woman who was eight months pregnant, were inside the home. They knowingly deviated from the policy requiring them to wait for police before entering a violent scene. Although the mother died, the baby was later delivered via C-section at the hospital.

In Phoenix, a fire marshal was demoted for violating the department ethics policy after he accepted a $100,000 check, while on duty, from a philanthropist whose business had failed its fire inspection 11 months earlier. The check was a donation to a non-profit organization in which the fire marshal and his family were involved. The City of Phoenix Human Resources Department imposed the discipline even as it concluded there was no indication the philanthropist’s business received any special treatment when it came to a fire code waiver.  

Initial Actions

Deviation from policy is rarely a simple matter for supervisors and administrators. When a member deviates from policy or procedure, don’t accept it as a one-off event or write it off as OK because the outcome was positive. Deviation from policy requires an investigation exploring the following questions: 

  • Is the policy/procedure written so it is usable and achieves its stated purpose?
  • Has the member been trained on the policy?
  • Did the policy deviation occur during a time-critical event where the member used recognition-primed decision-making (RPDM)?
  • Did the policy deviation occur during a non-time-critical event where a more classic decision-making process was or should have been used?

Two caveats as you begin the investigation: First, until the reason for deviation from policy or procedure is determined, it should not be categorized differently. Using any other term, such as ignored, disregarded or failed to observe, implies the member did something wrong when, in fact, that determination will be the result of the investigation. By contrast, deviation implies no fault; it’s simply a fact.

Second, don’t overcomplicate your conclusion. Generally, the investigation should have one of four outcomes:  

  1. Determination the deviation was the result of poorly written policy or procedure
  2. Determination the deviation was the result of lack of training on the policy or procedure
  3. Determination the deviation was proper under the conditions and was made for an articulable reason, based upon the experience and knowledge of the member
  4. Determination the deviation was improper because it occurred without an articulable reason

With those guidelines in mind, let’s look at each question in detail. 

Did the policy/procedure properly account for the situation? 

A poorly written policy or procedure is one that does not adequately address law, best practice, current equipment and technology. Importantly, the policy must also reflect the reality of how the organization operates. If your investigation finds the policy or procedure is inadequate, then it needs to be updated before a member can be found to have ignored or disregarded it. It can be as simple as your fire investigation policy failing to require the use of a thermal imaging camera (TIC). If a member fails to use a TIC and the incident commander clears a scene where a fire later erupts, the failure of the policy is glaring.

Was the member trained on the policy/procedure? 

Put simply: How can a member be found to have disregarded or ignored a policy on which they were never trained? Initial and continuous training using policy and procedure is a key part of implementation and use. Consistent training reinforces a policy or procedure and makes it a part of the member’s decision-making process, whether that decision is made during RPDM or classical decision-making. 

We all know the phrase “go to your training.” Well, a member can’t go to their training if they never had it. Training is a department responsibility and if a member deviated from policy because they were not adequately trained on it, the blame lies with the department.

Did the policy deviation occur during a time-critical event?

If the policy or procedure is found to be valid and the member was trained on it, we can move on to examine the member’s reason for deviating.

When it comes to time-critical incidents, firefighters usually employ RPDM. A member will quickly, within seconds:

  1. Evaluate a situation
  2. Consider a solution based on training and previous experience
  3. Run a quick validation and either accept or discard the solution, repeating this process until an acceptable solution is determined and then implemented

Any hope of following policy or procedure in RPDM requires continual training on policy and procedure so that when a member in a time-critical situation goes to their training and experience, the policy and procedure is included in that process.

A common example of a time-critical policy deviation is failure to perform a 360-degree assessment, per scene-arrival procedures, when confronted with visible smoke and fire upon arrival. Instead, the crew immediately commences operations based on what the company officer sees in front of him or her, leading to a failure to fully size-up the scene and assess location of victims or fire on the B, C or D sides.

Did the policy deviation occur during a non-time-critical event?

Non-time-critical deviations are easier to assess. Here, a member engages in a more classic decision-making process of identification, analysis, evaluation and implementation. Often this process will include asking for advice from other members before making the decision. 

In non-time-critical events, it should be second nature that the policy/procedure is followed (remember, we’re assuming the policy is well written and valid and the member has been trained on it). Firefighter deviation from policy in non-time-critical events is likely due to a conscious decision to disregard the policy. Such decisions are usually attributable to lack of emphasis on policy or procedure from leadership, misplaced priorities or the member simply believing they know better. The member may rationalize his or her decision, especially when there is a lack of consequences, but there is rarely a valid reason for disregarding policy or procedure in non-time-critical scenarios.

Consider the following example of a non-time-critical deviation from the operational readiness policy/procedure: Apparatus operators are required to inspect the personnel accountability materials on the apparatus at the start of their shift. An operator conducts the inspection and finds several tags are missing. Following procedure, the operator reports this to her company officer. 

The procedure further requires the company officer to make repair or replacement of missing equipment a priority at start of shift. The company officer receives the information but decides to deal with the missing personal accountability materials after reviewing and finishing incident reports for NFIRS. In the meantime, a structure fire with rescue assignment is received and the company responds. Two members find themselves having to make entry without tagging in. 

We don’t need to go further with the example. The company officer clearly made a conscious decision to disregard policy and a chain of events follows. Assuming the company officer was trained on the procedure, his priorities were misplaced.

Digging Deeper

The Dallas and Phoenix examples we started with further illustrate that deviation from policy is rarely black and white. We’ll assume the members were trained on the applicable policies. The Dallas example is a time-critical situation involving firefighters confronted with the knowledge that there were gunshot victims in a house with the shooter in the vicinity and police not on scene. Perhaps the policy needs to be restated to adequately protect the department and its members while accounting for the realities of such incidents. If it is determined the policy is appropriate, should training evolutions include scenarios where members must wait to reach known victims and mandatory post-incident stress debriefing?

The Phoenix example, where the fire marshal accepted a substantial donation while on duty for a charity in which he was involved and as a result was demoted, is non-time-critical. It required a detailed investigation to determine the circumstances. Here, the city of Phoenix deemed it appropriate to demote the fire marshal, while also finding that the business owner didn’t receive favorable treatment. 

The bottom line: Each firefighter deviation from policy should be the subject of a thorough investigation that starts with questioning the validity and applicability of the policy or procedure itself. Next, determine whether the member was initially and consistently trained on the policy. Then review the conditions under which the deviation took place. Only then can you properly determine whether the policy needs to be updated, additional training is required, or the member’s actions were proper or improper.

Scott Eskwitt Operation Manager

SCOTT ESKWITT is Operations Manager Fire Development for Lexipol and an active member of the Fair Haven (NJ) Fire

Department, serving as Chief from 2012 to 2015. He is also a member of the Fair Haven First Aid Squad and the Red Bank (NJ) Fire Department. Scott is also an attorney and has spent his legal career advising municipalities and fire departments on risk management, human resources and labor relations issues. His undergraduate degree in Industrial & Labor Relations was received from Cornell University and his law degree from SUNY Law at Buffalo.

1 Smart Career delivers more than training

Juggling Personal Relationships and Professional Ambitions

Listen to the PODCAST here


Listen to host Eric Dye & guest Kelly Walsh discuss the following:

  • Remind our listeners what is 1 Smart Life?
  • One of your areas of expertise is work-life balance. Can you give our listeners some tips on how to juggle personal relationships and professional ambitions?
  • Talk to us about the teeter-totter conundrum. How does that concept apply to every day life?
  • Who should hire a life coach?
  • What is the difference between a life coach and a therapist?
  • With the extra stress of the holidays, does it make work-life balance even harder? How do you manage extra stress and unique situations?
Video is the exclusive property of 1 Smart Career

Kelly Walsh is one of our coaches for the annual Leadership Academy. This year we are hosting it in Lafayette, LA. For information on registration click here

DHS federal and local agents ascend on Atlanta to assure safety and security

Super Bowl LIII comes to the south playing in the new Mercedes Benz Stadium February 2, 2019.  The players and coaching staff of both teams have been preparing for this important game all year.  Atlanta Georgia has been preparing for this as well for the past 2 years.  City and county municipalities,  first responders, emergency personnel, fire departments along mutual aid from outlying areas have come together to with an incident command playbook that is perhaps just as important as the playbook of either football team.  This orchestrated effort to assure safety and security of the players, coaches, fans, visitors etc. is short of phenomenal.

On Sunday, two teams and hundreds of thousands of fans will descend on Atlanta, Georgia for the 53rd Super Bowl. Those players and fans will be protected by some 600 employees of the Homeland Security Department and a host of technology provided by the city and the federal government.

“Our Atlanta-area public safety team has done an outstanding job in developing their plan for this weekend’s activity,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said during a joint press conference Wednesday. “You can rest assured they have thought of every contingency and have worked extraordinarily hard to make this a safe and secure gameday.”

Homeland Security and FBI officials worked with local law enforcement to plan day-of operations and made recommendations to bolster security at the event, including “more than 100 different physical and cybersecurity assessments,” Nielsen said.

“In addition to what the human talent affords us, we also are relying heavily on technology. And everyone that has come to the table has brought some shape or form of that for us to leverage,” Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields said.

Nick Annan, special agent in charge of the Homeland Security Investigations unit for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Georgia and the lead federal security coordinator for the Super Bowl, enumerated some of those technologies being employed.

“Numerous DHS agencies involved in Super Bowl LIII have committed in excess of 600 assets, which include: special agents, pilots, K9 dogs, handlers, advanced cargo and vehicle screening technology, special response teams, magnetometer screening trainers, air assets, mobile command centers, anti-human trafficking, counterfeit ticket and merchandise investigative teams, consequence management, bio-watch screening, you get the idea,” Annan said during the press conference.

See more from the DHS secretary Kirtjen Nielsen

As part of a partnership with the Gary Sinise Foundation’s First Responder Outreach, Verizon has profiled a dozen different NFL stars, from quarterback AJ McCarron to Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews — all of whom have been saved by a first responder at some point in their lives. Each story, shared along with many more at, shows support for a community that not only saved 12 athletes’ lives but serves around the country on a daily basis.

Football fans — any any others — who have been helped by first responders or merely want to pay tribute to their service are encouraged to visit to share their stories or contribute to the cause. They’ll also catch a glimpse of Verizon’s full-length, CBS Sports Network-created documentary, “The Team That Wouldn’t Be Here,” set to air Monday, Feb. 4 (the day after the Super Bowl) at 9 p.m., with the touching Super Bowl LIII ad campaign.

Click here for the entire video


Pine Bluff Battalion Chief selected for FSEDI !

Chief Clark selected out of dozens of applicants.

Harold Clark selected into 2019 Fire Service Executive Development Institute!
Please join me in congratulating Battalion Chief Harold Clark in being selected by the International Association of Fire Chiefs to attend the Fire Service Executive Development Institute. This leadership development program will provide new and aspiring chiefs with the
tools they need to have successful and productive tenures.
The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) announced that Battalion Chief Harold Clark
of Pine Bluff Fire & Emergency Services has been accepted into the Fire Service Executive
Development Institute (FSEDI). Chief Clark competed with new fire chiefs and chief officers from across the country and Canada to become a member of the 2019 cohort program. Along with being accepted into the program Chief Clark has been awarded a scholarship which covers the expenses for attending the program.

Chief Harold Clark Jr’s credentials helped him stand out above the other candidates.

Battalion Fire Chief Harold Clark, Jr., is an Arkansas native that started his fire service career with Pine Bluff Fire & Emergency Services in July of 2000.

Chief Clark started out as a firefighter and was one of the first Emergency Medical Technicians in the department, and has
had increasing rank and responsibilities with the department throughout his career.

Chief Clark is a 1992 graduate of Watson Chapel High School.

MBA degree in Public Administrations from Webster University, and a BA degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff; AAS Degree in Fire Science from Southeast Arkansas College

Chief is a 2010 graduate of Leadership Pine Bluff, a 2015 graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Citizen’s Academy, and a 2016 graduate of the Carl Holmes Executive Development Institute (EDI).

Chief Clark has numerous certifications such as:
▪ Emergency Medical Technician
▪ Hazardous Materials Technician
▪ CPR Instructor
▪ EMT Instructor
▪ Certified Training Officer
▪ Certified Fire Instructor
▪ Certified Fire Investigator
▪ Certified Specialized Law Enforcement Officer
▪ Homeland Security Liaison Officer

Chief Clark was PBF&ES’s second Public Information Officer and liaison to the Fire Chief. He currently serves as an adjunct Instructor for the Arkansas Fire Academy, and is a member of the Pine Bluff Chamber of Commerce, Fraternal Order of Firefighters, Arkansas State Firefighters
Association, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Delta Mu Delta, NAACP, Toastmasters International, Black Chief Officer’s Committee, and the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters.

Also, Chief Clark is a board member of the Jefferson County Drug
Court, Criminal Justice Advisory Board, Pine Bluff Parks & Recreation Advisory Board, and a member of the Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Club.

This is the seventh year that the Motorola Solutions Foundation has provided the IAFC with a grant to fund the program. “The Motorola Solutions Foundation recognizes the critical role of
fire chiefs at the regional, state and national level,” said Matt Blakely, executive director of the Motorola Solutions Foundation. “We remain committed to supporting the education and development of emerging leaders in fire service to ensure they are successful in protecting the
communities they care about.”

The Fire Service Executive Development Institute is a year-long leadership-development program created and implemented by the IAFC to provide new and aspiring chiefs with the tools they need to have successful and productive tenures. The members of the cohort will meet in January 2019 for their first six-day session in addition to two other sessions scheduled six
months apart. The group will communicate between sessions using an online community.

Pine Bluff Fire Chief Shauwn Howell said “Chief Clark is a dedicated, loyal and invaluable
employee of PBF&ES. I am very proud and supportive of what he has accomplished and continues to achieve in his career. I sincerely admire his desire to obtain professional development opportunities that enhance himself, PBF&ES and the community he loves and has
served for nearly two decades. There is no doubt in my mind that one day he will be selected as a Fire Chief to lead a department of his own.”
“Congratulations to this year’s cohort of emerging fire and emergency service leaders,” said
Chief Dan Eggleston, IAFC president and chairman of the board. “The IAFC’s Fire Service Executive Development Program has become the premier career- and leadership-development
program in our profession thanks to the generous support of the Motorola Solutions Foundation. Many officers from the previous programs have been successful in achieving fire chief positions
and are effectively leading their departments.”

Performance Management pain or power?

By: Bob Norton, performance management specialist & consultant

Is performance management a pain for your organization or is it a power behind your organization?

When I first started working with fire departments, cities, utility districts and municipalities years ago I noticed common problems that each organization faced. These problems were sometimes intense and severe; other times they were just daily irritants. No matter the size or scope of these common problems, they created for each organization a reminder as to the need to get “serious” about performance management.

What is performance management? It is a combination of individual, team and organization goals moving in the same direction. It ensures that the employees and leaders are empowered to perform at their optimum level. It enhances communication and consistency within the whole organization.

Do any of the following common problems reflect your organization?

  • Consistency between shifts, stations, and leaders
  • Communication from Leadership does not get all the way to the first level employees
  • Employees taking things personally
  • No common goals on an ongoing basis
  • No clear expectations for each position
  • No accountability for lazy leaders
  • No consequences for high performers or low performers
  • Lack of follow-up and follow-through
  • Ineffective Performance Reports/Reviews

If you can relate to any of the above common problems then performance management is essential to your organization.

What I found in each organization was a lack of clear understanding as to what leadership and performance management was all about. Many times individuals were placed in leadership because of tenure or expertise in a certain area, but they lacked proper leadership skills and focus. They tended to be more subjective in their leadership and not objective. They based their leadership on how they felt or what they thought about an employee and they missed the target of what they truly get paid for as a leader.

Every leader gets paid for results. They get the results through the only unlimited resource they have – the people that are a part of their teams. The truth about leadership is that every leader must get the most of each of their employees, and help those employees be the best they can be in their specific positions.

Leadership of these organizations also misunderstood the best motivator for employees in the workforce. They thought money was the best motivator but they found out once they paid the employee a certain amount within a short time the employee wanted more. I ask leaders every week, “What is the number one motivator?” I will get all kinds of responses but the number one motivator for employees is achievement. If we achieve something we are motivated, if we spin our wheels and get nothing done we are dragging by the end of the day. The number two motivator is recognition. Therefore, if a leader is recognizing achievement on an ongoing basis then employees will stay motivated.

Another problem that was very common was a lack of an agreement of expectations. Everyone in the organization had an idea as to what a specific position was to do but they did not have a clear agreement as to expectations. Therefore, performance was up and down continually. If an employee was motivated internally then the performance would be more up then down. However, most employees lacked the internal motivation and the performance was only up when a leader was micromanaging an employee, which created additional problems.

The fact is that most employees want to do a great job. Tension and conflict in the workplace occurs when the leader’s expectation differs from the employees’ expectation.

For example, an employee was trying to do a good job (their expectation) and was upset when they found out that leader wasn’t pleased with the outcome (differing expectation). Whose fault is that? Answer: the organizational leadership.

If the organization requires that everyone agrees on the expectation of each position, the tasks required in that position and how those tasks should be accomplished then there is little reason for conflict. Additionally, as the organization scales, or experiences turnover, the organization need not start from scratch again and again because the organization is not held together by individuals, it is held together by its own structure. Finally, most of the organizations conducted performance reviews once a year because they “had to”, and they were a PAIN! Leaders could not remember what happened 11 months ago, or 6 months ago; therefore, they usually responded to “how they felt” about an employee over the 4-5 weeks before the performance review was due. Also, the organizations would use the same performance review for every position within the organization and therefore specific areas important to specific positions would be missed in the review. Leaders would tell me how they dreaded the reviews and detested having to fill them out. The insecure leaders not wanting to offend an employee would give the employee good scores, but then complain the rest of the year about the employee. The major problem with these performance reviews was the subjectivity of them. They were based on the leader’s feelings and thoughts and not the employee’s actual performance.

Performance management systems and the associated annual performance reports have long been deemed a necessary but cumbersome process. The performance reports often have unnecessary complexity, the time they take and the frequently onerous format and content result in low or ineffective utilization. Most annual performance reports end up formally documenting specific issues from the recent past and vague comments mixed with editorials about the preceding fifty weeks. This questionable content is biased heavily by the mood of the leader and their relationship to the employee at the time of review. The annual performance report often ends up being inaccurate, soft or unnecessarily punitive, rather than an effective motivator. This usually leads to conflict, not improved performance.

What’s the Answer?

Tenzinga Performance Management system is the answer! It is an online active performance management system. It is a system that can be accessed from anywhere there is an internet connection. Each problem mentioned above is addressed through the use and implementation of Tenzinga.

TENZINGA Performance Power™ is the solution to the performance management problem. TENZINGA has developed a revolutionary performance management system that is based on decades of research and carefully addresses the failures of all traditional performance management systems. TENZINGA Performance Power™ offers leaders a simple roadmap to successfully manage both exceptional and underperforming employees. TENZINGA enables leaders and executives alike, to evaluate and recognize achievement of employees on a constant basis in a matter of seconds, turning recognition into results. With TENZINGA’s Follow-up & Follow-thru process, leaders will ensure that problem areas are identified, addressed and corrected.

Employees are invigorated on a consistent basis and challenged to perform at an elevated level throughout the year. Employees on TENZINGA Performance Power™ have clearly defined expectations for their position and know exactly what it will take to meet and exceed those expectations. They have the knowledge, ability and desire to work with leadership to create plans for their future, and then target their efforts to attain it.

Clients of Tenzinga have stated that Tenzinga Performance Management has effected morale in a very positive way:

“TENZINGA Performance Management has contributed greatly to our organization’s morale”

“The TENZINGA Performance Management system has improved our staff morale”

“We have found that the TENZINGA Performance management system has assisted with key employee retention”

“Tenzinga creates an environment for success”

“Tenzinga is a Bachelor’s Degree in a box!”

How Does It Work?

Each position within the organization has tasks, standards and measurements developed and implemented within the Tenzinga Performance Management system. Each leader enters a minimum of once a month a performance log for the employee. This performance log is objective and is focused on what the employee has done and not how the leader “feels” or “think” about the employee’s performance.

The employee always knows up to the minute how they are performing in their specific position. They are alerted as to a performance log has been submitted for them.

Clients respond with comments regarding the ongoing performance logs:

“With the TENZINGA Performance Management system our employees are always up to date with their performance ratings”

“Everyone has been very prompt in completing performance logs every month and the regular feedback is helpful”

“I really believe the system forces (in a good way) managers to be more cognizant of how they communicate and the importance of writing dialog.”

“I personally love the fact that we can document actions immediately so that we can guide staff in the best direction as time passes instead of in arrears.

“I like the system and I think it helps supervisors evaluate subordinates in a timely matter instead of semi-annually.”

Since the employee has received objective feedback from their leader throughout the year, the Annual Performance Reports take only minutes to complete at the end of the year. Performance Reports are saved to each employee’s dashboard for easy access by the employee or the leader.

Users of Tenzinga have endorsed the Performance Reports with the following comments:

“The TENZINGA Performance Management system has greatly reduced the time it takes to produce a professional performance report.”

 “The TENZINGA Performance Management system produces a performance report that is fair to all employees, and cuts out the subjective opinions.”

“The TENZINGA Performance Management system has cut our supervisors’ performance report completion times in half”

Tenzinga is known as a “wind-shield” and not a “rear-view mirror” system; meaning, the time that a leader spends with an employee at the end of the year is looking ahead and not behind. The focus is on the Development Plan that is a part of the Tenzinga system. It allows the leader and employee to build an “action plan” for the year on how the employee will improve in the core competencies/values of the organization. It also has a succession planning module in it.

There are also Leadership Forms that assist the Leader in Coaching, Mentoring and Counseling.

Tenzinga Performance Management system builds an Org Chart for your organization that enables employees and leaders to view the organization and employees as a whole team.

The structure of Tenzinga allows the General Manager to see down through the organization. It produces a transparency that exposes lazy leaders and ensures communication is active and effective.

Clients have enjoyed the Org Chart feature by stating:

“I have enjoyed using the org. chart in the TENZINGA system to determine who to call for things.  It was an added unexpected bonus.”

“Tenzinga has allowed me as a manager to see that my leaders are doing their job as a leader, and are engaging with their employees continually.”


Performance management does not have to be a pain, but it can be the power behind great success. Leaders and organizations that want to become more than just a mediocre functioning entity realize the importance and vital significance of having an effective ongoing performance management system. The challenge is being open to a culture and organizational change that causes every position within the organization to strive for excellence on a daily basis.

If your organization desires to move to a higher level of performance and achieve greater results then please give us a call at 615.647.8230 or email us at for more information.

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