Politics and Tactics with Frank Ricci, Anthony Avillo and Chris Pepler

Politics and Tactics with Frank Ricci, Anthony Avillo and Chris Pepler

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

"Trust but Verify"

By Frank Ricci                                       Trust but Verify

President Reagan used the Russian proverb "doveryai, no proveryai" to communicate America's position in negotiating with the Soviet Union.  This was one of our nations most important nuclear arms reduction agreements know as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). He used it at every meeting!

No less important we utilize the proverb to raise our kids and firefighters. We have all heard it " what, you don't trust me." Remember if everyone made great choices all the time there would be little need for officers.

That is why there is redundancy built into our ranks. This ensures critical tasks don't get missed. However it is critical that the fire officer doesn't micro manage and we balance oversight.

Keep in mind your own reaction when a heavy hand from the rank above comes down, stays on your back and not only tells you what to do, but how to do it. This demonstrates a break down in command and a total lack of trust. This should not be confused with communicating a vision through expectations and training.

As a officer I strive to communicate expectations through training. This is one of the keys to achieving tactical excellence. Your team will excel if they understand their value and are proficient at a task level.

The goal for a good boss on the fire ground is to communicate the task that fits into the operational objectives and let your team do what they do best. In another words tell them what to do, not how to do it and than verify that it was done. 

This strategy will ensure that you do not get overly tactically involed loosing valuable perspective of the big picture. You will be able to recognize your own weakness in your training program. 

President Reagan left the legacy as the great communicator. When our actions can lead to injury or death it is imperative that we all strive to be better communicators.  Always communicate expectations, trust but verify.