Being able to spend a day in the field undertaking training with the FDNY on Randall’s Island, New York, is a rare experience. One that will always be respected and treasured. A huge shout out to a team leader Art and the generosity and kindness he showed throughout the day.
The team were patient, kind and supportive throughout the day and showed a connection and respect for one another that is rarely seen.
Each exercise; from climbing five flights of stairs in full kit and panicking, through to putting out a car fire and going into a smoke-filled apartment to find “babies”, the business lessons were numerous.
So, what did hands on training with the FDNY teach me that I can use in my business life?
- Be clear on your purpose
- Focus on what you need to do and don’t be distracted; this means you can still look out for your buddy
- Don’t lose your flow; once this happens it gets hard to get it back
- Don’t panic, when you panic you are done; this means do not be spooked by what others are doing around you. When the other teams completed the smoke-filled apartment exercise before my team I did not ask “how did it go?” Not because I was not interested, but their responses would have made me doubt my ability to complete the exercise. Each of us has different realities.
- Work in partnership with people; many people help achieve the outcome
- Have quiet confidence; but do not get too far ahead of yourself
- Have a go and do not regret doing something; sometimes the opportunity won’t come again – i.e. this day.
- Be proactive
- Don’t talk yourself into a situation
- Have tactics and an idea of how you can and may respond in a certain situation
- Smarter tactics always get a better outcome; think and don’t rush just to get through an uncomfortable situation. The outcome is never good.
- Make a conscious decision to stop, compose and re-set; there will always be times when you need to self-reflect and re-engineer your approach. For me, it was loosening my helmet and mask a little bit, so I did not get overly claustrophobic – just slightly!
- Own the need to pause; highly important when facing challenging situations
- Be kind and patient
- Avoid the need to rush, no matter how uncomfortable you are feeling; like the feeling of wearing a whole kit and mask crawling into a smoke-filled apartment. There is always a process to follow
- Be willing to change perspectives about who you are and what you are capable of; trust those around you and trust yourself