Approximately seven years ago the district embarked on a journey—one that we had never imagined. Our department was starting a rapid growth process and a change in culture from an all volunteer to a predominately career organization. We were hunting for our organization’s values, but we struggled to discover them. Then we began working with Dr. Kelly Patrick Gerling and his system of leadership development called Values Based® Leadership. Through our work with him we discovered our organization values and true culture. It took about a year.
Since then, our employees continue to work together to use the tools that fulfill our values within the department. Annually, all the employees, career and volunteer, participate in our values survey to assess which of our Values Based Leadership skills we are using well, and those we need to develop further. We also conduct regular open communication meetings about any issues of concern to anyone. We use the survey results and open communication meeting issues to conduct targeted leadership training exercises with all the employees.
Our targeted training focuses on the necessary leadership skills to assist all of us with our values, from the fire chief to the firefighters. These skills include inner skills for preparing for values situations, and outer skills for listening to, expressing and solving values problems. Through these skills we fulfill our values and help to prevent their violation. As we have continued our journey, we work as mastering this system, which has brought about higher morale, an improved culture, reduced turnover, and enhanced service to this community. Here are our values: