Moneyball: Changing the Game for The Fire Service, Part 2

Here are some more of my favorite quotes from the movie ‘Moneyball’ and my thoughts on  how they relate to the fire service today:

“Your goal shouldn’t be to buy players, your goal should be to buy wins.”   If we are truly serious about reducing incidents, then we have to evaluate our resource allocation strategy.  But if the goal overall is to prevent fires, then why is there such an imbalance between suppression activity vs. prevention?  Resources are not equitably appropriated to the needed areas in effort to bring fires and home accidents down.  Information technology, digitization, performance & process improvement, and analytics are valuable tools to reform the way we deliver services.  More staffing is not the answer now in tight fiscal environments.

“I’m not paying you for the player you used to be, I’m paying you for the player you are right now.”   Probies are the lifeblood of any fire organization.  They do most of the crappy work around the firehouse (or they used to).  Recent layoffs in my town showed how valuable it was to have younger and more physically fit men manning the hose (this will be the topic of the next post).  And the trend in the past few decades have been to reduce the pay and benefits of those just starting out their careers in relation to their older coworkers when you consider inflation and previous collective bargaining contracts.  Now I’m not advocating to significantly raise entry salaries, but was the value received for longer serving workers that much greater?  Doubtful.  Longevity pay along with other benefits was nice to those that received them in the past, but at the expense of their new fellow coworkers getting the shaft to make up the money in the contract does not make it fair let alone justifiable business.  An experienced, battle-tested core of supervisors will always be needed on the frontline, but the organization is dependent on young blood, fresh legs, and strong backs to be the workhorse to help accomplish goals.

 “We’re going to change the game.”   “Claim it, aim it, proclaim it”.  That’s how true visionaries function toward achieving their victories.  And no less is required today from the public safety leader at any level in their organization.  But how much easier is this when the head honcho charts the path toward innovation and reinvention.  The corporate culture does a dramatic shift and off you go!  If (and that’s a big ‘if’) the frontline folks buy into the new direction,  then it’s over.  You’ve made it to the mountain top.  Hang on for breakthroughs and hard running.  Sounds good?  Now go out there and change the world.