At the heart of every successful organization, you should find a well-written, thought-out and comprehensive strategic plan.
Any organization can become successful and fill the needs of its client base, however how that organization grows, and what determines how successful it will be, all relates to its strategic plan. Consider the strategic plan as a rudder on a ship. Without it, the ship still floats, but where is it going? How will it get there?
One of the main focuses of any organization’s leadership team should be to set priorities, allocate resources, and create a culture that enables everyone to work toward common goals and objectives. This concept, when applied correctly, can be how any organization, including fire departments, achieves success. For any management team to begin steering the ship in the right direction, a proper base to support the strategic plan must first be in place. This base is comprised of a proper organizational mission statement, vision statement and core values.
The Niagara-on-the-Lake Fire & Emergency Services (NOTLFES) recently adopted a new mission statement, vision statement and a set of three core values to help guide the department in a positive direction for years to come. This task was not completed in a bubble, but rather by gathering input from all members of the department. If an organization is to create an environment where all members are truly working toward common goals and objectives, they must be a part of the process. Vision and mission statements are often confused and used interchangeably, however each serves a different purpose. It should be clear they are meeting their defined intent. A mission statement articulates the organization’s purpose, while a vision statement defines the overarching aspirations of what it hopes to achieve or to become.
The newly revised mission statement for NOTLFES is “To protect lives and property through prevention, education and response.” This statement is short, sweet, and tells the citizens of this community exactly what we do.
Our newly revised vision statement is “To be high-performing, progressive, and visionary in the provision of emergency services within our community.” We describe exactly what we want to achieve as an organization. Why not strive to be the best, all the time?
Following the creation of these new statements, we set forth to determine what our new core values will be. Core values should be the fundamental beliefs and guiding principles for all those involved in the organization. These values can assist in dictating the behaviours of members, while also defining the differences between right and wrong. Ultimately, a solid set of core values can assist an organization to determine if it is on the right path to fulfilling its strategic plan. This task again was completed by polling, and gathering input from all members of the department. There is pride in knowing that the foundation for the NOTLFES was crafted by everyone involved.
Some of you may have noticed that we are pushing our core values a lot. They are becoming a part of our daily lives, and we present them proudly. They are on all of our social media posts. They are now on most of our documents. They are even being placed directly onto our apparatus. The new core values for the NOTLFES are Commitment, Teamwork, and Community. These new values are important to us. With commitment, we feel responsible for the goals, mission, and vision of the department and are dedicated to upholding and achieving them. We are committed to our organization and each other. Through teamwork, we are highly skilled in building trust, solidarity and collaboration. We value our trust and respect for each other and are loyal to our fellow firefighters and community. Lastly, with a focus on community, we share common attitudes, interests and goals. The needs of our community are at the forefront of all that we do.
The department hopes that with new foundations in place, helped cast by all members, we have set up a bright and positive future ensuring that the department is successful, ever-improving and always meeting the needs of the residents we serve.
Deputy Fire Chief
The NOTLFES is writing a regular column with The Local related to all things fire. Expect to see articles related to fire safety, training, fire department initiatives or developments within the department. The NOTLFES recognizes one of the best ways to ensure we reach every member of the community is through using all media platforms available. Thank you for reading, and looking forward to the articles that we produce.