Don’t Communicate Like the Military with Brian Schaeffer

For just about as long as anyone can remember, the fire service has operated in a pseudo-military style.

Members have ranks, of course.

And complex org charts are a favorite Powerpoint slide.

The similarities to the military include passing information up and down the ranks.

But today’s guest says that’s an old concept that has become a recipe for communications failure.

Brian Schaeffer is the chief of the Spokane, Washington fire department. He’s served in fire departments in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest over the past 25 years and works on several public safety and health-related committees. He has lectured on issues such as the psychology of decision-making, servant leadership, and high-performing organizations

Brian’s article: Organizational Communication


1 Comment

  1. This guy is so arrogant that he discounts thousands of years of experience and proof positive that the para-military system of communication is essential to a well-run fire department and the ability to maintain discipline both on and off the fire ground. Furthermore, the para-military structure is what attracts many individuals to the profession and is essential to building esprit de corps within a professional organization…[EDIT BY MODERATOR] In short, he lacks the discipline and experience and hasn’t earned the right to discredit the traditions of the fire service and its para-military structure.

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