Where We Are Now: October 6, 2020

As the Smoke Clears…..Minds Remain Focused

5:07AM PST

Team –

As the smoke begins to clear, it’s nearly impossible to understand the fear, anxiety, and desire for calm that resides in the minds of our people and communities suffering from fire danger. CAL FIRE is a very dependable site to review the fire status in California.

Five fires still burning are consuming more than 1.5 million acres of land. The August Complex fire, largely in Mendocino County, consumes over 1 million acres alone. 4 million acres have been lost.

Being tested is an understatement for our firefighters and first responders.

What is our role? How do we help? It’s my hope, after containment, we will have a call to action on how we can help. I am hopeful we will all respond with the same passion, energy and purpose that our firefighters have demonstrated year after year.

Many parts of our operations are beginning planning for 2021. The planning and budgeting season always causes me to pause. Time to reflect on what worked, what didn’t, and how to improve. It starts with me, my behavior and performance, and cascades to our business.

This past weekend, David Frosh, a friend and former PUI Board Member for 10 years, sent me a Harvard Business Review writing from 1999. “Managing Oneself” by Peter F. Drucker. The context of the article/book is “thriving in the knowledge economy.”

It’s a quick read, less than 10 pages. A few of the powerful sound bites are as follows:

  • How do we really know what we are good at? What are our strengths? His suggestion is every time you make a significant decision, write down the expected result for 12 months out? The learning moment opening the envelope 12 months later will be telling.
  • Am I a reader or a listener? Massively important knowledge to have about yourself. I am 100 percent not a reader. I am a listener. I rarely script (write down) thoughts, but I have thought about and visualized a message for days or weeks before delivery.
  • It takes far more energy to improve from incompetence to mediocrity than from first rate performance to excellence. Be focused on what you are good at and outsource everything else.
  • What are my values? To work in an organization whose value system is incompatible with one’s own is defeating.
  • There is one prerequisite for managing the second half of your life (or year, or anything else): you must begin doing it long before you enter it. Business planning for 2021 starts now!

I caught up with a long-time dear friend in early September. He too is 60+ and recently had a heart scare and heart surgery. After hearing about his challenges, I said “What are you up to for fun?” He said, “I am training to be 100 years old.” 

I love this response. Active, positive, goal oriented, and full of life. 

In a world where you are consumed with taking care of others, pause, reflect, take care of yourselfm and focus on the good in you! Crank it up to excellence.

This is Where We Are Now.



Mark A McLaughlin

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