How to Succeed in Volunteerism (and Landuse)

Secrets to Succeeding as a Volunteer

Or any job for that matter...

By Del Albright

Having achieved the rank of Chief in the fire service, as well as being an officer in the military, I would like to share with you the secrets of success from what I've learned, and how it applies to being a volunteer. It's a simple formula.

Let's say you're young and want to succeed in whatever you're doing, and you are surrounded by hungry competitors, old timers, "bs'ers," know-it-all's, posers, and some wise, old gray beards. Who do you pay attention and listen to? How do you sort the wheat from the chaff? How do you rise above the pack? Well, the secret is twofold.

First, as I told hundreds of young firefighters who wanted to promote someday, learn to listen. Listen more and talk less. That's step one of the formula. And yes, it takes practice to sort out the good advice from the war stories; but it can be done with a little practice (and experience). Listen for the little details; listen intently with what I call aerobic listening -- fully engaged communication. Then jump to step 2.

Step 2 is to ask more and guess less. Ask good questions and listen. When in doubt about an assignment, don't guess what you have to do - ASK! That way you'll be sure to get it right as you're getting it done! In many assignments the asking can also come in the form of Expectations. Ask what is expected of you.

If you're the boss of a job or assignment, learn to share your expectations of those following you. It's simple. If it makes you smile, write an expectation to achieve it. If it makes you frown, write an expectation to avoid it.

Here's a little more on Expectations:

Bottom line to success: learn to listen, then ask more and guess less. Get it right the first time and get further ahead in life faster!


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