My dad was a police officer, but I’ve become a firefighter. You’re not going to find that skill on my business website,, but I’m thinking of adding it.

I’m not the kind of firefighters who watch over our homes and neighborhoods, but a firefighter within organizations when a crisis breaks out. There are several things to think about to make sure that there’s a successful outcome once that fire breaks out.

Fires Will Happen

It’s inevitable. Fire will break out in your organization. How you react to it is the key to success. Fires have two results. How you choose to look at them will determine what happens next in your organization. Fires can be devastating, leaving carnage and destruction, or they can be cleansing, preparing the way for a new way of doing things free of the clutter that caused the fire in the first place.

Focus on Putting out the Fire

So, there’s a fire in your organization. You smell the smoke, you see the fire. How do you react? Do you start investigating how the fire started? Figure out what happened to spark the flames, and begin trying to prosecute the arsonist?

That might seem comforting at first, but in the meantime, your business burns down around your ears. You need to attack the fire first. Quickly. And that sometimes means that if you’re the fire chief, you have to grab a hose or an axe and get in there to start swinging. The fire doesn’t care about organizational structure. And fighting fires with your co-workers can help build a team-spirit which will last well beyond the fire.

Don’t Start Fires

Seems simple enough, but you’d be surprised how many organizations go from fire to fire, without taking the time to analyze what caused the fire in the first place. A post-fire analysis can help you determine what started the fire, whether simple preventative measures like sprinklers or fire alarms might help, and how to prevent that kind of fire from breaking out again.

While firefighting can be exhilarating, it can also be exhausting. A good fire prevention plan will help your team thrive and be well rested when the inevitable fire breaks out again.