Gotta have goals!

•October 28, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Learning how to set and track goals are a fundamental life skill. Everyone should not only know how to do it but should also practice and use the skill continually. Firefighters use goals as a means of establishing standard operating procedures or guidelines. They also use them to measure improvements to response and for individual growth.

These goals help people  focus on what matters. If the goal is to get two engines to a scene in ten minutes, then if it takes more time then we have to look at travel distance between stations or how long it takes for the individual crews to react to the call. If the goal is to get water flowing to the nozzle within one minute of being on scene then we are looking at how long it takes the driver to get his wheels chalked and the pump ready, and how long it take the nozzle-man to pull the hose lay.

With Cataclysm coming out it is time, for me at least, to asses the goals for the game. (both for me as a player and as well as for my guild as a guild leader) When setting goals it helps to be realistic, it is also good to be a bit idealistic. Don’t expect to be a high-end raider when you don’t have the computer and the time to invest in it. (if you do, more power to you) On the other hand, setting a goal to kill every boss in Cataclysm might actually be possible for any person who is willing to put proper effort towards that goal. Remember there is a difference between being a high-end raider and being an accomplished one.

After determining what your goals are the next step is always to document the goal. If it isn’t written, it isn’t done. Writing down your goals allows you to think about what it takes to reach that goal. It also allows you to track your goals to see (measure) how you are doing on your goals at a later point in time. Lastly it  helps you to communicate your goals to others which is also an important part of setting goals. Telling others about your goals forces you to have accountability for those goals. If things are not heading the right way, these other people can help you focus and get back on track. (think about the way Weight Watchers forces this accountability with weigh-ins) Communicating those goals also helps you gather team mates to help you achieve those goals, it makes no sense to set a team oriented goal that nobody else cares about. If your guild could care less about hard-modes then that should not be one of your goals as a player unless you are willing to change guilds or at least pug into another team. This applies to guild leaders also, if you are having trouble getting a team together now for heroic modes don’t think things are going to magically change come Cataclysm.

After your goals are set and written the last part is to find a way to set up how to measure how you are doing. If your goal is to kill every boss in Cataclysm then how fast or slow are you willing to be behind. Are you willing to be one tier behind? Is that the point at which you push your team harder? How about killing the last boss before the next tier comes out? How are you going to measure where you are at? If you find yourself lacking then you have to find a tactic to fix your problem. But if you never find a measurement, what triggers the thinking? If you didn’t lose the five pounds that week at your weigh-in then you have to do something about it but if you never weigh-in then you never know that something is wrong. (btw, yes I am a big firefighter, yes I have used Weight Watchers before, and yes I could snap your scrawny little neck like a twig if you made fun of my weight. lol)

So, do you measure up? Set some goals for yourself and your team.

Until next time…

Don’t stand in the fire.

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My apologies!

•October 27, 2010 • 2 Comments

I am sorry for not doing any writing. As you could guess managing a guild is different from being an officer in a guild. That combined with a lot of real life issues and possible changes of residency have complicated my life somewhat. I do have two posts that I am working on, not sure how quickly I will get them out. I do promise that they are very important topics and not some filler fluff from the life of my guild. Even though my guildies who are the primary readers like to hear my opinion on what is going on, the people who I want to reach, the ones who want to learn about leadership and teamwork, have been largely ignored for a while now. This will not be the case for much longer! My guild is running smoothly as we head into Cataclysm. My personal life is looking like it may finally start to calm down as we head into the holiday season, unless of course I start moving boxes. My writers block is starting to wear off. These are all good signs that great articles will be coming down the pike. Combine that with the utter failure of non-guild groups as I level, not that I don’t get enough of that now, and we are looking at one heck of a muse.

Until next time…

Don’t stand in the fire.

“The Brotherhood” begins

•September 14, 2010 • 5 Comments

I have created a guild on Wyrmrest Accord called “The Brotherhood”.  Every guild needs a vision, my vision will be written so that everyone can read and understand it.

“The Brotherhood” will be a guild built around mutual respect and friendship. We are going to raid as friends, PvP as friends, and do quests and reputation grinds as friends. When we raid, we will do it the right way. (which includes study, effort, and focus) When we PvP, we will do it the right way. We will be a team.

With the above vision I have set some goals which include:

1) Defeat every boss in the Cataclysm raids.

2) To see people with the PvP titles in the guild.

3) To ensure that people have the help they need to start or finish Rep grinds.

4) Above all to ensure people are having fun.

If this is what you would like from your guild, climb on board. I believe this guild WILL accomplish these goals, maybe not at a pace that is prudent, but it will be done. I will provide a framework for success.

Until next time,

Don’t stand in the fire.

Live and let die!

•September 13, 2010 • Leave a Comment

As some may or may not know by now, The Insiders guild has been disbanded. I unfortunately was the straw that broke the camels back. One of the officers of the guild had decided that he wanted a progression team but was unwilling to do the hard work to develop it. He didn’t want to make the hard choices, he didn’t want to develop trust and loyalty, and thus a team that was quickly grinding into dust at the Lich King’s feet was not getting better. I tried to help this officer to understand that people don’t like to spend time with people they don’t like and they don’t give their best to people they don’t trust. In the end my final plea fell on deaf ears. He felt it was a waste of time building relationships with those he wished to lead into battle. He also pled for me to redirect problems that came to me to him so he could handle them, which is not the way a good officer should handle things, nor was it in the best interest of the trust that I had earned from those I had spent time with.

So, with much frustration, I decided that I would leave the guild. A guild that I helped lead for most of the past year. A guild in which my friends still belonged. I was going to leave quietly and ask my friends to stay and serve, something I doubt they would have done, but still. Instead the Guild Leader disbanded the guild. It was something that he had been struggling with for a while. If you have access to the Insider forums you can read his frustration in his own words.

I have created a new home for my friends, and all that call me friend who are not there are welcome. I don’t know if we will raid, although so far it looks promising.  I don’t know if Lich King or Deathwing will fall to this guild. I am sure that we will have fun, playing a game we enjoy, together as a team and as friends.

As my old friend David used to say, “Welcome Home”

Until next time,

Don’t stand in the fire.

You’ve got to want it!

•August 28, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Leadership is an odd thing in the fire service, unlike elsewhere I have worked in my life. Leaders in the fire service seem to always want the promotion, not for money, not for praise, but for the challenge of it. I think it has to do with the qualities of the people who join the fire service in general. That is not to say that we don’t have bad leaders in the brotherhood, just that they have their nose pointed in the right direction when they start down the road.

I have been reading a book called “Leadership secrets of Attila the Hun” by Wess Roberts, Ph. D.  I highly recommend this book to any who would take up the challenge of leadership. (even in-game) In the book he quotes Attila:

“There is little more unsettling to the Huns than being under the command of a king or a chieftain who shows a lack of commitment in his responsibility as a leader.

Too often, the leadership of many nations falls to princes who lack the ambition, courage and capabilities to reign as leaders. Such disinterest, cowardice and incompetence is manifested in various action that discourage and bewilder subordinates, thus strengthening the enemy.

It is the responsibility of all Huns to choose and follow only those chieftains who demonstrate a desire to lead. Such leaders will be of no composite character. They will be as different from one another as one Hun is different from another. They will not be laden with all human virtues, nor will they possess a flawless character.

Committed leaders, those with a lust for leadership, a willingness to serve, will, however, be distinguishable by their wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, authority and courage. They will have a human quality and a strong commitment to their cause and to that of those they serve.”

So when you take a look at your guild, ask yourself this question: Do I have a true desire to lead? Do I have the courage to stand up for my guilds goals? Am I here to serve a greater good? If the answer is anything other than yes, step down and let someone else take the rains.

My guild had the opportunity recently to replace our guild leader. The three men who stood up to take the reins all had the desire to lead, all stood for the greater good of the guild, and all were willing to maintain and progress upon the guilds goals. We the officers got to choose the leader based upon what we saw from them and I believe the correct decision was made. Minaru maintains the qualities I quoted from the book above of wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, authority, and courage. I also believe the men who now stand as Council in our guild also have those qualities.

Please carry this with you, not just for your gaming, but for your life. If you seek to lead and not follow, then seek after the qualities above.

Until next time,

Don’t stand in the fire.

Consistency, Yeah right!!!

•August 25, 2010 • Leave a Comment

First off let me apologize for the long break from writing! A second (slightly unplanned) vacation, a bit of house hunting, and the excitement surrounding the pregnancy of my wife (yes, it is mine) has led to a bit of chaos in my life. Combine that with Lich King attempts and the frustration of trying to be a good officer for the guild have made my life sheer madness. I want to give a big THANK YOU to Chris from Liquid WoW, Bloodyarrow of Wyrmrest Accord, and to my good friend Nubs, for giving me a slight nudge to get back to the written word this week. (Nubs, leave the steel toes at home next time)

I also have decided to go back on what I said in a previous post. I will continue to use WoW as a framework because my last post was horrible. I find it hard to write about gaming and not include a game for the framework and WoW is the most recognized game out there, so here it goes.

Consistency: Firefighters love things to run in nice little patterns. Most fire departments have a daily schedule that is followed very religiously. Equipment checks happen on a schedule, preventative maintenance happens on a schedule, training happens based on a schedule. Of course we can’t schedule emergencies, they pretty much throw the whole system in flux, but as soon as the emergency is over we try to get back on schedule. Why? Because patterns in your life make you feel comfortable. Because things need to be done and a schedule makes people responsible for their time. Because there are things I want to do that our outside of the department schedule and as soon as we get done with the schedule I can do them. (like blogging and playing video games)

So in the real world, (especially you kids) create a schedule for yourself. This allows you to get done what others need you to do quickly and then get to the things you want to do. For my kids after school, it is HOMEWORK, then clean up their stuff, then eat dinner, and then play. I know the kids want to get to the play part, they even sometimes try to skip a step so they can play earlier. When they do I have to help them get back on schedule. (a parent’s job after all is to increase the child’s play time) Sometimes this means putting hard, painful tasks first and easy tasks last. Adults are not immune to this same problem; I have to mow the lawn, check the cars’ fluids, and any other tasks my wife assigns before I can play next Friday.  That is probably the order I will do them in, because mowing the lawn is no fun for me.

In game as a leader consistency is nice, if you schedule a raid the same days and the same times every week you will get people to show up most of the time. They will show up because they know it is the schedule and will only deviate from it if there is an emergency. (wow that tied in really nice) The only time you should break up the schedule is if something comes up realm wide or guild wide that disrupts the pattern, and then you should get back onto it as soon as possible. Consistency in rules is also important, if you treat your guild all alike they will at least respect you for it. I prefer to treat everyone nice, but I know some guilds are built on a different style.

In game as a player consistency in nice, if people know you are logging in around the same time every day, then they know how to catch you. If you sign up for raids and are always late then your raid leader knows he can ignore you. (yes, I did just go negative) If you are the guy that everyone can count on to be there and be flexible you will become an asset to the guild and raid. (hurrah, back to positive) If your real life schedule is consistent, then your in-game life can be consistent too. If either is out of balance, then the other will be also.

I pledge to you that I will try to be more consistent in my writing, but after all I am a firefighter and sometimes get distracted……

(oooohhhh shiny!!)

Until next time….

Don’t stand in the fire.

I am surrounded by idiots…..

•July 20, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I recently picked up Scott Adams’ “The Dilbert Principle” for a fun little read.  In his introduction he talks about how we are all surrounded by idiots and that we all suffer from idiocy from time to time. This is true of your life both in-game and out. Even the people you call your friends can be so totally oblivious as to actually be an idiot. I know that I have suffered from idiocy and will continue to occasionally have outbreaks of idiocy. (although I hope to be able to reduce the negative effects of my idiocy)

Now, lets apply this to your world: If you are surrounded by idiots and you suffer from idiocy, is it safe to assume you can be a bit forgiving of the idiots around you? I say yes, because that way they can be more forgiving of me, especially when idiocy raises its ugly head. I am not saying that if you happen across the village idiot, you should just let him pee on your shoes. I am saying that if you happen across a person that is having a bad day you should forgive them for stepping on your foot, especially if you happen to be dancing with that person. (after all, you did put your feet in close proximity)

Now go and apply this in-game.

Until next time,

Don’t stand in the fire. (unless you are suffering from idiocy)