This is a transcript of Episode 006. To listen to the Podcast, Click Here.

Are you a “fire-fighter”?

No, I’m not talking about one of the brave souls willing to run into burning buildings to save you or me from a blazing inferno. If you are such a hero- thank you very much for your courage and commitment! Thanks for doing what you do!

I was being interviewed on a radio broadcast a couple of years ago. I was talking about HOW to eliminate “fire-fighting” within day-to-day operations and decision-making. Even though the context was clearly the work environment, the over-zealous DJ interrupted, “So- if my house is on fire, I call you?!”

He clearly didn’t get it.

And, honestly, if you’re thinking flames, heat, and life-threatening smoke- don’t call me. I’d be totally incompetent. However, when you’re talking “fire fights” in day-to-day workplace operations- I’ve discovered how to make most of them simply disappear.

To be clear, when I asked you if you are a “fire fighter”, I am pointedly talking about YOU if you currently spend much of your time at work incessantly treading water- dealing with one issue after another, battling one problem, mini-crisis, or full-blown crisis before the next.

Does this sound like you?

Well, if you’ve paid attention to previous podcasts, you know how I feel about speaking the TRUTH. And here’s a piece of truth for you, DIRECTLY related to dealing with incessant challenges, problems, and issues:

If you don’t manage your culture, your culture will manage you.

If you feel like you’re on a treadmill… or an ever-spinning gerbil wheel…

If you’re barely catching your breath from the wash-over of one swell to the next…

Or, to not be QUITE so dramatic- if you are simply currently frustrated in your efforts to make honest progress because day-to-day challenges and issues continue to exhaust your time and energy…

This is your culture is managing you.

You are being controlled by your environment and current climate.

Rather than being controlled, wouldn’t it be wonderful to ‘turn the tide’?

Wouldn’t you like to feel “in control” of your time, energy and resources…maybe for the first time ever?

In this episode, I’m giving you a resource containing the precise recipe for doing just that.

Building off the groundwork we laid down in Episodes 001 through 005 of the REPS radio Podcast Series, this resource brings it all together-

First, it reveals WHY many of the “fires” exist in the first place, and yes, folks, current systems, processes, and organizational structures tend to CREATE them, despite our best intentions.

The resource THEN details your step-by-step for moving forward- an approach that eliminates most “fires” BEFORE they ever get started.

And I’ll give you a little ‘heads up’. The “secret formula” for maximizing the synergistic flow, efficiency, reliability, and safety of day-to-day operations leads to what we call a one team approach.


Now- back to HOW to turn the tide and truly LEAD, rather than being controlled by your present conditions and circumstances…

I recently gave a presentation to a room filled with senior leaders in Las Vegas.

These were smart people. Accomplished people. Dedicated people- all present to learn how to be more effective and efficient in leading performance improvement.

During our discussion, I posed the question, “What are your business imperatives? In other words, what elements are essential to long-term business success?”

Not surprisingly, I received, “strategy, quality, systems, structures, excellence, profits, customers, and reputation,” among other similar responses.

Good answers…important answers…but NOT Next Generation answers.

I wasn’t surprised.

Such are standard, typical, ‘normal’ means of looking at business and operations, and considering how to incrementally improve performance.

You know, I have NEVER been interested in incremental improvement.

And in truth, in today’s hyper-speed environment, making only incremental improvements likens to Alice in Lewis Carrol’s Through the Looking Glass, where still panting, Alice said to the Queen, “Well, in OUR country, you’d generally get to somewhere else- if you ran very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.”

“A slow sort of country!” responded the Queen. “Now HERE, you see, it takes all the running YOU can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”

At least twice as fast!

Can you imagine your gerbil wheel spinning twice as fast?

Incremental improvement simply doesn’t cut it.


This is what thinking different and doing different…and this podcast…are ALL about!

Now- relative to the whole “one team” thing- before you roll your eyes in a gesture of, “oh boy…here we go…” I will tell you- this has NOTHING to do with traditional team building, “get-in-touch-with your-emotions”, “touchy-feely” group hugs, diversity, or specific communications methods or strategies.

In fact, unless you’ve been a student of the emergent understanding of human performance, it likely has NOTHING to do with much of anything you’ve heard before.

Remember- the overall intent of is to challenge the status quo- to get YOU to think (and DO) different!

Before I dive into your solution for stepping off the treadmill going nowhere, let’s do a quick review of our journey thus far…

In Episode 1, I asked you whether you’re playing to win (or playing not to lose). There’s a HUGE difference between the two. Those who play to WIN will command the future.

In Episode 2, we dove into what you, as a leader, [truly] want. Figuring out what you truly want (and WHY you want it) MUST be your starting point before you take ANY actions or make ANY decisions for moving forward. After all, if you don’t know where you’re headed, any road will take you there!

In Episode 3, we got REAL. I asked you to consider whether you’re telling the TRUTH in your position, your role…your place in life. I also posed the question whether (or not) you’re being told the truth.

Remember- All progress begins by telling the truth. In fact, without TRUTH, real and sustainable progress is simply NOT possible.

I gave you the opportunity to apply for a PULSE CHECK (all at no cost to you)- an instrument and report, analyzed by our team of experts, offering you a snapshot of the relative health of your cultural climate and environment relative to your current levels of performance.

Episode 4 was designed to break through current myths regarding performance and workplace culture, and to debunk the stigma around “excellence”, which has been so pervasive in current-day management and schools of leadership.

And in the previous episode, Episode 5, I talked about the “half-somersault”. I gave you 4 simple steps for reducing the costs of human error in YOUR organization. Along with this, I provided a link to an online App- the Cost of Error Calculator, which allows you to quickly see HOW MUCH human error is currently costing your organization.

Thus far, the focus has been upon…YOU- your intentions, your motivations, and making choices. You as a leader, as a practitioner…as a force for sane, positive, sustainable performance improvement.

Now- we’re wrapping this together…

I’m tying a bit of a bow on performance improvement before we dive to the core of HOW to get it done.

Here’s a question…

What if there was a way to compose your performance improvement efforts, whether it be on a single crew or team, within a department, or across an entire enterprise, such that conflicts, differing agendas, confused priorities…and the “fires” that go along with them, essentially cease to exist- and when they do pop up, are organically snuffed out before they ever flame up to your level?

This is what one team is all about.

How do you get there?

The thing is, the TRADITIONAL approach to performance improvement tends to cause team splintering, and the “silo” effect. It essentially CAUSES many of those fires to ignite in the first place.

What am I talking about?

When we peel back the layers to get to your true business imperatives, there are four- four critical elements underneath all the other labels we tend to come up with (such as the answers given to my question in Las Vegas).

The four “absolute must haves” in any enterprise are: Reliability, Efficiency, Productivity, and Safety. All others fall [somewhere] within.

By the way- if you take the first letter of each of the business imperatives, you have R (for Reliability), E (for Efficiency), P (for Productivity), and S (for Safety). This is why we call this Podcast- REPS (R-E-P-S)

Let me repeat- each of these elements is critical to the success of ANY organization. Find here Blue Spruce Maids serving Boulder, CO. HOWEVER, when you work to boost these imperatives in isolation, which is the way most organizations continue to approach performance improvement, you are literally generating conflicting priorities.

As a simple example, consider SAFETY and PRODUCTIVITY.

What is the absolute safest thing you can possibly do? NOTHING.

So, if Safety truly WAS your “top priority”, as so many organizations continue to spew forth, you’d do…NOTHING.

If you do NOTHING, what does that do to your PRODUCTIVITY?

In fact, if you do NOTHING long enough, you cease to exist as an organization!

When shown graphically, the oppositions between Safety and Productivity, as well as between Reliability and Efficiency, are easy to see. Therefore, I HIGHLY recommend you download and study your Resource: REPS: Next-Generation Performance Improvement.

Your download link can be found on the Episode Six page at

Functioning as one team eliminates the conflicting agendas spawned through conflicting priorities.

The REPS Report details WHY these conflicts exist. It then gives you the REMEDY- an approach for moving forward that puts YOU in charge of your culture, rather than the fire-fighting-gerbil-wheel existence where your culture is managing you.


This episode has been brought to you by the Practicing Perfection Institute, (more affectionately known as PPI) home of the systematic Next Generation approach to sustainable performance improvement known as Practicing Perfection®. PPI has been gracious enough to offer (2) fully paid Certification scholarships to listeners. Go to and enter today!


Many still think that human performance is only about error reduction, or improving safety performance. While these are indeed outstanding outcomes of such a focus, it goes a whole lot deeper.

After my presentation in Vegas, the CEO of the organization had figured this out. “You and I need to reconvene,” he said. “After what I learned here today, there is a whole lot more to human performance than simply safety considerations.”

He gets it. Now it’s YOUR turn.

Download the REPS Report. Read it. Use the Tools. Take Action.

On the webpage for this episode at, you’ll find download links for each of the tools and opportunities we’ve discussed along our journey thus far.

Before listening further, I highly recommend you take advantage of what is provided to you through each of these links. You’ll see WHY when we get to Episode 7, where we begin our journey to the very Core of Performance Improvement.

We’ll be starting with an awareness of what human performance truly is, and the power it contains for the future of your team, your department, and your entire enterprise.

Until then, I remain your humble servant.

auf Wiedersehen!

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