“I Need Some Air!”

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130 Yesterday I began my checkout procedures for driving the Air/Light support truck for my local volunteer fire department.  This truck carries a generator for powering scene floodlights for emergency situations.  It also has many rehabilitation supplies for the support of emergency personnel, such as cooling chairs, temporary shelters, ice water and drinks, as well as snack food for energy replenishment.

The truck also carries large cylinders of breathable air.  Fire-fighters use self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBAs) in atmospheric environments where there is immediate danger to life and health.  The SCBAs are recharged with breathable air from a cascade system – they are filled with compressed breathable air from the large air cylinders on board the Air/Light truck.

The SCBAs are a tool used, just like the many other tools that are carried to emergency sites.  As project managers, often we must keep in touch with our project team members to ensure that they have access to the tools that are necessary for the performance of assigned project activities.

I’ve mentioned in previous SavvyPM posts about the various leadership styles that come into play during the project life cycle.  Once the project team has reached the “performing” stage, the project manager may act as a “facilitating” leader – ensuring that the team has the tools, skills, clearance, authority, access, motivation, and any other resources that are needed to accomplish the project requirements.

If it means that the project manager arrives at the project site with an “Air/Light truck,” it simply means he is providing every level of support possible to ensure the equipping as well as safety of the project team and others in the area.

As a project manager, be proactive!  Don’t wait for the 911 calls to jump to action.  Think ahead about the future project path and its potential obstacles.  Clear the way, and have the necessary tools and other resources available for your team before they are needed.