What Inspires?

Family. Freedom. Trust. Hope. Helping. Gratitude. Growth.

Recently the BW Leadership Institute had the privilege of bringing together over 50 senior leaders from St. Louis police and fire departments for a leadership development event. At the beginning of the day we asked a simple question: “What inspires you?” The most frequent answer, as seen in the word cloud and also rippled throughout the rest of the event, was family. “It’s what got me into this job in the first place,” one participant said as others nodded in agreement.

What inspires this group of people are the same elements that inspire other groups we work with—a desire to be better for and serve one another. In this case, these leaders talked about serving and protecting many layers of “family.” From their own families to their departments to the first responder family bringing fire and police together in service to the bigger family of our St. Louis community, this group showed up ready to learn more and be more for each other.

But why do this work? Why take a day outside the job and professionally develop and learn about each other? Often we find in organizations that have a very inspirational product or service—health care, first responders, educators, military, non-profits—they can forget to care for their people delivering the care. Leaders sometimes point to the mission or service and remind their people how important the work is. Don’t lose sight of the fact it’s not more important than the people doing that work.

We are grateful these leaders recognize there’s an opportunity for development, connection and collaboration within their departments and those they serve with. It made our team realize how thankful we are for these leaders who protect and serve the community we live in with our friends and families. They inspired our team that day to be better for each other and in turn, better for St. Louis.

Thank you to Chief Mike Krause, Metro West Fire Protection District, for leading this effort and giving us the honor of hosting.