To quote the infamous character created by the U.S. Forestry service, Only YOU can prevent forest fires. This was the marketing message and strongly endorsed outreach effort created In the longest-running public service advertising campaign in the United States history. Smokey Bear, was eventually protected by U.S. federal law, the Smokey Bear Act of 1952 and continues even today to serve as an instantly recognizable marketing campaign.

In fact, According to the Ad Council, 80% of outdoor recreationists correctly identified Smokey Bear’s image and 8 in 10 recognized the campaign Public Service Announcements.

But this is a 4 minute podcast about leaders. So, a slight modification of the quote might yield a rough paraphrase, “Only great leaders can prevent fires.”

Putting out virtual fires in the company (or community) is often an unrecognized quality of a great leader. This thinking ties in closely with the philosophy shared yesterday where we discussed how a great leader is able to view things from different perspectives. In today’s thought, a great leader is able to KEEP things in perspective. And prevent unnecessary panic and fear while at the same time identifying how to effectively “put out” the fire. Great leaders are fire-fighters.