No one said life would be easy, but sometimes it feels like we are faced with insurmountable challenges. How do we deal with complex situations that seem to have no clear solution?
Whether it’s a tricky work situation, a confusing relationship, or just a tough decision to make, complex scenarios can be overwhelming and frustrating. Besides, when we’re feeling stuck, it’s hard to see the wood for the trees.
In this episode of the Thriving in Complexity podcast, Susanne talks with Graeme Thom, who has served as a fire officer for more than 40 years and has been awarded the highest level of recognition granted to a fire officer and received the Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM). He is currently the founder and Executive Director of the International Emergency Services Speakers Agency (IESSA).
Graeme shares his insights on how to deal with complex challenges, both professionally and personally. According to him, dealing with complex situations starts with understanding that there is no single right or wrong answer, but multiple possible solutions. What’s more, it’s important to be aware of our own biases and assumptions, as well as the impact of our words and actions on others.
So if you’re feeling stuck in a challenging situation, this episode is for you.
WHAT YOU’LL DISCOVER IN THIS EPISODE:
- Why did Graeme decide to become a firefighter? (04:20)
- One thing about firefighting everyone should know (06:22)
- The foundations of wisdom (09:44)
- One thing Graeme could have done differently (12:19)
- How to be successful in every role you have (19:18)
- Graeme’s greatest learning as a firefighter and leader (24:24)
- Choosing what to prioritize during unexpected situations (28:14)
- Why is Graeme sharing his experiences with many people? (34:19)
- Common myths about being a firefighter (41:46)
- What would Graeme tell his 25-year-old self? (47:34)
“Either learn to love what you’re doing, or go on and do something else that you do love.” -Graeme Thom
“You are not your mistakes and neither are you your successes.” -Graeme Thom
“Whatever position you’re in, you’ve got to make sure that you are competent.” -Graeme Thom
“If you focus too much on what other people think of you, that can paralyze you or cause you to go down the wrong path.” –
WHERE TO FIND GRAEME THOM
- Bureau: International Emergency Services Speakers Bureau
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- LinkedIn: Graeme Thom
ABOUT GRAEME THOM
Graeme Thom served as a fire officer for more than 40 years, he has been burnt, had ceilings fall down around him, fallen into gullies and dropped through burnt out floors. He has been spat at, shot at, abused, accused of corruption, praised and thanked but not all at the same time. He has led state-wide and interstate fire and rescue deployments, and overseen responses to significant fire tragedies.
Always an operational fire he was one of Queensland Fire and Emergency Service’s (QFES) longest serving senior officers, he also filled a variety of roles including, Commissioner – Community Safety and Risk Management, Assistant Commissioner Northern region, Brisbane City Fire Commander, Executive Manager-state Fire Safety Department and Director of Operational Performance Improvement.
In 2007 he was awarded the highest level of recognition granted to a fire officer and received the Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM).
In Australia’s bi-centennial year was awarded the Australian Centenary Medal (ACM) for his contribution to the Australian community and for his work in providing fire safety to Australians he has also been presented with the Australian Fire Protection Medal (AFPM).
That’s only a few of the many awards and commendations he has received. However, the one closest to his heart came in an email from one of his Sector Commanders the day after they had fought one of Brisbane’s biggest bushfires, it simply said, “there was general agreement among the troops at the end of our debriefing following that fire that, they would follow you anywhere”.
He is now an international speaker, an MC, a media commentator and mentors high profile people in the fire industry and in other organisations and, since 2020 is also the founder and Executive Director of the International Emergency Services Speakers Agency (IESSA).
He remains passionate about fire safety, the fire services and disaster and emergency management at the local, state, national and international level and is a strong advocate for how knowledge, experience and wisdom, gained both by himself and his associates in this field can be used to help individuals and organisational teams to improve their performance and results.