Decisions Are Made by Those Who Show Up

Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

So today I realized I’ve been to about 250 public safety conferences over the past 25 years. And I asked myself, “Was it worth it?” My answer is yes (mostly). Here’s why.


In the words of James O. Page, who is remembered as the Father of Modern EMS and was co-founder of the Journal of Emergency Services (JEMS), along with RedFlash founding partner Keith Griffiths:


“Decisions are made by those who show up.”


RedFlash Team
Several RedFlash Group team members attended the Pinnacle EMS Leadership conference in Orlando in July, where they made the most of nonstop education and networking. From left to right, Michael Gerber, Rebecca Vogel, Jeff Berend, Nicole Stelmar, Keith Griffiths and Alyssa Wickham.


Jim loved to share that line, which may or may not have been first uttered by Harry Truman or Woody Allen. Regardless, it’s true. You show up, you get to be part of the machine—the evolution that changes things.


Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to be there for milestone, seminal events in fire, EMS, law enforcement and 911. So, yes, it’s important to show up.


But hiding out in your hotel room doesn’t count. I’ve seen so many people who go to important conferences and meetings, and they spend most of the day dealing with work emails, conference calls, etc. They’re 2,000 miles from home, among the thought leaders of their industry, and they’re in a hotel room dealing with work stuff. They should have just stayed back home in the office. Because you actually have to be in the conference sessions, in the hallways, in the exhibit hall. To talk to people, learn the latest, share ideas, laugh with colleagues…to change things for the better.


So you need to show up. But at all costs? Well, I’d recommend you not miss important milestones for your spouse and kids (did that) or a memorial service for a close family friend (did that too). Life really is too short. Don’t miss things you’d regret.

Decisions are made by those who show up

But if you would otherwise be in your office, with your head down, dealing with general “busyness,” and you have the option of being at an enriching event, sharing ideas with colleagues and customers—do the right thing. Get the hell out of the office.


Now you can’t just show up once, either. Because the first time you show up, no one gives you the time of day. The second time you show up, you may get a vague head nod of recognition. The third time, an actual, real hello and nod. And the fourth time, well, the fourth time they actually talk to you, ask you questions, seek your opinion. You need to show up at least four times—if not 250.


At RedFlash, we advise our clients to be there. To be among their customers, competitors and partners. And not just standing in a booth. Our amazing clients are on the program as speakers, participating on panels and moderating sessions. If not, they are attending sessions, sitting in the front row, demonstrating their interest in issues that affect the industry and their customers. We get to help them organize special dinners and events with industry thought leaders. The best organizations are there as their true authentic selves, listening, learning and sharing ideas. Funny, I never see them “selling.” The business comes to them because they are so engaged and they care so much. People just want to be around them and to do business with them.


And, of course, the best people and organizations just keep showing up.

More Insights

Why Words Matter in Marketing to Public Safety

We’ve all been there. You work for months on a marketing campaign, only to deploy it a resounding chorus of crickets. Zero response. Or maybe you’ve crafted an email that you hope will gain you new business, only to be met with radio silence. The cruelest part of making a misstep in your communications is that you often don’t know when you’ve said or written something that put off a customer or stakeholder.

Read More »

7 Truths About Working with Public Safety Media and Associations

Do you want to harness the power of public safety associations and media to help your organization? Understand how to garner free press and powerful sponsorships with strong ROI? Well, I’m going to lift the curtain in this “tell all” and show you how to work with our industry’s media and associations—and what not to do.

Read More »

Your Public Safety Marketing Should Start with Digital

It’s easy in tough economies to want to bypass strategy and go straight to tactics. That’s a sure-fire way to waste money. It’s vital to have a comprehensive marketing plan in place so you don’t waste effort on 1) going in the wrong direction and 2) spending on marketing tactics that are not complementary or additive to overall goals.

Read More »