Darran has led a distinguished career in the emergency services, including serving as Chief Fire Officer for Dorset for ten years, and being awarded the Queen’s Fire Service Medal. During his time in charge of Dorset Fire and Rescue Service, Darran oversaw a new focus on prevention which coincided with a reduction in fire related deaths. During the latter part of his career, he led the development of the new Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service. Bournemouth University is proud to award Darran an Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration.
Darran’s long career within the Fire and Rescue service meant that he had to tackle numerous obstacles in order to keep things running smoothly and safely, notable significant funding cuts.
“It’s interesting because people say that particularly with the financial cuts, and with austerity the mother of invention, I’ve got to agree with that somewhat, it’s really easy to allow the rituals of yesterday to become the directions of tomorrow, and certainly for me, the lack of money provided an opportunity to change the way we do things. Probably the biggest leverage was in 2008 when we had 13 fire deaths in the home, in 13 separate incidents in 13 months that when we looked at them, half of them were caused by smoking materials, half of them caused by electrical faults. They were predictable and they were preventable. That gave me further evidence if I needed it, that we needed to change the direction of the service, we quickly needed to move from saving lives to changing lives and to changing behaviours.”
This change of tactic resulted in a new successful focus on prevention rather than cure and a reduction in fire related deaths. But how does a good leader go about learning this skill? And how would a graduate learn from this too?
“I think the whole leadership role is a privilege, you earn the right to lead and to be led by others, and that’s an important point – allow yourself to be led by others. But for me, if I was to give one message, the message is know yourself. That personal insight - knowing how you work, in terms of what affects your feelings, your motivations, and your values. Because ultimately, the product of your feelings, your motivations, and your values are your behaviours. And the impact of your behaviours on others is their feelings, their behaviours and their values. It’s a very contagious position, leadership, and you are a contagion, of belief, hope, inspiration, and on the other hand, of doom and gloom. How you look, how you walk, how you smile, as a leader, you’re always on. So know yourself, and just be aware of the impact you will have on others.“