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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Expectations and insanity

Everyone knows Einstein's definition of insanity, right? So why do law enforcement organizations keep doing the same things and expecting different results?
Or do they...expect different results? I am beginning to wonder. Maybe the issue is not results, but activity. Our culture has definitely become mindlessly activity driven. This violates basic Peelian principles of policing and brutalizes logic - but it seems to work in our culture.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Courage in a Bravery Rich Culture

What if we distinguished between bravery and courage? What if bravery was understood as acting for what is right regardless of personal danger when members of my social grouping (other officers) agree with the act. What if courage came to be known as acting for what it right, regardless of personal danger, when members of my social group do not agree with the act.
Law enforcement agencies have historically encouraged and instilled bravery, which is good! It is time to begin to encourage and instill courage rooted in integrity. This would begin to break down the personal deception of individuals, and the corresponding “blue wall of silence” that emanates from it. When courageous, relevant, respectful communication becomes normative in the police culture, it will produce true accountability around enduring principles of right and wrong at all levels of police organizations. This would inspire the trust of the members and citizens, unleashing their natural talents and creative energy around the basic mission of law enforcement. In time, this would produce greatness in organizations and synergistic productivity with their communities! This is evident in simple consideration of how social influence structures (e.g., the Nazis or the Communist Revolution) can lead to wholesale evil behavior, the opposite can also be true. Unleashing the power of personal anima, rooted in integrity and expressed in unconditional respect for all, will have tremendous positive results.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Creating a Counter Insurgency Environment

Let us borrow some thoughts from the U.S. Army’s counterinsurgency playbook. Putting aside all the processes and theories, the basic requirement in instilling safety and prosperity in an area is winning the hearts, minds, and trust of all the stakeholders toward a common purpose or mission. This is the most effective way to create a social environment that does not intentionally or unintentionally support gangs, drug dealers and criminals (counterinsurgent environment). Unfortunately, “winning the hearts and minds” is the most difficult, demanding, and laborious process any police officer or police organization will ever endeavor. Here is a non-exhaustive list of reasons why winning hearts and minds is such a demanding and unpopular endeavor:
It does not provide the immediate gratification (adrenaline and feelings of power) that reactionary enforcement activities provide.
It requires so much more than the intelligence, bravery, skill, and professional persona that are required to enforce laws and effect arrests. In addition to those, it requires character, courage, patience, maturity, regard, and wisdom.
Police lose the ready-made excuse of blaming the community for not being responsive—because “winning hearts and minds” is the responsibility of police!
Everyone (from desk clerks to bureau commanders) must be accountable to have respectful regard for all persons. To accomplish this, everyone in every chain of command must courageously hold themselves and everyone else accountable—regardless of loyalties and fears. In other words, if the social system allows a commander to have a reign of terror and misery over her subordinates—every stated value and policy to the contrary become nothing but dry ink on wasted paper. The disregard for others will inevitably spill over into the way in which members of our communities are treated.
It takes the job of “bean counting”—statistical analysis of work productivity—out of the realm of the simple, lazy process of counting enforcement activities in prescribed areas. This is because the focus is no longer lead measures like staffing, car checks, pedestrian checks, search warrants, and so on. Rather, the focus is on less tangible but critically important lag measures. “The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.”[1]
Are citizens consistently seen as people and treated with respect?
Is the community safe, secure, and prospering—or are the “insurgents” having their way?
[1]. New Westminster Police Service website, http://www.nwpolice.org/peel.html (accessed 13 December 2008).

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tactics of Regard

Arising from this anima: in stillness, is wisdom – in activity, is potency and influence.

At first, through preparation, conditioning, and skill development; competence in combat rooted in force is established. Then, ever so slowly - an increasing competence with tactics rooted in regard emerges. By employing Tactics of Regard the opponent’s will to fight is decimated – but body remains intact. He yields without battle through one of two general ways. The first and most desirable - his attention has been diverted from his uncompromising position. He finds the concerns and desires which founded his position are understood and satiated (this is most desirable because it produces an ally where there had been an adversary). The second: In a state of dissonance, confusion and bewilderment (Kuzushi - or broken balance) he unequivocally submits.

These are Tactics of Regard because they are only realized by having unconditional respect and regard for the humanity of your opponent; understand him as a person and as an individual. Then, wisely utilize this understanding (intelligence) to reach a mutually beneficial conclusion (he is treated with dignity and respect, he is not embarrassed or injured and justice is served).

It may be helpful to consider this from a more traditional paradigm. Retired CA State Trooper, attorney and risk management expert Gordon Graham likes to paraphrase his favorite risk management guru Archand Zeller:


…During the period of recorded history, there is little evidence to indicate that man has changed in any major respect. Because the man does not change, the kinds of errors he commits remain constant. The errors that he will make can be predicted from the errors he has made.[1]

Here lies a great paradox. An individual’s private memories, fears, prejudices and schemas make their response to spontaneous situations unpredictable. But at the same time, to those with astute regard for the humanity of others - there arises an intensely comprehensive strategic awareness. Now, the Complacency, Hubris, Avarice, Fear, Self centeredness, Bias, Attention limits, Distractibility (CHAFSBAD) of the opponent - make the errors he will make while acting out his unpredictability well – predictable!

One more way of seeing this: The anima warrior’s placid wisdom allows him to understand the opponents CHAFSBAD without reacting and being emotionally swamped by his own CHAFSBAD. The anima warrior will intuitively know when the opponent’s mental balance (kuzushi) has been broken. At this point, a wisely placed strategic twist (Nage-waza) combined with the opponent’s mental/emotional momentum makes one of the two previously described outcomes easily attainable.


[1] Interagency Helicopter Managers Workshop: Continued Professional Training. March 14, 2003 Speaker Gordon Graham. http://www.wildfirelessons.net/documents/GG_OrgRM.pdf Accessed 15 August, 2009.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Learning from Tragedy - Really

When anything goes wrong, it creates a unique opportunity to detect flaws covertly embedded in the various environments of an organization. This is because law enforcement tends to be reactive (rather than proactive) and outcome focused (rather than process focused). That is to say, unless something goes wrong to the point of costing the organization something, “No harm—no foul.” In other words, if I typically talk to others in a rude and condescending manner, as long as no complaints are substantiated, and no law suits are harmfully adjudicated - the behavior tends to be ignored. The problem with ignoring destructive attitudes and behaviors is this: whatever you don’t address, you encourage. Unaddressed behavior becomes a psychological and social contract with much more influence than the organization’s stated policies that are not uniformly enforced. If someone is rude and condescending and it is not addressed, it actually becomes a flaw in the social environment of the organization and creates a link to a potential catastrophe. Doing an environmental system root-cause analysis evaluation does not imply that officers have no personal accountability for their behaviors. On the contrary, if one of the problems lie in the anima (integrity) of the individual, this individual must be invested in, in terms of mentoring, training, and support; then, if or when called for, dealt with decisively and be graciously allowed to find a profession that does not demand high character (as does law enforcement)! This is a critical issue! Here is my experience: often, when commanders hear of a root cause or environmental analysis process, they hear, “Oh, you are making excuses for the officer—you are helping them to avoid personal accountability.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Identifying systemic problems and self-deceptions embedded into the organization is all about accountability! Someone IS accountable for systemic failure at each level, and that is exactly what commanders do not want exposed. If your organization is unwilling to put the performance and decision making of all members up for scrutiny, you might as well click this blog off, and cease to waste your time. If you want to know how to really learn from tragedy and create enduring proactive systems to avert future tragedies, post a response and stay tuned – see how to unleash the power of unconditional respect!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Assumptive Thought Base

We automatically tend to assume the following:

  • The way I see something is the way it is.
  • The way I feel about someone is the way he or she is.
  • The way I remember an event is the way it was.
  • If you disagree with me, you are stupid, a liar, or psychotic.

The irony is that this assumptive thought base (all problems and misunderstandings are external to me) IS the apex of self-imposed ignorance, deception, and even psychosis (disconnection from reality). Probably the only reason it is not considered pathological is that it is endemic.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

NYPD - Double Tragedy

The recent shooting of an off duty black officer by an on duty white officer in New York is a double tragedy for the NYPD. First the shooting death, second in the fact that what should be a time of grief and mourning has become a time of open hostility. What can be learned to proactively avoid this type of tragedy in the future? First, training philosophy; nothing in any field of study supports the idea that during a tense, uncertain, rapidly evolving circumstances any one will do what you TOLD them in in-service a few months ago. Training for this type of event must be universal (everyone on the organization receives the same training). AND it must be designed in a manner to be practical and become reflexive. To do this, training must be repeated regularly and continuously with short training intervals during roll call. The stakes are too high to do otherwise. Second, organizational social environment; “ The profession of law enforcement requires an personal anima (inner way of being) that sees all people as people, is rooted in integrity and expressed as unconditional respect for all.” If an organization allows condescending, and disdainful attitudes, words and actions it becomes a subversive social contract. This subversive contract creates a smoldering bed of turmoil that will flash into a raging fire with a spark of tragedy. Each organization must begin to take responsibility to develop the integrity of its members and the social environment within.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Who wants to be dirty...really?

Officers who claim being respectful is dangerous are really just looking for evidence to justify the fact that they daily violate their own since of right and wrong by treating people poorly. This same process of justification also allows one to blow off time at the range or skip workouts to make up the couple of hours of sleep one missed because of mindless activities like watching television. It may make an officer “feel” safer to posture and be verbally harsh to a subject, but this feeling is merely a byproduct of a deep and dangerous self-deception. Unfortunately, a truly capable opponent can see right through posturing and recognize an easy target. It is non-sensical to think excessive posturing will intimidate those who pose the greatest threat to our safety. Posturing only scares the people who are least likely to assault us in the first place. The irony is that when they become afraid, it increases even their chance of fighting us. I think one fundamental reason behind the inclination to embrace the "Dirty Harry" mentality is that it provides an illusion of safety and security, which becomes one more justification for treating others poorly. Respect is not only often equated with softness, but also with vulnerability. Most officers deal with feelings of vulnerability by one of two means—disengagement, or over-compensation in the form of directing anger and disdain toward others. Because the former (disengagement) is unaccepted in the police culture, the latter (anger and contempt) becomes the social norm.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Officers and Force

When officers use force, particularly deadly force, it should be the high point of righteousness, devoid of improper hesitation and carried out with as much skill and vigor as the officer can generate.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Two Perspectives - One Conclusion

Chip and I approached the issue of Unconditional Respect from two totally different vantage points.
I was searching for that which would result in the most effective "way to be' toward others. My goal was safe, open, honest communication that would build; relationships, trust, synergy and the accomplishment of important goals.
Chip's goal was tactical safety and effectiveness for officers.
Primarily through our friends and authors; Gus and Diane Lee, "Courage: The Backbone of Leadership" we were exposed to the concept of unconditional respect.
Our divergent goals, met on this single point. Stick around and see for yourself what happens when you Unleash the Power of Unconditional Respect!

Where do you want to spend your time?

Those who choose to spend their time reacting to what has gone wrong – are doomed to spend all their time reacting to what has gone wrong.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Unleashing Respect New Blog

This Blog is committed to:

· Assist organizations in building a culture that is renowned for integrity and unconditional respect for all persons.
· Develop organizations with a safe, effective, proactive work force.
· Cultivate a culture where all team member’s creative energies and intellectual resources are released to produce exponential results that honor high core values and fulfill the organizations most important goals.