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Friday, June 18, 2010

My Review of - A Whole New MInd: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future, by Daniel Pink

Daniel Pink's work in "A Whole New Mind" has the potential to be helpful with a critical issue facing 21st century policing. Increasingly, officer's operating environment is transparent and open to worldwide scrutiny in real time. For good or bad, the individual officer can instantly become the epicenter of organizational influence on a worldwide scale. Besides being transparent, our communities are much more diverse and complex. The influence of universal pop culture and media constantly bear upon even the most rural areas of our country. While much work is yet to come, "A Whole New Mind" potentially opens the conversation to allow law enforcement to begin adapting to the challenges of the 21st century. If law enforcement courageously considers the implications of Pink's work and humbly sets out to build on it, I am convinced the following benefits await us: A Whole New Mind approach has the potential to begin to fortify law enforcement with new levels of tactical acumen and social competence. Tactical acumen: 1) More comprehensive pre-contact threat assessment by lowering the natural proclivity to be blinded by personal bias, prejudice, fear and loyalties thus allowing for a more objective assessment of total context and individual behavior. 2) Increased awareness of subtle precursors to violent or aggressive behaviors through a continuous gestalt (big picture) assessment of people and situations thus keeping the whole mind engaged to listen and observe. 3) Through these, increase the member's ability to use appropriate force at the appropriate time thus averting dangerous escalation. 4) Provide the foundation for strategies designed to devastate an adversary's willingness to resist, without devastating the adversary. Thus, build community trust and partnership with every encounter, even the most challenging ones. Social competence allows members to: 1) Appreciate as relevant, culturally and socio-economically diverse information from others perspective. Then, convert information into useful energy or processes needed to improve safety and quality of life. 2) Develop appropriate compassion: empathy for others with a strong desire to relieve suffering, through diverse life situations. Otherwise, when emotionally charged personal judgments of others swamp officers (with, for example, a feeling of disdain or "contempt of cop"); situational awareness and social competence evaporates. 2) Improve the effectiveness of assessment (precise attention and appropriate response to what is really going on with people and our communities). 3) Develop the capacity for attention and reflection (consideration untainted by mind-blinding judgmentalness and blame). This will produce the ability to match need with provision between various community members and professional colleagues. In a time of budget and staff cuts, law enforcement has but a few options before it: 1) Shrink back and become irrelevant observers to increasing chaos and suffering while engaging in what the military calls `force protection." 2) Increasingly resort to heavy-handed applications of force and enforcement; masked, rifle-toting SWAT teams hovering around, swooping down to decimate any perceived resistance, all the while destroying trust. 3) Take Pink's work and the work of many other progressive thinkers and learn to be responsive, reflective and relevant to what is really going on in our communities. In short, use our whole mind to continue learning new ways to unleash the power of unconditional respect.

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