July 21, 2019
Happy Sunday VFOT friends and followers. We’re in the middle of the heatwave of 2019 and it is HOT here in New England. We’re not used to this, so lots of indoor activities and AC this weekend. I was actually on an impromptu “staycation” for the 1st week of this reporting period, so this post is going to be a little disjointed….no regular schedule when I don’t need to go into work.
I actually decided to take the week off, because my Jiu-jitsu instructors were traveling to Miami for annual affiliate training with Professor Maia, and I wanted to be available to cover some classes. That decision paid lots of unintended benefits.
I didn’t adhere to my regular pro-reading schedule during my time off, although I did do a lot of reading. As a result, I didn’t finish Quite Leadership (Rock, David. (2006) Quite Leadership. New York, NY: Harper Collins) until the middle of last week. Having completed it, I’m feeling better about it.
As I stated in an earlier post, Rock’s premise is that a leader’s job is to teach their followers to “think” differently. This seems a little overbearing, but upon reflection, it makes a lot of sense. More on that in a moment.
Ironically, while I was wrapping up Quiet Leadership, one of the books that I had in the rotation in my secondary reading was Leaders Eat Last by Sinek (Sinek, Simon. (2014) Leaders Eat Last. New York, NY: Portfolio/Penguin.). I’d had the good fortune to see Mr. Sinek speak during a keynote at an IACP Conference a couple of years ago, but hadn’t gotten around to any of his books. His premise is significantly different than Rocks, but it aligns.
Essentially, the premise in Leaders is that human beings are wired for a scarcity existence and when we operate from a scarcity mindset, we focus on cooperation. In this environment, leaders focus on creating “circles of safety” in the workplace, and people feel protected and part of the village. This is good for long-term success and sustainability. Unfortunately, most of us exist in circumstances of abundance. When we operate from an abundance mindset, we focus on competition. As a result, we concentrate on short-term gains. This is effective for short-term results, but often result in people feeling isolated from the team. This can have disastrous long-term results. Sinek sites numerous examples from our relatively recent corporate history.
The interesting part from both authors, is that neither of these premises are based solely on choice. They’re based on brain chemistry. Rock spends chapters explaining how neuroscience has demonstrated how the brain creates neural pathways, and how existing pathways impact decision making. Sinek details how the interplay between endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin in our brains and endocrine system, impacts not only our feelings of safety and inclusion, but our decisions about how we interact with others.
This is complicated stuff, but it is very powerful. These books, together with Atomic Habits and The 3rd Alternative (see previous blog entries), offer compelling reasons for leaders to re-examine not only what decisions our teams make, but how and why they make decisions. This material, together with the recent lessons from my Facilitated Learning for Adult Learners course have truly given me a lot to think about and to work with.
During my secondary reading, I finished Thunder at the Gates, and picked up a new book that I’m just getting started on. This book, Lethal Force and the Objectively Reasonable Officer: Law, Liability, Policy, Tactics, and Survival, was written by the instructor of my recent Lethal Force training, John Michael Callahan. (Callahan, John, Michael. (2015) Lethal Force and the Objectively Reasonable Officer: Law, Liability, Policy, Tactics, and Survival. Flushing, NY. Looseleaf Press.) Like I said, I’m just getting started, but I’ve been teaching Use of Force for nearly 20 years, and I’m already getting a lot out of it.
I’ve got another book in the rotation for fun, but I’ve barley cracked into it, so more on that at a future date.
Other Learning Opportunities
Despite the fact that I was on time off last week, I did have the opportunity to attend a professional class that doesn’t come to the area too often. Last Wednesday, my Training Officer and I traveled down to New Haven, CT to attend the Police Executive Research Forum’s Integrating Communication, Assessment, and Tactics (ICAT) Train the Trainer course. I’d previously attended the Commonweath’s ICAT Instructor Course, but I thought we should get the raw source material, so we made the trip. I’m glad that we did.
As I stated in the intro, one of the reasons to take some time off was to cover some classes at the dojo. I always learn more when I’m working to teach, so I got quite a bit out of covering the few classes that I did.
I started my personal development coaching with my first of several coaching sessions and completing an online assessment to develop a priority map for the next couple of years. I’m looking forward to this process.
I started doing some work with some “prompt decks.” These are basically decks of cards that contain writing prompts or challenges. I’m just getting started with them, so I’m not ready to report out yet, but I’m sure you’ll be hearing more from me about them.
I also made a decision last week, regarding my continuing education. I’m still early in the application process, so I’m not ready to share a lot of details left, but it looks like I’ll be going back to school in the Fall.
Of course, taking time off equates to fun. During my scheduled time off, I managed to get in several bike rides, a couple of weighted ruck marches and a lot of Jiu-jitsu. On one day, I managed to do all 3. However, I don’t remember Jiu-jitsu after a ruck. It was a lot.
C and I started the week with a beautiful dinner at an outdoor trattoria with some good friends. We’ve had a couple of great date nights. We had a fun Saturday out with a visit to our local running center to get her new “go-fasts”, followed by visits to a couple of local wineries.
I experimented with intermittent fasting for a couple of days, and actually had some pretty good success.
Last night, we traveled down to The Big E. One of my teammates from the dojo had a title challenge fight and we went down to watch a stacked card. The outcome wasn’t what we wanted, but the turnout and support from the team was amazing.
Well, that’s quite a bit, and more than enough for now. Until next time….
Be Safe, Keep the Faith, Do Good Work, 1*