Ken Crane, PLEA Vice President
Organizations, whether governmental or private sector, are always looking for the next great thing that will give them an edge. It might be an edge in productivity, communications, leadership, or simply the desire to outpace their competitors to the point of squeezing them out of the marketplace.
The desire and need to have the competitive edge in the corporate world has spawned a cottage industry of private individuals and companies that do corporate seminars, workshops, and consulting. Movers and shakers in the corporate and government world have written plenty of leadership books. Many of these same folks are highly sought after to conduct seminars or to do motivational speaking.
A few years ago, Enlightened Leadership was police management’s flavor of the day. Some Assistant Chief read the book, got fired up, and decided this was the direction the department needed to go. It was a miserable failure because upper management felt that everyone except them should follow the blueprint.
Our new Chief recently approached PLEA regarding a joint venture between police management, PLEA and PPSLA to embark on yet another leadership training journey. This one based off a book called The Speed of Trust written by famed author and motivational speaker Stephen Covey.
Class dates were set, and books were bought and delivered to the PLEA office. Dates were then cancelled because managers that were attending didn’t know they were attending and needed time to get up to speed. We were off to a bang up start.
Like an infomercial, wait! …There’s still more! …The story gets better. About a week later a member of PD management contacted us and informed us that the training was going to cost about $13,000. Apparently any expenditure over $9,000 has to be brought before the city council. This manager explained that if PLEA and PPSLA each kicked in about $3,000 the problem would be solved, as it would bring the total cost of the training financed by the department to well below the threshold requiring Council approval. Now think about this for a minute. If you really believe the training you are pushing is important and would be of great benefit, why wouldn’t you ask for Council approval to pay for it?
The PLEA Board, in the interest of fostering a cooperative working relationship, was more than willing to read the book and attend the training. Being invited to attend the latest and greatest training on leadership and trust is fine and good…until you ask the people you invite to pony up $3,000. In essence management is asking PLEA to use member money to further their management training agenda. That’s like inviting someone over to your house for a steak dinner and then asking them to pay for the steaks when they show up. I don’t care who you are, that’s just tacky.
To add insult to injury, one of the PD managers involved in setting up and coordinating this training is the same guy who admitted to us that he discouraged people from coming to the recent Police Explorer fundraiser barbeque held at PLEA because he didn’t care for PLEA’s attitude toward the Chief. Let me get this right…since this guy doesn’t care for “PLEA’s attitude” he intentionally tries to derail the fundraising efforts on behalf of a great organization and a great group of kids? Now that’s working at the speed of trust.
Hey, if the management of the PD believes in The Speed of Trust that much, they oughta at least put their money where their mouth is and pay for the training they invited us to. In fact, maybe demonstrating that they could actually be trusted would go a long way in getting people to believe in the training to begin with. For example, telling folks you aren’t going to get rid of Class D uniforms only to actually do it weeks later doesn’t foster a lot of trust. When you tell people whatever they want to hear only to go out and do the opposite it epitomizes the “Speed of Dis-trust.” When the top guy believes it’s ok to routinely engage in this type of behavior, that’s something leadership books and seminars probably won’t fix.
Right now, for my money, I’d rather spend the three grand on a member appreciation barbeque in the PLEA garage