Here are some practices that facilitate problem-finding corporate governance:
Have an explicit negotiated agreement about the relationship between the board and management. The arrangement must allow the board and staff to do problem-finding work while not cutting across the turf of line management. For instance, at Infosys board work inside the organization and work by staff groups was governed by a rule: “noses in, fingers out.” While the board and staff may have found problems, line management was responsible for designing and implementing the solution.
Design the processes by which the board does its regular work — strategy development and approval, capital approvals, performance reviews, etc. — to embed problem-finding. This requires more than asking “tough” questions at the board meeting that managers can anticipate.
Adopt a problem-finding mindset. Think about parts of the organization that may be generating problems. Make explicit your theory about how that part of the organization works. Test the theory. Welcome news of risk; encourage early warning.
Understand that most problem-finding will happen outside the board room, and involve employees several levels below the executive team. Board members cannot expect to infer all the problems while sitting in the boardroom and cannot expect staff members to find them all. Problem-finding boards need some members (but not necessarily all) who spend time working closely with employees to find out how things really work.
Embed as much of the convergent problem-finding activity as possible into the performance measurement system for line managers and delegate the rest to staff groups. Problems will only be found reliably if the board mindfully ensures that these systems are designed to find problems and makes sure they are delivering.
Beware of biases and blind spots that result from becoming too steeped in the culture of the organization. Question the norms and assumptions that drive people’s behavior. Boards that enunciate the likely hidden assumptions underpinning the business’s culture are less likely to fall into a collusive blindness that inhibits their problem-finding.
Acknowledge the limitations in problem-finding and look for ways to mitigate them. Develop internal learning and reflection systems. These could be framed in terms of developing and enhancing capabilities in risk investigation, exploration, and analysis.
As strategic risk increases, so do the chances of failure because of ungoverned incompetence. Most of these failures are minor — generally, projects that are quietly written off. Occasionally a major disaster strikes, causing a corporate catastrophe. Corporate governance systems that assume failure is driven by malfeasance will often miss these failures, at least until they become unambiguous. To catch them early, boards need to put in place governance systems that are intrinsically problem-finding.
Rob Duke's insight:
HBR's organizational advice often applies to policing organizations with only slight "tweaking". What part of this article is not good advice?
1. Noses in: Fingers out. This is a shorthand way of describing the Politics-Administration Dichotomy. The Board, or oversight authority, sets policy and we administer it. We never get annoyed when they ask questions and decide to make changes and they never try to actually "do" the work. They help identify the problems and we find the solution(s), but like James Madison's checks and balances, it works best when these powers are shared.
2. As Frank Boldt and I discovered (building on John Kingdon's work), not only do you need Problems, People, and Policy (solutions), but it's also important to examine the institutions (rules of the game) and also manage a co-alignment process where you not only reach up to invite input, but you also reach laterally and "down". This insures balance with the entire network of interest holders and internalizes a problem-finding culture.
3. Also adopting something like the Balanced Scorecard budget and assessment system helps the organization maintain a problem-finding mindset. When I know my evaluation depends on my place in the co-alignment system, then I'm working on it every day. This creates a system that sustains nurturing and, more importantly, identifying when nurturing isn't happening.
4. We need to find an ethical system that demands that we examine how our actions impact the downstream customer...our grandchildren. If we're not leaving it better for them, then we're probably doing something wrong. A good start for this is to empower, embolden, and assign the devil's advocate role (both inside and outside the department). We should celebrate the contrarians in our midst instead of delegating them to the dead end jobs. These are the folks who will help us ensure that we are not captured by our times or by our culture.
5. Always know that what we're doing isn't good enough and that we need to be vigilant for ways to improve. This means we need systems that encourage officers and staff to call down "airstrikes" on themselves when they realize that something isn't working; and they need to do this knowing that they won't be castigated, but will be celebrated for acknowledging an opportunity for internal learning and reflection.
Bernie Sanders Advocates That FBI Director Comey Step Down
Rob Duke's insight:
They ignore that we have competing values at stake here, which left Comey with only one viable option:
1. We have the value of a separate and disinterested public bureaucracy. Woodrow Wilson called this the Politics-Administration Dichotomy. In exchange for a civil service system that put people into jobs based upon merit and then gave them a property right to keep the job based upon "good" performance, the public bureaucrat would stay out of "politics". In other words, they wouldn't campaign and engage in all the dirty business of tit for tat revenge, extortion, and reciprocal back scratching of political cronies.
2. We also have the value of an independent police apparatus that will treat everyone equally and fairly. This value grew out of the police professionalization movement that, in turn, came out of the same Progressive Movement that installed the Politics-Administration Dichotomy. This movement has been informed further by the New Public Administration theory and practice that asserts that all public servants have an ethical obligation to trumpet the news whenever "the emperor has no clothes". While the Politics-Administration Dichotomy camp suggests that the bureaucracy should focus on the areas of economy, effectiveness, and efficiency, the New Public Admin advocates argue that the idea of equity is above the simple management tasks (see Dwight Waldo, H. George Fredrickson, Chester Newland, for more on New Public Admin.)
Now, under this umbrella, FBI Director Comey was forced to endure the backlash from a political investigation that appeared to have been compromised when Attorney General Lynch met with former President Bill Clinton on a secluded tarmac in a private jet to discuss "grandchildren". This was an explanation that few believed and placed the FBI in a position of seeming to be political lackeys.
After this, the rank and file FBI agents were angry. Many agents left successful and comfortable assignments with local and state police agencies. I can only imagine their perception that the FBI had lost all credibility--they probably wished they had never transferred. I also imagine that Comey knew this and knew that there was zero chance that a disgruntled agent would not leak the fact that they had discovered another server that had the potential to disclose emails that were deleted from the Clinton server. Whether there were any additional emails or not is irrelevant because the scandal would be about cover up and not content--which is always an order of magnitude worse than the actual underlying scandal.
Thus, Comey was faced with competing values and a binary choice of action:
1. Follow a Politics-Administration Dichotomy path and say nothing; or
2. Follow a New Public Administration path and send a private letter to Congress alerting them to the likely source of new emails.
If you follow the first path and there's a leak, then Secretary Clinton's campaign would be damaged and you'd be accused of misfeasance;
On the other hand, if you follow the second path, then you still risk a leak from Congress, but this type of leak should be less harmful than an accusation of further political skulduggery. And, at least you won't be accused of participating in a cover up.
While the second path might be used at the last minute to insinuate that there was still some criminal charge that might arise out of the FBI investigation, the FBI also acted quickly after that to review the emails and send the "all clear" signal. This outcome would never have been so clean if it had also been accompanied by an accusation of cover up.
It seems clear to me that Comey really only had one choice given the new source for emails from the Clinton Server--he had to send the letter to Congressional leaders. In my mind, this path wasn't inconsistent with the Politics-Administration Dichotomy path, it just also added an Equity element from the New Public Administration path that protected the public's perception of the FBI's ability to conduct fair, equal and unbiased investigations.
Jay Y. Lee, who heads South Korea's massive Samsung Group, was given a $5 box meal for lunch and did not sleep in over 22 hours of questioning in a corruption scandal involving impeached President Park Geun-hye.
Rob Duke's insight:
We complain about the U.S. police, but look around the world and compare....22 hours of questioning...?
Jamshid Piruz, 34, unemployed and of no fixed address has been sentenced to life at Hove Crown Court for various offences including two counts of attempted grievous bodily harm with intent.
It stems from a call police received on 7 January 2016 to report a man had been seen acting suspiciously in Stagelands, Langley Green.
When officers found Piruz, in nearby Nightingale Close, he was carrying a hammer (pictured) and hiding in a confined bin area of flats in the close.
As the body worn video shows, Piruz confronted officers from where he was hiding, threatening them with the hammer and two Tasers were discharged but proved ineffective. Officers then deliberately withdrew in an effort to create more space so that Piruz could be safely arrested.
Unfortunately PC Jessie Chick's route was blocked and she was momentarily isolated. Despite being attacked, she successfully managed to defend herself with her baton before officers were able to return to help.
PC Stuart Young was then struck by the hammer on the neck and shoulder before the suspect could be detained and arrested. Although PC Young was taken to hospital following the incident, he fortunately did not suffer any serious injuries and was back at work the following day.
Fort Worth police have completed their internal investigation of a white police officer seen in a viral video wrestling a black woman to th
Rob Duke's insight:
Sometimes you can't dispense justice. In this case, the officer seems to have felt that the disrespectful youngster was a mitigating circumstance in the original crime. Better to have sought truth and filed the case for the justice system to sort out. He would be in less hot water now if he had done so.
Often folks are emotional and disrespectful, but it's not our job to protect the law's dignity: the courts have broad shoulders and can stand up for themselves--especially, once the emotion is removed.
I once handled something similar, I didn't arrest the mother, but I did question her mothering and suggested that she wasn't being truthful. I bought days on the beach and, in hindsight, the department was right to have disciplined me. I should have filed the case and let the prosecutor decide whether charges were reasonable.
Steven McDonald, a police officer best known for forgiving a teenage gunman who left him paralyzed in 1986, inspired New York City by choosing a spiritual journey over self-pity and spite, Mayor Bill de Blasio and others said Friday.
McDonald's "road on his earth was not easy but he showed us what we need to know," de Blasio told McDonald's widow, Patti Ann, police officer son and other mourners packed into St. Patrick's Cathedral for Friday's funeral. "Now we have an obligation to tell his story across this city and all across his nation, especially at this time."
The officer was a role model at the New York Police Department, the nation's largest, Police Commissioner James O'Neill said in his eulogy.
"What we can learn from Steven's life is this: The cycle of violence that plagues so many lives today can be overcome only by breaking down the walls that separate people," O'Neill said. "The best tools for doing this, Steven taught us, are love, respect, and forgiveness."
A report from Halifax RCMP found of 1,246 street checks in the city’s region, 41 per cent involved African-Nova Scotians in the first 10 months of 2016.
Rob Duke's insight:
For an interesting discussion of these cross-cultural issues, see Thomas Sowell's Black Rednecks and White Liberals, Encounter Books, 2009. Essentially, Sowell argues that Blacks have not revived a Pan-African culture, but adopted the culture and practices of the poor Scotch-Irish with which they were associated in the Antebellum South. Thus, defending one's honor with violence, distrust of authority, a perceived lowbrow culture and language are actually constructs and artifacts of White culture. Looking further at the work of Joel Chandler Harris (he recorded the Brer Rabbit stories that he heard from slaves while he reported during the Civil War), we see one glimpse of the was slaves and former slaves adapted their adopted culture in order to survive in a world where they were enslaved. I particularly like the analysis of Walter Brasch in his book: Brer Rabbit, Uncle Remus, and the Cornfield Journalist: The Tale of Joel Chandler Harris, Mercer University Press, 2000. Finally, it's important to realize that much of that slavery repression continued long after slavery. For an excellent discussion of the ways Jim Crow and lynching took the place of slaver in the suppression of Blacks, see Race, Racism, and the Death Penalty by Adalberto Aguirre and David Baker, Vande Vere Publishing Ltd., 1992.
A Wellington, Florida, woman who told police she was having a “bad day” allegedly went on a rampage Thursday at a T-Mobile store in Palm Springs, according to an arrest report.
Rob Duke's insight:
One of the 99% calls we handle every day without using force--even though the person was batpoo cray cray at the time.
In another 10% (not very scientific methodology on my part), officer jack up the situation when they could do more to calm it down.
The other 89% are folks acting crazy or emotional that fly out of control so quickly and erratically that officer respond as trained to keep themselves and others safe...with often tragic results. This results in a fatality about 900 times a year across the U.S. These are all tragic--even those with felonious intent.
But lets keep this in perspective. Gun deaths are 30 times greater and automobile deaths are also 30 times greater, but the real shocking number is the number of medical malpractice deaths in the U.S. every year. Take a guess: ____________
How many did you say?
It was 120,000 medical practice deaths in 2016 as reported by the doctors themselves (John Hopkins said the number in 2013 was 250,000 deaths if you include pharmacist malpractice).
There are 70,000 licensed doctors in the U.S.
765,000 sworn officers in the U.S. who kill about 1000 each year.
So, you're 120 times more likely to be killed by your doctor (or 250 times if you include pharmacists).
Your 30 times more likely to be killed by someone with a gun or car.
Sonoma County’s two largest law enforcement agencies have stopped using a controversial statewide gang database criticized in a state audit that concluded it was riddled with old, unverified and inaccurate information, causing some people to be improperly identified as gang members.
The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office purged its records from the CalGang Criminal Intelligence System and ended its role as administrator of the database for about 30 other California counties as of Jan. 1, said Sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Crum, a spokesman for the agency.
In December, the Santa Rosa Police Department removed its records from the database and stopped using it as a tool to track gang members, said police Sgt. Tommy Isachsen, who runs the city’s gang investigations team.
Both agencies said new laws that require law enforcement to notify people when they’re entered into the database and allow them to appeal the listing make the system too cumbersome to use.
“We still continue to believe it’s a viable tool, and it’s unfortunate we’re unable to use it,” Crum said.
The move was applauded by lawyers and advocates who said the state audit — which focused on the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, because of its administrator role, and three other agencies — uncovered problems with CalGang long known by those trying to defend people named in the system.
Rob Duke's insight:
In order to use these databases to investigate and prosecute gang enhanced crimes, there needed to be better due process.
On a sweltering Monday in late June 2015, the city council in Charlotte, North Carolina, met to discuss, among other items in a seven-hour marathon, how to carry out a controversial new approach to predicting police misconduct. Opinions were divided, and the discussion was tense. One council member was afraid of “upsetting the troops.” A second called the use of data about individual police officers an invasion of privacy. In response, another said, “I’m always a fan of third parties looking over our shoulder.”
Finally, Kerr Putney, soon to be sworn in as Charlotte’s new police chief, got up to reassure the council. He spoke about the need to “balance public need versus what officers may want.” He seemed to persuade several members.
“So it won’t be used for retribution?” one asked. “Absolutely not,” Putney replied.
Minutes later, the council voted to work with a group of data scientists to develop a sophisticated system for predicting when cops will go bad. These researchers, part of the White House’s Police Data Initiative, say their algorithm can foresee adverse interactions between officers and civilians, ranging from impolite traffic stops to fatal shootings. Their system can suggest preventive measures — an appealing prospect for police departments facing greater scrutiny and calls for accountability. Two other large departments — the Los Angeles County sheriff and the Knoxville police — have signed on to use the research to develop new systems, and several other agencies have expressed interest. The scientists hope their method can serve as a template for stopping police misbehavior before it happens.
Many police departments have early warning systems — software that tracks each officer’s performance and aims to forecast potential problems. The systems identify officers with troubling patterns of behavior, allowing superiors to monitor these cops more closely or intervene and send them to counseling.
The researchers, a mixed group of graduate and undergraduate students working together at the University of Chicago with backgrounds in statistics, programming, economics and related disciplines, are trying to build a better kind of early warning system. They began their task last summer with a request from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department: Predict when police officers would participate in adverse interactions with civilians.
To build their early warning system, the University of Chicago group first looked for signals in the data that an officer might be going astray. They used a comprehensive data set of interactions between cops and the public gathered by Charlotte police officials over more than a decade. The researchers found that the most potent predictor of adverse interactions in a given year was an officer’s own history.1 Cops with many instances of adverse interactions in one year were the most likely to have them in the next year. Using this and other indicators, the University of Chicago group’s algorithm was better able than Charlotte’s existing system to predict trouble.
The algorithm holds great promise for its cleverness and its accuracy. But the idea of using statistical models to predict police misconduct is not new, and past efforts have often met with resistance. In fact, the Chicago Police Department — now under intense federal scrutiny in the wake of the Laquan McDonald shooting — constructed such an algorithm more than 20 years ago, only to abandon it under pressure from the officers’ union, the Fraternal Order of Police.
Rob Duke's insight:
What are the ethics of punishing before a violation has been committed. Isn't this Minority Report territory?
In my experience, there are several types of "problem officers":
1. Those who come to the department with problems that either: a. slip through the screening process (narcissism for instance often looks like outgoing and confident character traits, but can end up causing some nasty problems for a department); or b. who are allowed through for reasons, such as nepotism and lowered standards (there are more than a few reasons for this and I'm not throwing stones. We live in a political world and must deal with these factors. I've been pressured to make a hiring decision and been mistaken both ways in the past, so we practice an imperfect human resource/personnel system.)
2. Those who are caught up in a Greek tragedy of circumstances that many of us have found ourselves; and, which could happen on any given day. Sure, they take some hubris or arrogance on the officer's part, too, but we've all made the wrong call; treated someone callously or without dignity. Cops aren't perfect, but many of these "bad" calls took two bad actors to coordinate.
3. Officers who were trained and socialized poorly. Officers who "buy in" to a deviant sub-culture.
4. Officers that respond to institutional incentives. In what I've called the Paradox of Proximity [stealing from Wm. Ker Muir's Paradoxes of Power, see Democracy in America (2012) and Streetcorner Politicians (1977)]. No Chief remains in office for long if he or she cannot manage officers to control crime. This is one part of the proximity problem: we're too close to the political machine on one side; the business community or growth machine on another side; and, the victim/community that demands (begs for justice) on still another side. Cops respond to these incentives that attract and push and pull them toward "Noble-Cause Corruption"; or simply policing aggressively, which is no longer in fashion.
5. Those who "redline" for one reason or another. They have undiagnosed PTSD; or they're burned out (too much political pressure is as bad in my experience as traumatic experiences on the "street"). I've been there 2 or 3 times in my career for both reasons. That stress and built up pressure can contribute to poor judgement and over-reaction.
My point in listing these is to suggest that these are not solely officer problems, but are also organizational problems.
This leads me to ask several questions:
--Should we have better personnel systems? Are best practices studies and adopted on a widespread basis or are we largely operating as we have traditionally in our organizations?
--Should we spend more resources on training--is it valued enough in our organizations? Should officers be trained by a special cadre of trainers? We currently train with officers who have fewer than 10 years experience (and many have under five years)--is this part of the problem? How could we not expect the sub-culture to perpetuate itself?
--Do departments do enough to provide officers with safe ways to ask for and receive help when the pressure mounds? Do departments care for officers and their careers? What happens when officers are frustrated that they are not progressing in their careers...or when their job enrichment stalls?
--Finally, is our police ethical system up to the job of managing a more complex society?
The controversial, anti-police painting hanging in a Capitol hallway is permanently coming down on Tuesday, January 17, 2017.
According to The Washington Post, Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., said in a statement earlier today, January 13, 2017, that he had been advised by House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office that Capitol officials had determined that the painting was in violation of House Rules and would be permanently removed on Tuesday.
Rep. Reichert is a former Sheriff. He talked to Speaker Ryan earlier this week and asked him to have the painting removed because it was against competition rules, “depicting subjects of contemporary political controversy or a sensationalistic or gruesome nature,” on Capitol grounds. The painting depicts police officers as pigs and is supposed to reflect the 2014 civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, after Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer.
The painting hung unnoticed for seven months until its subject was recognized. It then became the focus of social media and a continuing outrage from police groups, law enforcement officers and others because of its blatant and egregious disrespect of police. After it was taken down the first time by a Republican Congressman and returned to Rep. Clay’s Office, Rep. Clay had it re-hung in a staged media event with Black Congressional Caucus members present.
Rob Duke's insight:
This was "much ado about nothing" in my humble opinion. Ever since George Orwell's Animal Farm, this has been a popular anachronism for cops. To have it revived during this period of social and racial unrest isn't unexpected.
I have dozens of miniature pigs and police officers depicted as pigs in my own personal collection; and frankly, think it's humorous that civil order officers are equated with Orwell's symbols (meant to be coded representations of some of the vilest dictators in history).
When we begin to attempt to stifle art, or when we think that we should engage in politics, we begin to resemble Orwell's pigs. I think we should chuckle and say to ourselves: "nothing to see here....move along now...."
Reuters, examining the fine print of 82 police union contracts in large cities across the country, found a pattern of protections afforded the men and women in blue:
• A majority of the contracts call for departments to erase disciplinary records, some after just six months, making it difficult to fire officers with a history of abuses. In 18 cities, suspensions are erased in three years or less. In Anchorage, Alaska, suspensions, demotions and disciplinary transfers are removed after two years.
• Nearly half of the contracts allow officers accused of misconduct to access the entire investigative file – including witness statements, GPS readouts, photos, videos and notes from the internal investigation – before being interrogated.
• Twenty cities, including San Antonio, allow officers accused of misconduct to forfeit sick leave or holiday and vacation time rather than serve suspensions.
• Eighteen cities require an officer’s written consent before the department publicly releases documents involving prior discipline or internal investigations.
• Contracts in 17 cities set time limits for citizens to file complaints about police officers – some as short as 30 days. Nine cities restrict anonymous complaints from being investigated.
Be Authentic: Presented with a caricature or robotic police officer, people in crisis will inevitably escalate. In this sense, agitated subjects are reaching out for a real human connection. That connection will offer up keys to the castle for the de-escalator. The officer’s task then, is to respond to the escalated person, not as a cop trying to be ‘human,’ but as a human speaking with another human, keeping in mind his/her police duties. This can be very uncomfortable, especially for new officers.
Responding vs. Reacting: Reacting is the first thing that comes to your lips. Responding is giving it a second, letting this first impulse pass, and speaking tactically. Everything that comes out of your mouth should serve the singular purpose of calming this person down. Throw what you want to say out the window.
Write their Biography: As an advanced crisis de-escalator, you will become the personal biographer of the person you’re trying to settle down. You will be curious about what’s going on from their perspective. You’ll immerse yourself—if only for two minutes—in the world of the person in crisis, becoming familiar with how they see the situation. When writing the biography, officers should be asking questions, rather than making statements or providing commentary.
Hold the Environment: In the midst of everything, the effective crisis de-escalator exudes a sense of comfort with taking control of the situation. This is a skill that largely comes with direct experience in the field. It’s not about being “controlling” as much as it is about knowing that you are in charge. When you know you’re in charge, and the buck stops with you, your agitated subject will be more responsive to your interventions. Importantly, this isn’t something you’ll want to show off. It starts with your internal sense of confidence in being able to manage the call. That confidence will permeate your interaction with the person in crisis.
It’s important to remember that some adults need limits. Many people who feel out of control will respond favorably to the officer who says, “No.” It helps them feel protected. Setting a limit is a tactical decision based on the singular goal of calming the subject down.
Offer Hope: The person in crisis is drowning at sea. You are the life preserver being tossed overboard. Why should the agitated person reach out for this life preserver? Why should they reach out to you? Simple: Because you really believe that if they get the help they need, they will be in a much better place in their life.
Rob Duke's insight:
...and 1% of the time, they go off the deep end no matter what you do. Guess which one ends up on CNN....
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