A Starting Thought on Law Enforcement Organizational Values

DO NO HARM offers a proven and time-tested 5-step process to help law enforcement  organizations overcome the hurdles they are currently facing: community trust, engagement and  involvement as well as use of force incidents. Our 5-steps focuses on inspiring a cultural shift  within a law enforcement organization so all LEO’s feel informed and, most importantly,  empowered to act in alignment with organization and community values. Our emphasis is  determining what those values are, and providing you the tools to communicate them effectively.  DO NO HARM is not about retraining or reform, but rather about shifting expectations,  understanding, and culture to align with what you’re ultimately needing to achieve. 

A recent article from this month's Police Chief magazine, a monthly publication of the IACP titled,  "The IACP's De-escalation Reference - Evaluating Core Values in Practice" (Found Here), is greatly aligned with DO NO HARM. It spurred me to share my thoughts on how get started with the practices we coach on.

The article spotlights how core values are the foundational base. Like everything else in this  arena, consultants tell you what the issues are but don't give you a path toward achieving it; you can't just change policies and training and hope that things will turn around - it's a holistic approach if you're pursuing long-term change. 

Police values are often found in police tradition. For example, truth, integrity and respect for others are often values police associate with especially when making difficult decisions.  

When you consciously identify and choose strong, positive values, you are also choosing a life  that is more purposeful, both personally and organizationally. Not identifying your values is like  not identifying your skill sets. Personal values offer a critical source of direction for everything  you do.  

It’s not just policing where values matter. Values determine an individual’s or organization  success as well. Even further values:  

  • Help mold a culture, where standards are high and fear is low.
  • Go beyond the urgent, ethical leaders take action with a view toward the long term, upholding the values of the culture.
  • Guide leaders’ choices so that their every action which is watched by many, helps reinforce or improve the desired state of their organizations.

There is no question that the ultimate goal of any organization is to build a values-based culture.  To this end, success will look like a stable, collaborative working environment that, over time, will  be characterized by productivity and employee commitment to the values and thus the  organization.  

Take Adam Fridman, the founder of ProHabits, who first noticed there was a connection between successful people and a company’s values. He found that people and businesses who lived their values were ultimately more successful. He decided to dig deeper and see if there was a  correlation between values and success.  

He was surprised to find there really was a link. His team evaluated 2,057 values gathered from  a total of 397 organizations and found five top values seen across Fortune 500 companies. His  research showed that the top values of Fortune 500 Companies like Apple, Amazon, and  Microsoft had a definite link between their lived values and their organizational success. The top  five values were:  

  • Integrity
  • Teamwork
  • Innovation
  • Customer service
  • Respect  

These aren’t just shallow buzzwords. They’re actual values that create real-life success  wherever they’re deployed. For example, when Eric Christopher, CEO and producer of  BizFamous Media Group asked Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, what he would do differently if he  were to start his company over again, Hsieh said, “If I could go back and do Zappos all over  again I would actually come up with our values from day one. We actually didn’t always have values. It wasn’t until about five years into it that we rolled out our values.” 

Hsieh ended up selling Zappos to Amazon for $850 million in 2012. At that time he stated that if  he could do one thing differently, it would be to create the company’s values at the very beginning. What does that tell you about the importance of values? If values are that important  to a company that sells shoes on the Internet, how much more important is it for a police department who deals in potentially life altering situations with people, good and bad, day in and  day out?

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