Command and Staff Program

It’s Our Ship

Replies
381
Voices
199
Dr. Mitch Javidi
Instructions:  
  1. Post a new discussion related to the topics covered in this module.  Your post needs to provide specific lessons learned with examples from this module helping you enhance your leadership capacity at work.
  2. After posting your discussion, review posts provided by other students in the class and reply to at least one of them. 
  • Kyle Turner

    I thought the point that collaboration, not competition, makes a team stronger stood out to me. And emphasizing collaboration, and holding people accountable to ensure collaboration is occurring, was interesting. I've always been taught that through competition we push ourselves to be better than the next person. But I have also seen that within an organization, competition can begin as friendly, but inevitably results in hard feelings and potentially even animosity. It also is individualistic and does not promote the team. This is something I will look at integrating into my own leadership approach to the units I oversee. I do strive to make the team better and agree that collaboration is a big part of that.

    • Chris Corbin

      One of my former managers was known for often signing off his e-mails with "TEAM - Together Everyone Achieves More". It stuck with me because it seemed common-sensical, but after reading Abrashoff's book, I now have a better understanding as to why teamwork and collaboration are so important and effective. Additionally, your restating of the point that holding people accountable to ensure collaboration is occurring is right on. While we certainly need to explain the many benefits of collaboration, we probably won't get very far with making it a part of our culture if we do not model it ourselves and hold others accountable for doing the same.

      • Brad Strouf

        I agree Chris. While we will always have those in the organization that "push back" against collaboration, we can set examples as leaders by demonstrating collaboration and then making others accountable. The TEAM example is fantastic! That was a new one for me. Thanks for sharing.

        • Jack Gilboy

          This is a very strong statement. If I as a leader show other leaders that I allow collaboration between my subordinates and I, it will promote collaboration among other leaders.

      • Miranda Rogers

        I agree we must first model the behavior, and I love "TEAM-Together Everyone Achieves More", hope you don't mind me using it in the future.

      • Elliot Grace

        I agree Chris, I had a similar situation where one of my supervisors always ended his briefings by saying “One-Team”. I knew what he was saying but didn’t fully understand it until after reading Abrashoff’s book. I now know the significance and importance of collaboration and the benefits of teamwork.

    • Frank Acuna

      I truly believe in that statement, a strong team works together, not against each other. All too often, during promotional processes, your peers can see you as competition and withhold training material or fail to work as a team in a study group. The group can be more successful, working together, sharing information and studying together so that everyone can find success. At the end of the day, you are not in control of who is chosen for promotion, but you can control your ability to work as a team and build strong peer relationships.

      Frank

      • Brian Johnson

        Frank, you are right on point! I have preached this for years, you are leading by example. Hopefully, the process allows for the best-qualified person to be promoted, but that doesn't always happen. But those that have taken the team approach while studying for promotional exams, all are better from it!

      • ereeves@cityofwetumpka.com

        I agree and I have noticed as well, promotional testing causes strife between co-workers whether its meant to or not. I think all agencies need to examine this and take steps to minimize the competition.

      • Eduardo Palomares

        Hello Frank. I couldn't agree with you more. I have seen great collaboration during promotional testing, which led to the great people promoted. This was a team effort because every brought great studying material to the table. Unfortunately, I also saw the downside to this. Some applicants used this opportunity to step on others to get ahead, which led to animosity and resentment. I believe that information sharing is a key for success. I wish there was a better way for departments to develop and promote applicants in additional to the promotional examination. On my last promotional exam, I was the one that brought the staying materials, coordinated the studying sessions and encouraged others to apply. I was the ONE that did not get promoted. I was upset but I knew it was not my peers' fault. I don't regret helping my peers.

      • Samantha Reps

        No stronger words of have been spoken when it comes the promotional process. One promotional process can destroy your peer group.

      • Travis Linskens

        Frank,

        I can appreciate your comment because like most other places I would assume this type of behavior is also prevalent here when a promotional process comes about. To me its a short sighted position to try an hold people back through failing to work together and share information. I try to relay to my department that its not the few weeks a process takes place that dictates your future, every day you come to work you're in a process for your next career move and you're interviewing through your interactions with everyone you meet.

    • Joey Prevost

      In previous assignments I have seen departments enter into an unspoken "non-collaboration" due to misunderstandings, lack of communication and leaders just not liking each other. The line level troops had to exert considerable effort to work around their bosses and get things accomplished between the departments.

    • Brian Lewis

      I agree Kyle. I am seeing too much competition at the command level and it's hurting any form of collaboration. In most ways we are more a group than a team.

    • Kyle Phillips

      Kyle, I was also under the impression that good competition makes us stronger, but you are spot on regarding the consequences of that over time, having the opposite affect on your team and driving a wedge between members. I have seen first hand the benefit of bringing in team members from different ranks to collaborate on different projects. It does make you feel like you are part of something special and something great.

    • I would agree that a lot of people told me in the past that "friendly competition" often makes people work harder. I agree with that as long it actually stays friendly and it doesn't create issues amongst co-workers. I will intentionally create small competitions amongst my team from time to time to help keep motivated and to sometimes make a task that isn't exactly fun and try to make the best out of it for them. This often boosts morale and helps keeps the job light. I think that in a career like law enforcement, if there is an opening to make the work environment more upbeat, I can't pass that up.

  • Chris Corbin

    After reading this book and learning about Abrashoff's staunch commitment to collaboration, it dawned on me that the idea of collaboration is consistent in many ways with Steven Covey's "Think Win-Win" philosophy. Both philosophies promote an approach that seeks an outcome in which everyone benefits. When everyone benefits, no one ends up considering themselves or being considered by others as a loser in the outcome. To me, that seems like exactly the type of outcome that we all should want, and is one that could certainly help us to build a positive, professional culture in our workplace.

  • Frank Acuna

    This lesson delivers a good deal of leadership principles including ensuring your recruiting and hiring the right people, treating people well even when they are new, learning from those around you regardless of rank, and building and maintaining a strong team. Recruitment and hiring are sometimes out of your control, but you can still work to put strong employees in positions where they can be influential and mentor others. This helps build a strong team, including putting the right people in leadership positions. Strong leaders are not afraid of others being successful, in fact they seek the success of their people over their personal success. A strong leader also learns from those around him, even if they are new or are not in a leadership position. This was certainly one of my favorite parts of being a Field Training Officer. I learned from each one of my trainees, and always sought their continued success.

    Frank

    • Monte Potier

      I agree that placing people in the right positions is important to any organization, however there are several obstacles that have to be overcome with some agencies. In my department sometimes the civil service system is sometimes a great hindrance to reaching this objective. With a passing score on the test and seniority you are promoted, which means we are sometimes left with less deserving and less motivated supervisors. With that being said our leaders have to sometimes pick the best available, instead of the best deserving employee.

      • Jarvis Mayfield

        I agree most promotions are given to less deserving employees who become power struck then causes a divide within the company.

      • Paul Brignac III

        Monte I can see where the situation you described can have a very negative impact. I am not completely educated to how the Civil Service process works, but I have heard horror stories about things such as promotion. My understanding is that the system was intended to protect employees, but it would appear that at times it does the opposite. It is very unfortunate that individuals who are the most qualified may be overlooked, and someone who met certain guidelines may be promoted to a leadership position.

    • Jarod Primicerio

      Frank - I completely agree. Strong leaders don't fear other's success, they use their success as continued motivation and a positive reflection of helping others. That is the true teamwork component often lacking. There is so much competition for the next rank or specialty assignment that people are missing this crucial component in the big picture of life.

  • Brian Johnson

    In chapter 2 "Buoy Up Your People" in Captain Abrashoff's second book, It's Our Ship, he has really reinforced the concept of developing other leaders. I think we have all fallen into the trap of trying to motivate and challenge employees that are underperforming within our departments. When we recognize talented employees that are eager to learn and willingly seek opportunities to take on additional duties, we need to recognize that initiative and start to develop those individuals. They are the future leaders within our departments. If we don't recognize their skills, abilities, and desire to take on these added job duties, we may lose them to other agencies. My department has had a recruitment and retention challenge for the last decade. We have been developing ways to engage our employees better and allow them to be more active in the decision making process. This has helped but we still need to do more. We all need to find ways to reward, develop, and provide the guidance necessary to develop all our future leaders. Developing an internal personal and professional development plan, promotional training and education, and career guidance is a great place to start.

    • Nancy Franklin

      Brian, a completely agree with your post and the importance of focusing on developing those within our organizations who are talented and eager to learn. As supervisors, we tent to focus much of our energy on the problem employees leaving little or no time to reward and provide greater learning opportunities for the future leaders of our organizations. Leaders must find ways to consistently work on developing future leaders to be successful in succession planning and moving our organizations forward.

    • Brent Olson

      Brian,

      Great post! I completely agree that we as leaders need to focus on developing others within the department. I once had a supervisor tell me that his success was measured by making those he supervised successful. He didn't strive for accolades for himself, and instead took satisfaction and pride from the success of those he mentored to meet their career goals or desired position.

    • We are almost at the point in law enforcement where no one wants to do this job anymore. If we are mentoring and grooming the future leaders for our departments, I am not sure what predicament we are going to be in. In the next 3-5 years there are over 150 people eligible for retirement. Out of that 150, almost half are in an upper level management position, with no one wanting to step up to replace them. We have to do more to encourage the younger guys to step up more.

  • Monte Potier

    After watching the video the point that really stood out was the fact about clear communication and making sure your employees received the proper information. Many times an order will be given out to our command staff, however not all information was received by them, thus they are not able to pass all of the information on. When an objective is sent out frequently this miscommunication may be corrected.

    • Lance Leblanc

      I often find that the lack of proper communication to be a major problem in our agency. Frequently in our agency, our leaders aren't in-tune with the subordinates. This something that we need to work on to improve our effectiveness.

      • Jarvis Mayfield

        True, communication is a must. But lack of it will tear away at the department from the inside out. I find where there's accountibility effectiveness occur.

    • Lt. Mark Lyons

      Communication is also a major problem with our agency. Sometimes directives have to go through layers of personnel of various rank, different divisions, and offices, etc. We have made some improvements over the last couple of years, but the communication
      breakdowns still persist.

    • Monte, this is so true. Clear communication is critical. I, too, have seen that in staff meetings, information has been given out, and these supervisors are told to pass on the information. Later I found out from other officers, the info was not given. I would have to pass on information to other divisions. How does a department manage without the two-way flow?

  • Joey Prevost

    I find it remarkable that after all of his success, Capt. Abrashoff still found an area where he himself fell short. That was with regards to collaboration with others. He realized that he expected this of his crew members, but did not do it himself with his fellow Captains. This caused animosity from other ship's crews as it was perceived the crew of the Benfold was making them look as if they were lacking.

    • Dan Wolff

      Joey Prevost,
      I had similar reactions to the book as well. It also made me think that, as I read the first book and admired his thinking process and the way he accomplished what he did it made sense of what he was saying in the second book. Not communicating laterally and realizing the affects he had on the “other part of the team” (rest of the fleet) that in a sense he may have been creating an animosity with them. Point well taken on the importance of collaboration

    • Drauzin Kinler

      Joey, this just goes to show us that even after finishing our leadership training there is always more learning involved. Me and my son were talking about leadership the other day and because we are from different generations, the thought process was entirely different. His approach was just as relevant to my approach and would have achieved the same goal.

      • Lt. Richard Paul Oubre

        I agree with you Drauzin, the leaders of today have to recognize the new officers thoughts and outlooks are different from theirs. If the leaders who are struggling, start to learn this i believe they will be more successful.

    • Justin Payer

      Joey, This is also what stood out to me. I see the same thing at my agency. My division collaborates and works well together, but we each division definitely needs to work on collaborating together. We tend to look at what we are responsible for and try to make that work well but forget the big picture.

      • Denise Boudreaux

        Justin, I agree. I see that each division does collaborate and works well within that division but needs to work on collaborating with other divisions within the agency.

  • Jarod Primicerio

    This module highlights many great takeaways for us as law enforcement leaders. Not only in our profession, but as we navigate through life. Treating people with dignity and respect, regardless of their rank or classification, is key. We often want to blame the individual for a failure rather than look at the process or system that failed. We all have a crucial role in the success of our agency and collaboration, coupled with good leaders, is key.

    • Jason Porter

      Well put, all the things we hear during these modules can easily be utilized in our day to day lives outside of our 9 to 5. These will not only make us better leaders but a better person to our families and friends.

    • Captain Jessica Jo Troxclair

      Always lead by example and be the best you can be. Someone is always watching. When we fail, we all do at some time we should embrace it and learn from it. It makes us stronger as leaders.

  • Jason Porter

    The teamwork idea is probably one of the toughest issues to overcome. We have four shifts that have to be on the same page working towards the common goal. There are numerous different personalities on each shift. You will always have some that don’t want to share information in the thinking that it may get them a leg up, when in fact it does nothing but bring the team down.

    • chasity.sanford@stjohnsheriff.org

      I agree to this response because we also have 4 different shifts that we're trying to get everyone on the same page. When in reality you have some leaders who don't want to be on the same page with everyone else, which en tells it causes a problem for us to utilize teamwork.

  • Mike Brown

    Proper communication along with the right team will hopefully point us to the right goal. When dealing with a team your shortcomings should be explored and ironed out so that they longer hinter you from being successful. Collaboration teaches us to be better therefore we become better.

  • Nancy Franklin

    Abrashoff makes it a point in his second book, "It's Our Ship" to share lessons learned and the importance of continuing to develop not only your own leadership skills, but also to develop future leaders around you. In Chapter Two, "Buoy Up Your People," he reinforces the importance of developing leaders by inspiring everyone to do and be their best. A leader must give his people the freedom to soar, but provide guidance, set expectations, and monitor their progress. It is crucial that leaders invest time in developing their people because that will pay large dividends in the long run. If we lead by example and develop leadership skills in others, we not only improve our employees - but we also improve ourselves and the manner in which our agency operates and serves the community.

    • David Cupit

      I agree with you Nancy especially the leading by example. There is not many things worse than being told don't do what i do, do what i say do. I have always tried to set the example and i know the people i am leading say if he can do it i can.

  • Dan Wolff

    In the book “It’s Our Ship”, Abrashoff reflected on hindsight of the things he missed while leading the USS Benfold. He focused on the things he did right but after hearing the feedback of the crew after his first book he realized the things he could have done better. This is the same thing we need to do as leaders. Don’t only focus on the future and the people you lead, but also reflect on the past subordinates or even feedback from lateral leadership in the organization. Don’t lose focus of the possible lateral affects you could cause others outside of your chain and learn from them as well.

    • Magda Fernandez

      Dan, I agree with you on taking the time to reflect and pay attention to feedback provided. At times, for some, feedback Is hard to accept and some people look at it as criticism and a negative. We must be careful to provide guidance and be aware of how that feedback is being provided. We as leaders need to reflect and look at what we can improve about ourselves and how we do things as leaders. We are always being looked at by our subordinates, peers, and supervisors. How we do things and how we respond is always being analyzed.

  • Drauzin Kinler

    Going through this module and reflecting on several of the topics covered, there are many different approaches as leaders that we can use to build our organizations. Some of the interesting topics are, “Let People Tell the Admiral the Truth,” and, “When There’s a Problem, First Ask How Long People Have Known About It.” A leader can learn a lot of information by following these two simple rules. Most subordinates are afraid of retaliation and, therefore, never speak the truth. If we instill these beliefs within our subordinates that they can be honest, we could fix many of the morale and motivation issues that we all have in our organizations. Asking the question of how long people have known about the issue would sometimes be enlightening as to just how long problems have been festering within our organizations. Allowing issues to not be addressed is another instance of why we create our own demons within our organizations.

  • Magda Fernandez

    I really enjoyed reading this book, I like how he builds on his previous discussed management techniques and ideas. His leadership ideas seem simple but have a real life applicability and success. I found it interesting how he talks about Navy bureaucracy and how he overcame it to achieve what he needed for his sailors. As leaders of our organizations we need to continue to create high performance cultures where everyone takes ownership and responsibility.

  • Lance Leblanc

    In the second book, Abrashoff claimed "Give your people roots and wings to turn them into leadership machines," that's the perfect example of developing your employees. He addressed investing time, giving candid feedback and leading by inspiration. Abrashoff also talked about"Spend time in the sewage system even the lousiest job needs to know he's vita," that extremely important for the employee because it makes him feel appreciated. I have some of the worst jobs with my agency but had a great supervisor that made that it relatively good. I've also had some of the best jobs and horrible supervision that made it unbearable.

    • Chasity Arwood

      I agree with you. A good supervisor can make all of the difference, even if you have one of the worst jobs. bad supervisors are also hard to work around even in a better position.

    • Colby Stewart

      After completing this lecture I have a better view of how good communication and having the trust of your subordinates and your supervisors can make your job better. I learned you need to let your subordinates be part of charges you are making and let them give input on how the changes are going to effect the department.

  • Henry Dominguez

    I really enjoyed this lecture. It was fascinating to see how Captain Abrashoff as a new military member started making leadership decisions from the start. Because he did not get a response to his letter, after writing one to his new ship's captain, he decided when he got to that position to have a "welcoming party" (for lack of a better term). It is the little things like this that can separate those agencies that have an unlimited budget to spend on the department versus those that do not have very much and barely squeak by. If those agencies that barely make it have the little things taken care of, the chances are that the employees will be more loyal and less likely to leave. I find in my agency, we do some of the little things; however, doing more could dramatically change our agency for the better.

  • David Cupit

    This was a good lecture and a good book. Making collaboration a top priority sounds like a fantastic idea. There is to much silly competition in today's workplace, if we are not careful we might end up writing bad citations. I like what he said about earning your peoples trust by trusting them first. I like the way Captain Abrashoff communicated with the crew on his ship and used Lincoln's walk around style of leadership.

  • Chasity Arwood

    I enjoyed the second book , "It's our ship". It shows that communication is important and making sure that the team is aware of the objective. Capt. Abrashoff also listened to feedback after training to ensure everyone's training goals were met. The statement, "Lead by inspiration rather than brute force" rings true. I believe most subordinates will work harder if they feel included.

    • Judith Estorge

      Inclusion is such an important statement. The increase of information flow in both directions would eliminate many trivial issues. Communication is the key to officers feeling included. As simple as a senior officer letting his most subordinate know when he will be out of the office the following day.

    • Laurie Mecum

      Communication is a huge disconnect I feel in most organizations. If we communicate our goals to everyone and make everyone feel part of the same team, I think we will achieve better results.

    • Amanda Pertuis

      I agree completely! I work harder when I feel included and I want my people to feel the same way.

  • Brian Lewis

    Interesting lecture and good read. What I took away from this lecture was the six tenants. My department is on the verge of mass retirements. We are hiring like crazy , but some of the tenants we are failing at are: Tenant 1, welcoming people aboard. We are not instilling a sense of pride to our new hires that they will be working at a premier law enforcement agency. We allow too much shabbiness and goofing off in my opinion that gives the perception that this is not a serious place. And the other tenant is #6: build a team that can function well after you're gone. I think we are failing in mentoring the future leaders and preparing our department for the impending retirements. I will be taking these tenants to my command team and hopefully have a healthy discussion of planning for the future of our department.

  • Judith Estorge

    The video clip of Capt. Abrashoff discussing an "after action review" something to bring to my leadership skills. Discussing a situation after it happens with everyone involved even on minor situations is a great practice to begin. It will help establish open communication between rank and file while teaching methods of improvement in the future. There is always better or different methods of getting something accomplished.

  • Clint Patterson

    Ahoy, welcoming aboard before we even board the ship or agency is pretty impressive. The fact that Captain Abrashoff mailed all his shipmates a letter before they arrived outlining his expectations, goals, and values, is a trait that we as leaders should practice with a new hire to our division. In our line of work, we have to do this on the tail-end of the promotion process, not to ruin the surprise. Once the interview process is complete for a position in my division, and the selection is made, they are called to the Sheriff’s office to receive their letter of promotion or reassignment. I always want to be present during this time in their career to congratulate them personally and welcome them to our team/division. I like to walk the new person to each coworker's office, introduce them, share that person's start date, and spend time meeting with them. Chief Bob Dooley said to “put yourself in your bosses shoes,” which is why I do this for every new hire into our division. This helps the newcomers to feel welcomed and motivated.

    • Ray Bonillas

      Patterson,

      You are correct, Abrashoff’s actions of mailing out a letter outlining his expectations, goals and values was quite impressive. This allowed his employees to better understand what is expected of them to achieve success. In our organization, we also have a meet and greet, and provide the new hire with a tour of our facility, introducing them to our employees. Maybe we should conduct this walk through for the top two or three candidates so they get a feel for the organization before they are hired. It would give them a taste of our work environment.

    • Roanne Sampson

      Clint, this is a great practice. This will allow your new personnel to feel special and a part of the team.

    • Rocco Dominic, III

      Great Idea Clint, What an awesome way to welcome your new people into your division, It Shows unity.

  • Laurie Mecum

    In this book, he talks about collaboration and making your employees feel included in the decisions and the organization. This is important in every organization and sadly not done enough. People want to feel like they are part of the team at every level. That is also helping develop those people under you as future leaders of the department. Also, helps with retention, which is a huge problem in law enforcement today. It is getting harder and harder to recruit and retain good talent. We need to try and keep the talent we have. When we have someone that may be struggling, instead of saying he is not cutting it, we need to find ways to help them and bring them to their full potential.

    • Samuel Lucia

      Laurie, liked how you brought up recruitment and retention issues. You're right, so much investment and talent is lost when employees don't feel a sense of belonging to the organization, and they leave. We've developed a brand to help with attrition, its Opportunity, Family, and Diversity of Assignments.

    • dlevet@stcharlessheriff.org

      good point. by including them in decision making you are developing future leaders and seeing who has what it takes to be a leader.

  • Ray Bonillas

    During this week lecture and through the reading of Abrashoff’s book “It’s Our Ship”, I have learned that it is all about the leaser of any organization that sets the place for all. Leaders must ensure all new employees are welcomed appropriately and feel they are part of the organization’s family environment. We must create that team environment where everyone understands that his or her position is just as important as that of the leaders within the organization, while at the same time giving him or her the tools and training to achieve success. We have to set the example and model the way of what values that are importance and we educate why they are important.

    • Christian Johnson

      I agree completely, Ray.

      The need for us to be good role models could not be more important.

  • Samuel Lucia

    About four times each year, there are a number of promotions and transfers that occur around the department. Usually, each member has at least two weeks notice before the effective date, which gave them time to contact their new commander. The division lieutenant, administrative sergeant, and I would meet with new staff member before their effective date. It was a great time to welcome them, get to know them and provide some expectations. Abrashoff described sending a letter with a welcoming message and what to expect. That is a fantastic idea. Imagine how that made the new folks feel.

    • David Ehrmann

      Yes, this is a great thing that should happen more. Employees are nervous enough to go into a new division or new assignment because of the fear of the unknown. Properly welcoming them and providing them with a roadmap of what the goals, mission, and expectations of them will relieve some of those fears and help foster greater respect for the leader.

  • Amanda Pertuis

    I enjoyed both books by Abrashoff. I am impressed that he admitted his mistakes with the first book and how he corrected them with the second. He has some really good points and suggestions. I really like – Keep recruiting people – even after they’re aboard. We should keep recruiting our people and hopefully keep them from becoming stagnant employees.

  • David Ehrmann

    I enjoyed this module, especially the part in the book where Abrashoff talked about getting out with your people. As leaders, this is something that we should do more of, which will help gain the respect of the people under us. I can recall as I was coming up through the ranks, leaders who made decisions from the “ivory tower” instead of relying on the “boots on the ground.” We tend to get caught up in the day to day operations, paperwork, meetings, etc. and spend less time with our people on the street. If we do this more, we can foster greater respect and loyalty from our people while instilling confidence in us (the leaders) that our people on the ground can and will make sound decisions.

    • Royce Starring

      I also enjoyed this part. This is something that I always try to do is get out with the subordinates. I feel they will open up to you freely out of the office setting.

    • dpertuis@stcharlessheriff.org

      This is something I found myself guilty of not long ago and have recently strived to get out more, not just on major scenes, but just jumping in the car to go look for a witness or suspect. Or volunteering recently to attend a meeting at another agency about a rash of robberies. Not only to keep fresh on what's going on, but also to get some one on one time with the team members felt good.

    • James Schueller

      I am in agreement as well, that as leaders we do need to spend time with our people and show that we care about them and the jobs they do. This is especially important in public service when we can't offer monetary rewards for accomplishments. The personal touch of just shaking a hand, looking someone in the eye and saying thank you are exactly what keep people motivated and feel valued. It's easy to make excuses of being too busy or other daily operations, but that personal touch and buy in from staff is invaluable for the long haul.

  • Royce Starring

    I believe that a bad leader lose faith in workers under their supervision. I have worked under at least two different supervisor's that were bad. One supervisor i worked along side of him prior to him being a supervisor had he was a horrible person to work with and was even worse when he was promoted. I never had faith in him. The other supervisor would never own up to his decisions. He would always say"THEY" said to do it this way. Needless to say i lost faith in him very fast.

  • Roanne Sampson

    Abrashoff had a great plan with his new recruits. I liked the idea that he sent a letter prior to their arrival explaining the expectations. It was like a welcome on board package. I remember my first day on the job quite well. It was not pleasant experience. I will have to utilize this concept. Collaboration is the key to success. I also liked build your team and then become their cheerleaders.

    • Lance Landry

      I liked Abrashoff’s plan with new recruits as well. We as leaders can always do better with making sure the right persons are in the position the new members of our teams. In turn we as good leaders should be keeping up with the assimilation of these new persons within our organizations.

    • Donnie

      This was my favorite part of the book. Coming in to a new organization, especially a large one can be a frightful and challenging thing to start. A plan for bringing new people in, showing them around, explaining what is expected, and how to do things is comforting. It blows my mind that an 18 year old had to leave basic training and find their own way to their duty station without any points of contact.

    • Burke

      I agree. Starting your new personnel off on the "right foot" is important. It can really set the tone for how well they will perform.

    • Lieutenant John Champagne

      I like the letter and feel like it gives a personal touch and what's expected from the leader of that team. Also, a meeting with the leader can go a long way for the rookie to feel welcome and know what's expected.

  • Christian Johnson

    I truly enjoyed the module and the book.

    Learn from your people, treat everyone well and let them know what is expected of them and what they can expect from you and collaborate, collaborate, collaborate.

    I especially identify with the importance of his approach of waking around and talking to people. It is easy to do in a Corrections environment, which I am in, but not done often enough by many.

    • The lesson learned here is agreed, the ability to meet and get to know your personnel helps to create more personable moments. People come to work often and think they are not noticed or known to the "people" up high. When the leadership in any agency shows they are accessible it smooths things out in the front lines. It allows personnel to know that their admin do want to meet and help them when needed. Planting the seeds or to identify future personnel that may be future peers. Abrashoff learned to adapt when he needed to.

  • Lance Landry

    I really enjoyed the first book “It’s Your Ship.” I found myself relating to Captain Abrashoff’s innate desire to be the best ship in the Navy along with relishing his success. We grow up being a part of a team whether athletic or business striving to be the best. The profound change in his perspective with the sequel “It’s Our Ship” was eye opening. If Captain Abrashoff had shared his methods with his fellow Captains, the entire Battlegroup would have benefited. Further still, had this Battlegroup then shared these methods with the entire Fleet, what a better Navy we would have today. An opportunity was missed by focusing on the short term success of the individuals rather than the long term goal of the group.

  • Donnie

    As I read Captain Abrashoff’s first book I was actually wondering if would ever share his leadership techniques with other captains to build up the whole battle group. I enjoyed the book but was a little disappointed that he wasn’t as concerned about the whole battle group. He seems to redeem himself in the second book having done some reflection, discovering he could have been helping his battle group, fleet, and ultimately, the Navy all along. In law enforcement, the team doesn’t stop at the traffic division, uniform patrol, dispatch, detectives, etc. All divisions must unify to create a successful agency. A leader in any single division must set the example for everyone in the agency.

    • I agree with your assessment. Unfortunately I find that often times in the spirit of competitiveness agencies can inadvertently create an atmosphere where it becomes an us against them. When those in charge can distance themselves from the "competition" they are reminded the agency is one ship and having the different sections at odds with each other ultimately is not efficient and can be counterproductive

  • Burke

    It's Our Ship really ties in what Abrashoff learned from commanding the Benfold and how it relates to the civilian world. I enjoyed this module and this book.

  • McKinney

    In this module, the concept of Unity was incorporated. We in the law enforcement profession have several moving parts from those that serve in the communication division, uniform services command, investigative command, community outreach, and corrections. These are only a few that we are all involved with, which brings me to the following thoughts. I believe it is imperative for us to be engaged with every facet of the organization because of how closely we're all tied together. We must share ideas and find innovative ways to better and or advance the organization we serve collectively.

    • Major Stacy Fortenberry

      I am currently dealing with a couple of Patrol supervisors not playing well with the Traffic supervisors. This module dealing with unity will assist me in communicating with them the benefits of team play.

  • Lieutenant John Champagne

    Another useful module, trust is a better motivator than fear of discipline was something I could reflect on. I have observed both types in action. Supervisors who trust their guys got more from them, and the environment was much nicer to work in. The supervisor that used fear and discipline got work done, but the team was miserable and seemed to plot against him. I also feel that I need to get out of my office more than I currently do and work amongst my team on the streets to build a stronger relationship.

    • Jennifer Hodgman

      I agree with your point about trust being a better motivator that fear of discipline. People will do more for you and work harder if they trust you!

  • When reflecting on Capt. Abrashoff's realization that he had improved his own ship but had not shared with the other Captains I can see where the same has happened in my own agency. I believe this is not done intentionally, but sometimes leaders can loose sight of the true big picture. I remember early in my career when I was in a meeting to discuss how many Cadets my agency would be sending to an upcoming Academy. When I suggested sending one from each shift and then evaluating to see if additional personnel could be spared I was immediately confronted by my supervisor. I was told that my concern was my Academy and that all I should be concerned with was putting as many people in the Academy as possible. If the Jail supervisor have an issue with how many are sent to an Academy it is their responsibility to get with the Executive Staff. My only concern was the Academy and if I didn't understand that then I shouldn't be running the Academy. I had been in charge for about a week. I responded that I understood and requested everyone who was not POST Certified be sent immediately. The supervisor smiled and said I could have ten. I later spoke to the Captain at the Detention Center and have continued to communicate with him before and after any meetings where this question arises. I continue to want to put as many people in the Academy as possible, but I feel I should be reasonable when it comes to working with other divisions. I don't want to look back at the end of my career and wish I had collaborated instead of only looking out for myself.

    Fortunately the collaboration in my own agency has grown. Often times Captains will call each other to work things out before going higher. I don't believe the blame for Capt. Abrashoff's failure to share with the rest of the Navy was all his. The other Captains could have also reached out. I would believe some may not have because of their own ego. Leaders have to be able to work together.

    • cbeaman@ascensionsheriff.com

      I think my departments Captain's also work well together. Most all of them have come up through the ranks together and support each other. I'm not saying they don't ever disagree but for the most part they help each other out to get the job done.

      • guttuso_fa@jpso.com

        Fortunately, myself and the other district commander are constantly bouncing ideas off of one another. We try to be as consistent as possible among the four district to make sure we don't hear the, "well that district does it that way1" So far it is working out pretty well. For the most part we have a pretty good rapport with the detective bureau commanders. Like you said, we don't always agree but at least we are all trying for the same goal.

  • Major Stacy Fortenberry

    The importance of starting a new employee off right was a wake up call for me. I have not spent enough time on this as I should have. I have relied far to much on their FTO and shift supervision. I will endeavor to place a higher priority on spending some time with new hires in the future. Making sure they understand our unit philosophy and culture. Providing them with a road map to their success should help them get adjusted easier and faster.

    • jbanet@bossiersheriff.com

      I too realize now that the welcoming process to my new investigators is something I should change. To be honest there really isn't much of a welcoming process. Its basically here's your desk, here's your log in and resources so get to work. There is a mentoring process of working with a senior investigator, but I need to ask myself how I can make this process better and more welcoming.

    • mtroscla@tulane.edu

      Our department has had this issue in the past and additionally we fail to welcome and train when moving officers between districts.

    • Lieutenant Dustin Jenkins

      I do believe that this is something that is not just an isolated event in your department, but more of the norm in the law enforcement field. Just this week I had a new employee assigned to my shift, and after reading the book even before listening to this module i have started implementing a little different assimilation period for them on the first "shift".

  • cbeaman@ascensionsheriff.com

    When a new employee arrives to my office I always sit him or her down and go over what we do and how we do things. I now realize that I am doing it all wrong. I must change my way of thinking and spend more time with these future leaders. I know leaders are not supposed to get too close to subordinates but a little more encouraging will go a long way. I also need to do a better job of giving praise to our detectives for doing a good job. I will come up with a better plan ASAP and make it happen.

  • jbanet@bossiersheriff.com

    After reading the book and completing the module I found myself even more intrigue by Captain Abrashoff. Having the ability to look inside and understand that there were some things he could have done better to promote the overall success of the Navy was a great example of leadership. He realized that it wasn't just important for him to make sure his ship was performing at a high level, but how was the overall performance of the Navy and specifically his battle group. This is a lesson that I will take to heart when Identifying things that my unit is doing well and passing on these strategies to my entire department.

    • sid.triche@stjohnsheriff.org

      I agree with you fully. When a leader in any part of an organization tend to work with blinders and only focus on their direct responsibility, like the Captain did (Ship/Shift). We want out Shift to run smooth, problem free and we think out job is done. This module will make me take in the bigger picture, not only how to improve the shift but on ways i can help improve my Department, as well.

  • chasity.sanford@stjohnsheriff.org

    In Module 4, I've learned that in the book of It's Our Ship, Abrashoff seen good characteristics in his workers which gave him a list of good things for him to look forward to in his workers. Even tho the admiral wanted differently, Abrashoff remembered to provide toward his crew.

  • mtroscla@tulane.edu

    Leading in a manner that bolsters participation is effective only if that leader understands how to create value and buy in from his subordinates. If you don't understand how to build value in an organization then you will never have a team.

  • sid.triche@stjohnsheriff.org

    In Its Our Ship, i liked the idea of writing of letters to your superior and asking what was expected under a new command. I wish letters were in return written to the newly promoted as certain professions doesn't come with instruction manuals. Your given a shiny different colored badge, brass and assigned a shift, next thing you know your their Leader. You know how to do the job of your subordinates, but never trained how truly to lead them. Also with this module ill take away with the 3 R's of decision making: Reflect, Respond and Revise. I'm a huge believer in with understanding mistakes will happen, just make the proper change and don't let it happen again. Its when the same mistake continues to occurs its time to start back with the first "R".

    • michael-beck@lpso.net

      I also thought the idea of writing to the subordinate officers to explain what is expected of them once they take their positions. I think it's a great empowerment tool which will get them off on the right foot, lets them know you support them, and even the goals for your section/ division/ organization.

    • cody.hoormann@stjamessheriff.com

      I liked how you said that newly promoted people are just handed a shift and expected to lead. This happens all the time. I respect the way Abrashoff reached out new people under his command and how he did the same when he was under a new command and reached out to his commanding officer.

    • steven.brignac@stjamessheriff.com

      revision was very interesting to me also, when we look at so many of use look as if we made a mistake if the solution does not work. I like to look at it from this point of adjusting the solution to create better results. Also, I would like to implement the assigning a coach to a new hire, not just a training officer. Someone that can build a relationship and help with the recruitment of that individual for years to come.

  • michael-beck@lpso.net

    After reading the book and reviewing this section of instruction, the biggest take away I received was collaboration(s) is/are the keys to success. Throughout human existence, we, as a people needed to make certain to form bonds and be part of something in order to survive. What I do think Captain Abrashoff missed was, although he missed the mark on working with his peers to hoist them up, he was not a failure in terms of building collaborative efforts aboard the Benfold. Abrashoff was able to get people from different walks of life with different jobs to work relatively harmoniously in a symbiotic show of unity and strength. He showed his sailors and officers what it was like to be a good leader and therefore he planted the seeds of leadership in those who worked with him. Due to his efforts his legacy will live on in every person he lead.

    In order for a forest to grow, it needs only to start with a single tree willing to share its fruit.

  • It’s our ship, is a great leadership book for the new supervisor. As the focus of this module is about chapter 2, it is hard to pick out and focus on just one of the essential principals. Although Chapter 2 is necessary and vital, Chapter 3, I feel, has some more critical essential points.

    We have to cultivate the truth from our team. But the truth-telling has to start from the top. We must instill that our team can tell us the truth and not just want them to think we want to hear. As a leader, we need to feel like our supervisors and have processes in place for the questions they might ask.

    My supervisor does not like to be blindsided, so telling him upfront about failures or issues is paramount. With this in mind, owning mistakes or shortfalls has made the blow a lot easier when he knows ahead of the curve.

    In Summary, pride and ownership of your agency is a vital part of morale. If you were a citizen, you always want the “pride” to be the employees.

    • anthony.joseph@stjamessheriff.com

      I agree, telling the truth does start from the top, doing this will develop a positive culture within the agency, and open many lines of communication between leaders and their followers.

    • mmoscona@floodauthority.org

      Your comment about your supervisor not wanting to be blindsided is exactly what I tell my officers during my get to know meeting. I tell them that if they make a mistake or think they made a mistake to let me know immediately because I don't want to be blindsided by a phone call from the Captain. If I know the facts then we can work on a solution and possibly minimize the damage.

  • guttuso_fa@jpso.com

    One of the main things I took away from this module was to "make truth your choice". I have found that the truth really is the best policy. For example, when you choose not to promote someone, explain the true reasons why, don't try to sugar coat it. That is only going to hurt them in the future. Use it as a course correction. Also, none of us are perfect so I would rather someone have my back and let me know that I made a mistake then just being a yes man just to tell what they think I want to hear.

    • Far to many times people will give the company answer instead of being upfront and honest. I also agree with providing people with the honest truth instead of skirting around the issues and trying to be their friend instead of their supervisor.

  • cody.hoormann@stjamessheriff.com

    Once again Abrashoff's book was great. As stated throughout the book, telling the truth needs to be the way an organization is operated from the top down. I find it hard to focus on one critical component of the book and speak about it. The entire book is worth talking about. I have learned may great things from both of his books.

  • Lieutenant Dustin Jenkins

    In this module and the book " It's our ship" many different aspects were discussed that can correlate to our division/shifts and things we are doing independently that could actually benefit the department as a whole if we collaborate as leaders. Also, the ideas presented on communicating failures, learning from them and leaving them behind in a timely manner is something i believe every individual, team, division and department could learn from. I liked the way is was put to us as- failure is not as important as the corrective measure taken.

  • ereeves@cityofwetumpka.com

    I was very impressed by this book and this section. There was so much to take away from it, I don't know where to start. I would have to say though the welcoming people aboard really stood out to me. New officers come into the department and go to the academy to learn the basics but are completely lost when they report to their first shift assignment. This is definitely something I will address with our department and try to correct immediately as we have three new officers about to go to the academy.

    • Adam Gonzalez

      Like you, I believe that this vital time in a cadets career, not just sets the tone of their beginning endeavors but models for them our expectations of what we would have them become. If we do not reach out to our newest team members, why would they reach out to us for their challenges and questions, thus continuing the all-too-common cycle of suppressing their needs, wants, desires and energy. If not at the beginning of their career, when best to reach out to them with genuine concern and care?

  • anthony.joseph@stjamessheriff.com

    The lesson I learn from this module is that as a leader telling the truth in all situations can benefit an organization in many ways. It can build trust, loyalty, and respect for followers. It also taught me that using trust as a motivator can be better than discipline.

  • steven.brignac@stjamessheriff.com

    I did not realize that assigning a coach can be so beneficial. I recall my first day on the job and how I was expected to just know some general knowledge about the profession. Looking back I realized that I did have a coach, but that person has moved on. I will look to regain a coach for myself and encourage others to "adopt" new hires as a coach or mentor to ensure we are recruiting that employee every day.

  • This module was beneficial in providing techniques for leaders to engage the entire team and not individuals. I found the three "R's" of decision making helpful because often, the third "R" is obsolete. The importance of collaboration and trust is also vital for success.

    • Mitchell Gahler

      I also found the three "R's" of decision making very interesting. It's sometimes difficult to make decisions when problems occur, but it's what were learn from those problems (Revise) in order to prevent it from happening again. Many times, the correction could be a positive learning experience which could enhance everyone's leadership and skills.

  • As stated, in the lecture and book, Abrashoff only took into account his own ship and crew, and not the Navy and the fleet. This relates directly to a law enforcement agency, and particularly to patrol. While governed by the same rules and policies, many times each shift or watch is run differently. Some times the commander or chief knows this and tolerates, as long as every thing is good. In that small unit environment, the attitude of the shift comes from the commander. The problem, as I have seen it is when a policy comes out and you can tell it is directed to one watch and not the whole department.

    While personalities may be different, we have to make sure that the employees that we have and recruit are treated with the same respect and candor. As the title says, It's Our Ship.

    • blaurent@stcharlessheriff.org

      I agree, and our department is in the same boat. There is no consistency, and the other patrol shifts are noticing the differences between the shifts. The lack of consistency is bringing down morale and work culture negatively.

  • dpertuis@stcharlessheriff.org

    The ironic part of this training for me was the "no more aye-aye men portion that listed "let people tell you the truth." As some of you may know, a lot of people in our department have been going to Institute for Credible Leadership Development (ICLD) phases I-IV over the past several years. After completing a module, a workshop is set up and in the end there is a question and answer with the sheriff. A couple of months back there was a workshop and a question was asked that the sheriff said he would look into. None of this was a problem, until the answer was brought back by another staff member. When the staff member delivered the message, the take away because of the delivery was, don't ask questions that you don't really want the answer to. I don't think it was intentional, however that's the way the message was perceived, and we all know that perception is reality. A lot of peoples opinion on these Q&A's is now, they (staff) don't really want you to ask any questions, just say that everything is great. This defeats the entire purpose of what was trying to be achieved.

    • dgros@stcharlessheriff.org

      I couldn’t agree more. Another reality is that if a certain member of the department delivers a message, it will be received differently just by how a group feels about that particular department member.

    • cvillere@stcharlessheriff.org

      I do think we need to allow for more honest discussion and feedback at all levels. I think many times we lose sight of the value in hearing the truth in taking the criticism as a personal assault rather than an opportunity for growth, or as a way to strengthen our mission. I like how Abrashoff advises that we have to be able to put our egos aside and to listen, listen, listen.

      I also like how he stresses that we need to lead by example and that we must give trust in order to earn it. I think these both also play into establishing authenticity as leaders for others to trust us enough to give honest feedback.

  • blaurent@stcharlessheriff.org

    The part of the module that I took the most out of, "People don't fail, the system failed." If we are not supplying our people with the best resources and training, we can expect them to succeed. As leaders, we need to hold ourselves accountable for the failure of goals. We also need to empower our people so that we collaborate on a positive level.

    • McKinney

      I agree with your statement. Leaders must invest in their members by providing every available resource available to them to ensure their team, and the members will be successful.

  • dgros@stcharlessheriff.org

    The best practice of Captain Abrashoff’s book “It’s Our Ship” that stood out the most to me was training people to go full steam ahead. In my position, no actions we take are ever satisfactory. I am well aware that we do the best we can with what we have. My team would enjoy it if we were able to give our personnel better training. But what we can do it provide the best possible training with what we do have. Captain Abrashoff believed that failing to train is preparing to fail. In our business, training is something the public desires us to have more of; when in fact, we train more now that we ever have. This didn’t occur due to recent events in fatal encounters between police and physical combatants. We train because we must remain proficient and excel in our craft. We look ahead after reflecting on an issue and make the best decision possible on what a problem is and correct it. When we do these things, and give our personnel every avenue to success, they are steaming ahead full force.

  • cvillere@stcharlessheriff.org

    I like how Captain Abrashoff aimed to inspire every sailor on the ship to feel like they were responsible for the success of that ship. I think too many times in law enforcement, we lose sight of of the importance of every person's role in making the agency a success. We sometimes lose sight that we should all be working individually as members of a team; we sometimes lose the camaraderie. It is important to illustrate the value of each person's role in your organization towards the common goal.
    Everyone wants to feel appreciated and to know what they are contributing matters. For example, in one of our meetings someone had tried to insinuate that some of our enforcement divisions were more crucial to the organization than some of our support divisions; my supervisor challenged them by pointing by asking them if they like to get paid, he then explained that they too played a vital role, if one department fails then we as an organization would falter.

  • Adam Gonzalez

    So many lessons to choose from! I believe that what I learned most from this module is the need to welcome aboard, not just those already aboard but those soon coming aboard. Everyone remembers what it's like to be the new person on any given organization. How different our experience would have been had we been welcomed appropriately and not just tolerated as the new person. Additionally, the author stresses the importance to then buoy these people up. If we are to agree that the number one resource behind any entity are the employees, than we as leaders need to agree to the service of buoying up those around us. For every person looks for this very virtue from every leader that they encounter. It is then that we provide for those around us to not become "aye-aye men", another principle espoused by Captain Abrashoff, or people that just tell you what you want to hear and not the simple truth. We as leaders are held back from our full potential when those around us are held back to reach theirs!

  • clouatre_kj@jpso.com

    In this module, building a team with personnel who have the same ultimate goals was discussed and is a concept that is crucial to the unit's mission. I observe certain investigative units that over time have chosen personnel based solely on friendships and personality, not talent, and/or ability. Now, I am trying to unravel the issues that have been built over time, mostly due to some personnel not having a desire to actually do the work and their leader never truly setting the tone of expectations and a solid mission goal of what needs to be accomplished. Since this has occurred, I have since had honest conversations about personnel positions with them and expectations. Some have realized they never truly wanted any part of certain units and were relieved to move on. Now, I make certain that the Lt. understands that he needs to recruit personnel based on honesty, expectations, and people who are devoted to do a job that not everyone is cut out for.

    • Unfortunately, that is a common issue. It is important for us as leaders to change and promote people based on their ability and motivation. If individuals are not inspired to help achieve the department's goal, then they should not be promoted. It should be base on what you know, not who you know.

  • This module is the epitome of when you think you know it all, once you realize that you were being "self-centered", or not team oriented to help the whole "organization" win, you learn even more. Thus the meaning of Abrashoff changing and morphing; maturation after leaving the USN. He updated his book to show what lessons he learned, as we can do to show leadership is always fluid and dynamic. He displayed tact and grew from his life experience

  • Abrashoff addressed the importance of welcoming people aboard before they are aboard. I truly believe the first impression sets the tone. In my department, we interview new hires, and we speak to them as if they have the job. They are informed of the department's expectations and the goals of the agency. When they become part of the team, we try to make them feel comfortable and at ease. We welcome them and make them feel like they are part of the team.

    • dlavergne@stcharlessheriff.org

      Since I started as a shift lieutenant, I try to make it a point to welcome any new member of my shift personally. I call them into my office, welcome them, and then ask what their goals and ambitions are. I like that face to face time because it really lets me get to know them and helps me to gauge what kind of person they are.

      • wdanielfield@ibervilleso.com

        I agree with welcoming them to the team, I make it a point to have a face to face conversation to see what their short term, long term goals and what's their background.

  • dlevet@stcharlessheriff.org

    What i took away from this module was the video about Walt Disney. Find people that were capable and extremely talented then point them towards a goal and get out of their way. This way of thinking for some is hard to achieve because they want to be there every step of the way making all the decision but you need to get out of the way trust your people to make the right decisions. If you have developed your people this will not be a problem.

  • Lt. Mark Lyons

    This training module was very interesting. I am reminded that as a leader, there is always work to be done. As a leader, learning should be continuous. The opportunity to learn and improve is always available. I just need to take time to listen to what others have to say and use the feedback constructively. Its not easy to recognize your own mistakes or identify your weakness. But, it is something that you must do in order to truly grow and improve as a leader.

    • Lt. Joseph C. Chevis

      I agree as a supervisor I'm always looking for ways to improve. I try everyday to over come my ego and work on my weaknesses as a supervisor. Over the years this has improve my will to lead my team.

    • Stephanie Hollinghead

      I agree with your statement, that as a leader you should always be willing to learn something new. Law enforcement is forever evolving, and things are constantly changing. As leaders, we need to remain open to those changes, be willing to adapt, and then train our staff to follow.

  • dlavergne@stcharlessheriff.org

    I believe the most impactful thing in the module are the six tenants that were discussed. I particularly like the first tenant, welcoming people aboard before they come. I believe this is probably the most impactful one of all because you are already letting a person know that they are becoming a part of a team. You are showing them that you do care enough to contact them, and they're not just a number.

    • I agree. I really liked the idea of that and I wish we did something similar. Often our orientations or more along the lines of disorientation. We throw so much at them and give them no time to process. I think this is an area where we could slow down and make it more personal.

  • wdanielfield@ibervilleso.com

    After watching the modules what stood out to me was the importance of communication and making it clear that everyone understand the mission or task at had. As a leader we must make sure this communication is passed down from leader to subordinates.

    • Joseph Flavin

      Effective communication seems to be a common thread in the modules thus far. I like how they continue to stress how important it is. This is something that we as leaders need to do and also like you said, pass it down to subordinates. When communication breaks down, there will be other things that break down as well.

  • mmoscona@floodauthority.org

    My take away from this module is that with trust and credible truthful communication an organization can do great things. If we are honest to our people and always tell them the truth no matter how much it hurts they will be truthful with us as leaders. If we show that we care about them and value them as employees and people then they will trust that you have their best interests in heart. The building blocks of trust begins when a new employee starts or when someone transfers onto my watch. One of the first things I tell a new member of my watch is that right or wrong I will have their back and be there beside them. I tell them that if they make a mistake or think they made a mistake to let me know. That way if there is a solution or a way to minimize the damage then we will work towards that goal. I tell them that I can't help if I don't know. I love both of Abrashoff's books. They provide a great insight into successful leadership.

  • The ideas put forth about collaborating and communicating are very exciting. It is a shame we are so low at it in almost everything we do. When it comes to collaborating, how many times have we been brought in but never allowed to be a part of the process? We squash ideas and the people along with it instead of welcoming them and their perspectives. During the Buoy up your people segments, Wellington mentions "oddball" or unique thinkers. These same people are the ones we silence instead of listening to their take on problems. I love how he flat out said we need to embrace them and count yourself lucky if you have a thinker who willing to be different. The communication side of this is also compelling. Telling supervisors what needs to be said instead of what they want to hear can make the difference. Few choose to do it out of fear of retribution, and that isn't very reassuring. People take to many things personally and forget the goal is to better themselves and their agencies.

    • Lt. Marlon J Shuff

      Jeff, reminds me of the quote, "Pity the leader caught between unloving critics and uncritical lovers."
      As leaders, we should avoid unloving critics who only criticize and offer no advice. We should also avoid the uncritical lovers, people who blindly praise whatever you do. Instead, we should seek out "loving critics" and be open to their advice or suggestions. This is how we reach our full potential.

    • Robert Schei

      Appropriate collaboration and effective communication can really make a huge impact in an organization. If we focus on each others strengths and check our ego's at the door anything is possible. It is challenging to do but I know that I have taken a back seat on several aspects of different projects to allow a colleague who was better at this aspect to shine - the ultimate goal is producing the best product.

  • Lt. Richard Paul Oubre

    The word Teamwork is tossed around in law enforcement agencies but unfortunately it doesn't seem to be practiced very often. I have seen and been involved in inter-agency rivalries between different divisions in my department. It also happens between our four Patrol shifts. If we can get past our own ambitions and recognize our departments are one team, our work relations would be much better and our departments would be even more successful.

  • Captain Jessica Jo Troxclair

    This module and the book, “It’s your ship“, bring out a lot of great leadership principles that when successfully utilized can strengthen all teams. I strongly believe welcoming new recruits and making the work environment very inviting starts the process of trust. Then always be available to listen, actively listen and mentor all team members. Then it becomes a domino effect, everyone is a leader when you promote success.

    • This is an excellent concept. We have been trying to get better at this as an agency. When we bring new people on I now sit down with them and explain the organization and expectations. When I first came into Office, we were not doing that as an organization and we started having a few of our new people get into some trouble. Now I feel they have more respect for the position and understand after our discussion that they not only represent themselves but the whole organization. I feel like they now take more ownership for their actions understanding how their actions could affect the whole organization.

      • I am happy to hear/read that other senior leaders are doing this. It excites me because new employees want to know what is expected of them. They should be hearing not only from the CLEO, but then again from their trainers. This is why the onboarding process is vitally important for not just building a successful onboarding and training program, but it will definitely help in retaining staff, as well.

  • Lt. Joseph C. Chevis

    It’s Our Ship

    What I learned from this module is that leaders must learn from their subordinates. Treat everyone with dignity, and respect. Let them know what is expected from them. I always observe my subordinates, their strengths, and weaknesses. I place my subordinates in a work environment where they fit. Giving them the opportunities to excel in the workplace. Just as Walt Disney found people that are capable to do the work, point them to their goals, then step aside and allow their subordinates to acquire them.

    • The point about learning from subordinates is a huge take away from this presentation. Newly promoted leaders do not want to be perceived as not knowing their job. This generally conflicts with the fact that the new leader is put into a situation they are not familiar with. I learned this as a young lieutenant in the Reserves. There is no value for the subordinate to let their superior fail. When the boss thinks they know everything, it generally makes more work for the junior leader and the people they supervise. New leaders should never let this opportunity pass. They will learn the nuts and bolts of a group from the person who knows it best and in doing so they will gain the respect of the people they lead. I learned pretty quickly that I cold be respected for my rank or respected for the leader that I was. I will take the latter every day of the week.

  • Lt. Marlon J Shuff

    In the section of the book titled Spend Time in the Sewage System, Captain Abrashoff discusses the importance of being visible and showing appreciation to everyone on the team. In this section, Captain Abrashoff describes how each day he would climb down to the bottom of the ship to thank one of the crewmates working in the sewage system for the outstanding job he was doing.

    The takeaway here is that each position or assignment within the agency is essential. Each contributes to the overall success of the agency and accomplishing the mission or objectives. While some roles may be supportive, they are equally as important. As leaders, we should never forget this.

  • I really like the comments made by Captain Michael Abrashoff's in the first video in this module. He stated that "It's your ship, if you see something that needs to be done step up to the plate and take care of it". This is so true, much like moral in that everyone has a part to play in making it better, not just the leader. The ship or organization represents all of us and if each of us does not take responsibility to make it better or work on the issues as they come up, we will never move forward.

    I also like what Sonny Melendrez stated when he said "find people who are capable and extremely talented and then point them towards their goals and get out of their way. Again, so true. Once we define the mission, answer the why's we should get out of our staff's way and let them carry out the mission. This will empower them and provide "buy in."

    • Durand Ackman

      I also liked the comments about stepping up and take care of the problem. Far too often things are "not my job" and fall to someone else to pick up. Problem with that is it helps create a terrible culture in the agency. It can lead to people turning against each other and damaged relationships, usually over tasks that only take a few minutes to complete.

  • Mitchell Gahler

    The information provided in this module was very interesting with excellent concepts to leadership. An area that stood out to me was, "When systems do fail, a leader should look in the mirror and ask themselves, what could I have done better in order to get the job done?" Take command and lead by example. Teach values and attitudes and earn trust from your team by setting good examples by doing the right thing.

    • Ryan Manguson

      I agree with you. Self assessment in failure is key. Understanding were you may have failed as leader and not supported the process that failed will help avoid repeating the mistake in the future. It is also a good point about leading by example and trust is earned not given by your rank. Setting good examples by doing right thing at the right time and for the right reason.

  • James Schueller

    The three objectives for the module set clear expectations and the content that followed did a good job of adding the 'Hows' and 'Whys' to achieve them. I found the section on inspiring everyone to be their best the most telling and helpful, although I hope that I am already following most of the examples. I appreciated the words of advice at the end of this particular section: Get over failure quickly, Analyze what went wrong and move on. Too often we can become so obsessed with our mistakes that we dwell on them even when it no longer matters. There is much truth to learning from our mistakes, and some of the best lessons I have learned have come through failing. The key is to not repeat them. And finally, the closing statement of "The quality of our leadership is measured by the example you set". Absolutely and totally correct.

  • Joseph Flavin

    Do the right thing all the time. It's important as a leader to send clear, concise messages. Always be on your game but be genuine. This was a great lesson that reinforced inspiring people to be their best. I think a lot of us can point out "yes men" that we either know or have encountered in our careers. I like how this module pointed out that you can't make good decisions without all of the facts. This module also reinforced the importance of collaboration.

  • Jarvis Mayfield

    I feel an employee is at his/her best when the climate of trust and communication is transparent. If the employer has good facts he can inspire excellence.

  • The book was an excellent read and I give Captain Abrashoff a lot of credit for coming out on a huge public stage and acknowledging that he should have been a more collaborative leader with his peers. I believe he was, and still is, a great leader. His humility is a quality I truly admire. I think there are times we get so caught up in competition, particularly around promotional exams, that we forget it takes collaboration to succeed. Perhaps collaborative efforts should be weighed more heavily in a promotional process. We want to put people in the right spots for the right reasons. I think this book taught many valuable lessons about empowering others to collaborate and encouraging collaboration amongst peers for the betterment of an organization.

    • Chad Blanchette

      I agree. You see it frequently that members of a team lose sight of the big picture and focus on their own accomplishments and goals, while others are struggling. Climbing the proverbial and stepping on others to get to the top.... It was nice to see that he recognized this and hopefully others will learn from his mistake.

  • This module could not be more timely. It ties in perfectly with Therwanger's presentation about empowerment and exceeding possibilities. Several of the tenants from "Welcome Aboard our ship "really hit home for me. The first tenant is the effort Abrashoff put into welcoming new sailors to the Benfold is admirable. This starts the employee development process even before they arrived at the ship. This is a concept I started when I was promoted. I personally call our new officers to welcome them to the department. We talk expectations and the training they can expect their first week. I follow this call up with a welcome letter. The letter identifies their DSN, the name of their supervisor and Field Training Instructor (FTI) and their phone numbers so they can call them if they have a question. I also provide the FTI and the supervisor with the new officers resume and encourage them to call the new officer to introduce themselves before they arrive for their first day of work. The next tenant is the importance of hiring the right people to ensure organizational success. Most departments use the standard interview questions. This is great for finding a police officer. My department changed its second round (Command) interview questions to find the officer that was the best fit for our organization. The second round interview questions now focus on the traits we want our officers to have such as integrity/ accountability, community collaboration/ teamwork, problem solving, diversity/ inclusion, communications skills and customer service based policing. The last tenant is developing a team that supports each other and gets the job done. This should be the goal of every leader. Developing a team that can function at high levels even after the leader leaves (legacy) is the hallmark of a great leader.

    • Maja Donohue

      I'm impressed with your agency's second round of interviews where you focus on determining whether the individual has the traits you're looking for. This is truly where your onboarding begins. When you set high standards right out of the gate it is easier to reinforce them and build on them.

  • Kyle Phillips

    I had not thought about the introductory stage with an organization as being so heavily weighted on developing trust and authenticity, however Abrashoff went out of his way to make this experience better for his new crew members. As an FTO within my agency, I will use this as a tool for success with our new hires. The idea of just doing what is right should be the example we all strive to live by, authenticity and trust should be forthcoming if this is the example we set.

  • Eduardo Palomares

    The principle of "on-boarding" really stood up for me in this lecture. I believe it is imperative for leaders to initiate contact with new hires to set clear expectations of the job but to also welcome them into the institution. Being the new person could be uncomfortable for some people. It is up to the leaders to make the first impression the best possible. When people are welcomed since the beginning, they feel part of the organization, which leads to engagement and motivation. This sets the tone for professionalism and leader engagement as well. I will collaborate with my peers and supervisors to institute an "on-boarding" program for new hires.

    Another aspect of the lecture that made me reflect was collaboration. I had to reflect on my own collaboration approach when I learned that Abrashoff recognized he could have been more collaborative with his peers. This is something we as leaders, sometimes seem to neglect. Peer collaboration is extremely important for success. I also want to point out that collaboration during promotional exams between peers is important to achieve success as a team. A true leader exercises humility and serves others so they achieve success. This book reemphasized my beliefs in peer collaboration for organizational success. Additionally, when Systems fail people, leaders have look at themselves and reevaluate the systems to see what went wrong. It is important for leaders to explore any possible system failures and reflect on what could have been done different for a better outcome.

  • Ryan Manguson

    I really apricated the the statement from this module, "The quality of our leadership is measured by the example you set". That is a very true statement. The example you set, sets the tone for those you lead. From how you handle successes to how you handle failure. Both are equally important in leadership.

    • Marshall Carmouche

      Especially the younger leaders, Ryan. The younger ones watch us closely. We have to be certain to set the right example. A simple rule to follow is "do the right thing".

  • Chad Blanchette

    My favorite part of this module was the way that Captain Abrashoff handled after action reviews. The ground rule of checking egos at the door and a culture established that there is no fear of retribution, as long as the message was brought forward with respect. This type of honest dialogue makes us better and prevents us from repeating mistakes.

    • Christopher Lowrie

      Great points Sgt. Checking egos, no fear of retaliation, and free flowing communication from all levels of the leadership ladder is huge. I have witnessed horror stories where open door policies actually produced retaliation. When others learn what occurred you no longer encourage anything other than what you want to hear.

  • Maja Donohue

    I really appreciate the idea of continuous recruitment. It is not enough to invest time and effort into an employee only to brush them aside once they are fully trained and expect them to know everything. Abrashoff said that a “beginning is only a beginning,” which means we need to invest just as much effort into maintaining our existing staff as we do on recruiting new employees.
    I think Abrashoff hit the nail on the head when he pointed out that “many young people don’t even know what excellence is.” And they’re certainly not going to learn what it is in a classroom or from a book. Mentors and training officers are important because they teach basic skills and in a sense help the new hire establish their “roots”. Although leaders can inspire long-term success and encourage people to grow their own wings, organizational success hinges on our ability to collaborate and learn from one another too.
    I could go on and on because this whole book was full of countless nuggets of wisdom. Needless to say, I’ll be referring back to it in the future.

  • Jennifer Hodgman

    In this module, we were given several best practices by Lt. Col Wellington Scott. One those practices that resonated with me was the idea of changing the way crews look at failure. In our department, this is task that we have undertaken as part of our philosophy of continuous improvement. It starts with getting officers to stop looking at "Monday morning quarterbacking" as something negative and instead changing our mindset to looking at how we can improve and what we can learn from situations.

    • Ryan Lodermeier

      I completely agree LT. We should be striving for continuous improvement and the only way we can get there is to identify areas where we can improve and address our failures. It can be hard but everyone has to have the maturity to accept constructive criticism as well as be self-reflective on areas where they came up short.

  • Ryan Lodermeier

    Chapter 2 of Abrashoff’s book (It’s our ship) was an easy read, I didn’t want to put it down. His portion on “give your people roots and wings to turn them into leadership machines” was very positive. Reading that section I can look back and see how many of my former leaders gave me the power to lead and take initiative. Their actions and this read continue to inspire me to empower my officers to take on new tasks and grow as leaders on our department.

    • Paul Gronholz

      Visionary leaders and leaders who "Share the podium" and give credit to the team first empower everyone to want to be like them. I can think of some leaders in my life that have definitely practiced that. They take responsibility for team failures and give credit rather than take it all. I wish more leaders would follow that example. Good news is that we can lead by example and change culture of what it means to be a leader for our departments.

  • Robert Schei

    I really enjoyed chapter 8 of the book on fly your true colors. Abrashoff talks about how each leader leaves a wake behind them some good some bad and that you must be true to yourself. He discusses how leaders should be involved in each aspect and not above the work of others - setting the example and role modeling should not be avoided but celebrated. He then discusses the importance of failure, we need to make mistakes and learn from them. We should also observe other leaders and learn from their mistakes and achievements constantly trying to learn and develop our own skillsets.

    • Matt Wieland

      Self reflection is important as a leader, but even harder than that is admitting you are wrong and changing how you operate. Willingness to accept criticism with humility is an important trust building tool. We have all worked for leaders that were not open to constructive criticism of something they were involved in, and those leaders don't gain honest feedback from their staff and ultimately do not gain their trust.

  • Durand Ackman

    Part of the book I liked spoke on the importance of the operation. It mentioned making significant changes to the organization/department. The line that really stuck out to me was "...when you decide that the past does not equal the future and you are going to make changes, not everybody is going to make the trip." When I took over the division I am currently in, I made some changes and a long time employee didn't fit as well as they once did. When that employee changed positions, there was some slack that needed to be picked up but we were able to do some things that were never done in the division.

  • Paul Gronholz

    I really enjoy Abrashoff's books. They are an easy read for a simple guy like me. What I especially like is his integration of sports figures into the books. You can't go wrong when your quote John Wooden in your book. Also Bill Walsh of the 49ers. I especially liked the story of Bruce Collie and a mistake he made during a football game. Walsh's response to Collie and his team was a classic quote for motivation and resilience. "We all know what Bruce did on that play, but I want you to see what he did on the next one." We can't be defined by our mistakes, we need to be evaluated with how we react to them. As a department, RPD is embarking on several new processes within the department. One of these processes is more frequent tactical debriefs. When first hearing about these debriefs some in the organization are reluctant to understand that sometimes we can do things better. All's well that end's well cannot be our culture in law enforcement. We need to learn from our mistakes and develop better tactics to keep Officers and citizens safe. It's my job to implement these new processes with tact and establish an environment where Officers aren't ashamed of acknowledging they could have done things differently and invite feedback.

    • Andy Opperman

      Walsh's treatment of Collie after his mistake shows true leadership. Often, we agonize over our mistakes or our leaders focus on why we made that mistake. I think for most officers they know if they make a mistake it won't be their last, but if they know they have a leader that will focus on, "ok, you made a mistake, so what are you going to do to fix it and bounce back, " the officer would stay motivated, instead of living in fear of getting in trouble. I believe the fear factor really reduces productivity.

  • Christopher Lowrie

    I enjoy Abrashoff's style of leadership. It is no wonder why he is viewed as being successful. I felt the lesson of welcoming people aboard our ship very meaningful. The longer I have been in law enforcement the more I become disconnected with just how new recruits might feel out of their comfort zone. I try to be welcoming to all new employees of the police department. If people feel welcomed then it is one less thing to worry about and they can focus on learning their new role.

    • Disconnection happens, but we don't have to let it. Empathy is a big player here too. Remember what it was like.....

      We can do better and these lessons are good to hear about.

  • Samantha Reps

    Several amazing things taken out of this lesson. I enjoyed making the efforts to introducing yourself to new staff as soon as possible. This gives you the chance to set expectations and to get to know them. Far too often we don't take the opportunity to do this. Treating new staff like you would want your family to be treated is always a great takeaway.
    Continuous recruiting was a great reminder of why we need to keep staff engaged with the organization and keep the moral up.
    The video from Jeff Canter made the the comment about at the heart of decision makings is the three "R" reflect, respond and revise. Three simple tasks in making better decisions.

      • Major Willie Stewart

        William, I truly agree with it. We always wait for the new employee's to mess up before we engage with them. I believe if we start off engaging with them, it will bring morale up tremendously.

    • Jacqueline Dahms

      I think introducing yourself early to new employees is crucial in starting that relationship. I started doing this a year ago in my new position by calling them the day they get their letter to start. They are always super pumped. We meet before they start to order their uniforms and I give them their training schedule . It makes that first day so much more comfortable for them and starts building that relationship. Before this they were just getting a phone call and told where to go and when to show up. That wasn't very welcoming and I remember my first day and it was really intimidating.

      • Kelly Lee

        Totally agree with your assessment of introducing yourself to new employees being crucial. At my old employer I worked there for three years before meeting everyone who worked the night shift. I left like I was (and literally was) missing half the department. I had no idea what they did, who they were or if they even new I existed as their new partner. I am now assigned to the our training division and I will take your idea/lead to start calling people on the day the receive their job offer welcoming them to the department from someone other than administration.

      • Never forget where we came from. I too remember the intimidation of the first day or more so the lead up to the first day. How nice to reach out purposefully and welcome them and give them a sense of belonging upfront. We have to change the way we have done things in these trying times. It's obviously getting harder and harder to find quality candidates, the little things can build a good reputation for us.

  • Matt Wieland

    I think the best takeaway from this module is the list of characteristics of a great leader: they are caring, brave, honest, humble, authentic, trusting, a straight shooter, have great skills, and keep the necessary distance. I think working on all of these skills will allow a leader to lead by example and most importantly generate the next generation of leaders. The concept of "do the right thing" is important for leaders. If they always model this behavior they will lead by example and generate trust in their followers. By telling their followers to "do the right thing", the leader is basically telling people that they have faith in their ability to do just that, and that they trust they know exactly what is needed in every situation.

    • Timothy Sandlin

      I agree. I have always felt if in doubt the rule of thumb is just do the right thing. Take the high ground of the battlefield. And from there you can work through most situations.

  • Engaging and empowering your people early on was an interesting concept. Welcoming them to the organization and explaining what is expected of them before their first day seems like such a simple concept however; very little utilized in todays Law Enforcement agencies.

  • Major Willie Stewart

    This video was refreshing to watch. The topic that stood out most to me was about the 3 R's. Reflect, respond, and revise. We all can say that in decision making, we do not do all of these. Revise is surely one that I will make sure my agency is doing, because we skip that step.

  • Jacqueline Dahms

    "The true quality of leadership is measured by the example they set." Isn't that the truth. "Set the example so they have something to emulate." YES!!! I liked this lesson because it comes back to building trust with your people and working on it constantly. Such great stuff, I'm inspired!

  • Kelly Lee

    Lots to learn from this module and the biggest take away for me is the concept Abrashoff has about conducting after action reviews. 1) Check your ego at the door 2) No retribution for what is said during the meeting and 3) The least senior person or with lowest rank could respectfully challenge the Captain. A lot to be said and thought about with this concept. It shows that even being the "top dog" we are willing to look at ourselves for fault or ways to improve. We may think we always have the right answers but that is not always the case. It empowers the entire crew when they feel they have had a part in the success or have a say and someone listening to them when things go wrong. Another thought I enjoyed of Abrashoff's was him saying if those questioning him were right that he would change but if they were wrong it was probably because they did not understand the entire situation or have the whole story and rather than getting down on them about it, he would seize the opportunity to use it as a teaching moment. Too often administration is quick to react in a negative manner and fail to use that moment to teach or inspire.

    • Checking egos is a must and probably one of the hardest things to do. Colin Powell says this in his 13 rules, "avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it." In other words, it's ok to disagree and challenge things but we have to be able to let go when the final decision doesn't go our way.

      Good ideas can and do come from all angles, we have to look and listen though.

  • Andy Opperman

    I loved Captain Abrashoff's idea of making sure the new people on the ship felt welcome. Treating people right when they are hired or start a new job position is extremely important. I think when I started there was an old school mentality that you were better seen and not heard as the new person. You needed to wait your turn to have a voice. While I do feel it’s important that new people learn from experience, they should be welcomed. We all remember our first day and I think many of us were nervous enough as it was. The last thing we were looking to do was upset a veteran officer or supervisor. Abrashoff's care package to the new sailors is also a nice touch. It's definitely something I think our department can do for people we know we are about to hire. I also think while welcoming the new hires it is one of the best times to clarify expectations with the new officer/s. As discussed in the module you need to make sure your people understand the mission of the department and let them know where we are going in the short term and long term. Setting this standard day one is important.

    • First impressions are so crucial in relationships. It should be any different with newly hired employees. That new employee is your best recruiting asset. Guaranteed that he talks with one of his/her old buddies in his 1st week at a new agency. As an agency, what would you want him to say?

  • Good book, if not better than his first.

    The part I took most to heart was how to welcome people before they even arrive. In this era of recruitment issues facing law enforcement, we have to find unique ways to make people want to come work for us and that could start at the application or interview process. As Captain Abrashoff writes, sending out a letter so they know what to expect is a great tool. It does take some of the guesswork out of the process. For instance, what is our FTO program like? What are our demographics or training programs like? This could go a long way to make some feel welcome before day 1. It's a win-win.

    I also like how everyone was encouraged to respectfully challenge the status quo. That takes a big person to allow a young officer to ask the tough questions. In my experience it is healthy. The "way we've always done it" doesn't bode well with me. Is there a better way to skin the cat? Let's do it!

    • Sgt. Shawn Wilson

      "the way we have always done it" the quickest way to eliminate creative, initiative-based thought. Leaders who are insecure in their own knowledge and foundation I have found through my experiences are the quickest to denigrate other methods of completing tasks. Respectfully asking tough questions allowing all to have say will lead to greater unit cohesion and in the end organizational success.

    • Gregory Hutchins

      Failing to think about our journey in the hiring process and the first few days in the organization sets a terrible tone for the new hires, especially the newer generations in the workforce. For a group of people who traditionally stay for 3-4 years, setting the tone that they are not valued or treasured only supports their dissatisfaction with the organization. Embracing them from the beginning, in a fashion similar to what the Benfold experienced, may drive these employees to want to stay, to feel as though they are part of a family that purpose and meaning. Unfortunately, those of us in the senior positions, the positions that can make the change, use things like a lack of time as an excuse not to do these simple things. Sadly, how much time would we gain if we stopped the revolving door of new hires?

    • Burt Hazeltine

      This is definitely true. My department has been making a big recruiting push recently. The officers when they report to training on day 1 have no idea what to expect. I think it would make a huge difference if we reached out to them earlier in the process and make them feel more welcome and included. We could even answer some of the more frequent questions before they even start.

  • Brad Strouf

    I really enjoyed and appreciated how Abrashoff's two books complimented each other. Some of the material in the second book mirrored the first almost perfectly, but generally I found that the points that were repeated or emphasized were important enough to merit the emphasis. Promoting collaborative leadership and creating a foundation for a strong team are a continual work in progress that must be embraced by strong leaders.

  • I think it was all summed up by "Do the right thing." If you treat other like you would want to be treated, or how you would want a family member to be treated, you can't go wrong. Teamwork and collaboration makes greater sense than to have unnecessary competition or undermining. I think there should still be competitive drive, but set aside the "dumb competition." Most importantly, build trust. Work at maintaining trust and be genuine.. authentic. Again, just do the right thing.

    • Nicole Oakes

      I agree with this way of thinking. It is so important to treat others the way we would want to be treated. This begins to build the feelings of trust and leads to team work.

  • Sgt. Shawn Wilson

    Abrashoff continues breaking down the "how “to be a great leader. We have probably been exposed to some toxic legacies that were left behind in our agencies that have the opportunity to continue. It is up to us as leaders to correct these toxic legacies, empowering our people to take control of their destiny within the parameters that are set for them. Allowing our people to take ownership of their destiny amplifies creative, initiative based thought leading to greater organizational success as supported by Abrashoff’s book.

  • Nicole Oakes

    During this section of training we continue to explore the concepts necessary on how to be a good leader. I believe it is interesting and not very often looked at; the importance of making contact before someone actually joins the team. How important recruiting is to the organization and in particular how recruiting the right people plays a huge role in creating the environment that is necessary for success.

  • My big take away was the story about coach Bill Walsh dealing w/ a lineman that jumped offsides. He looked at failure from a different perspective. Coach Walsh made a culture where correcting and learning from mistakes is more important than punishing mistakes.

    To often times, agencies live the motto: "to err is human, to forgive is not department policy".

    • Ret. Gen. Colin Powell said it very well. Always try and get over failure quickly and learn from it.
      I believe that if you have people that are not willing to fail, they will not be willing to try....
      I know as a leader I don't have all of the answers to questions that are sometimes asked. But it is my responsibility to find the answer and relay it to my staff.
      If I was scared to fail, I wouldn't be willing to try......

  • I enjoyed the part in this lesson about hiring and recruitment. I think that hiring the right people is obviously important, however in my role I rarely have much say in who is chosen. Sometimes is gets frustrating if we have a high turnover rate with employees because it feels like I am always training someone and starting over. But, I have to remember that everyone needs to be treated fairly regardless of my frustration. Keeping that open mindset often allows me to learn from the trainees as well versus always having them learning from me. Everyone has new ideas and outlooks on things but people with more experience or higher rank often come off as they don't want to hear them. I try to avoid doing that and welcome those ideas. Collaboration and teamwork is very important in any work place, but especially important in law enforcement/corrections careers.

    • Ronald Smith

      Kari
      Our turnover rate every year is at a minimum of 20 percent, in a department of just under 100 certified that is a lot of recruiting. The exit intervals are eight to ten after hire date before one year, two to four around three years, one or two between five and 12 years, and one to three retirements per year. So I get the frustration. These new officers are like the new sailors I saw coming aboard ship for the first time, the look in their eyes tells me their age, or whether or not they have been part of Uncle Sam's military. I understand the importance of the meet and greet but no matter what we do some people feel they are misunderstood or their expectations were not met when they walked into the building. Maybe we should try sending a welcome package and give them a heads up on what to expect. The first year in law enforcement is a steep learning curve.

  • The heritage statement - We don't know where we are going if we don't know where we come from.
    This is very true and would help with ownership in the future of our agency. Having veteran officer/deputies with their experience would only help with the newer staff, and making sure that the agency would continue to grow in the right direction in the future.

    • Sergeant Michael Prachel

      Building that lasting legacy is crucial for leaders to make sure the agency continues to move in a positive direction. I agree that the veteran officers need to take every opportunity to lead by example. As veteran leaders, we also need to take every opportunity to learn from those we are assigned to lead and manage. This will encourage those newcomers to take pride in their work and build self-esteem, ultimately building that lasting legacy after we are gone.

  • Timothy Sandlin

    I really like the part of this lecture on make telling the truth your choice. It is incredibly important to have facts. Not information skewed or spun a certain way, but cold hard facts. These cold hard facts are what is needed to better understand the situation and produces more successful decisions. We have to create the atmosphere where just providing facts is the norm. Don't "church" it up or sugar coat or spin to make things look better. Also the part on collaboration. I have too often seen scenarios unfold where employees spent so much energy competing against each other it drains everyone and creates failure. We have to focus on competition to make ourselves better everyday and smarter collaboration as a team to get things done.

    • Matthew Menard

      It also seems people are afraid to have the "hard talk". I have found as a supervisor if you put off addressing issues they only get worse. Very seldom do you feel worse about a situation after you address it - most people appreciate your candor and improve because of it.

  • Gregory Hutchins

    In the development of the team for the Benfold, using the art of empowering to get the most of the crew within a dysfunctional organization is remarkable considering the challenges faced. One thing that Abrashoff touched on but never really expounded on was on letting go of his stars. While he loaned personnel out to show a system or process the Benfold championed, seldom did he let go of his stars until their tenure was complete.

    Understanding the Navy, or any military unit, has constraints on this topic, but there is value in this topic for corporations or this profession. Too often, leadership, especially in this profession, recognizes an individual as a top performer, which is incredibly valuable to the group. A result of this is the leadership's belief that the individual cannot leave, try something else, as they are invaluable to current operations. Issue confronting an organization is when the individual becomes disenfranchised or recognizes they are carrying slackers or problem children? Leaders must continually push their stars to broaden their horizons, taking positions that may be uncomfortable. Through this action, those poor performers will not have the opportunity to ride that individual's coattails, and they will either raise their game or leave.

  • Ronald Smith

    The book reminded me of things I have seen throughout my adult life. I have been that navy Chief Petty Officer with young officers in my charge. I have been asked the question of how long I knew something was not working or when it got broken. I see the point of honesty versus capability. The sonar officer probably could have figured out the issue with the equipment if given the time, but he did not understand the bigger picture and cost the entire ship a chance to train with the fleet. No ill intentions just a junior officer in need of enlightenment. I personally have had the conversation about holding on to information too long before passing it up the chain of command, from both sides of the conversation. In our department water is not an issue but we do say things like stay in your lane. Keeping the task in mind and remain within policy and use discretion wisely is equivalent to keeping it between the buoys. Coaching our best officers to be better than they think they can be is pushing people to improve themself and open opportunities beyond their dreams. People who are in this profession just to get a paycheck and do the minimum for it will either get on board with being great or decide it is too much work and quit.

  • Sergeant Michael Prachel

    One of the topics discussed in the book and module that hit home for me was “building the legacy.” I am fortunate enough to be a part of a department where building a “legacy” is a priority with great upper management leaders. From early on in my career, there has been a precedence in cultivating officers to grow and develop, preparing them for their future. Whether it’s planting those “leadership seeds” in small ways, such as allowing them to become instructors in certain topics, or taking on a responsibility of maintaining certain equipment, it allows the subject to have responsibility. This task will allow the individual to be a part of the team and allow them to provide input in certain areas. Ultimately, this will progress into the development of new leaders. We need to realize that we will only be around for so long, and if we don’t have a plan in place to continue building a strong legacy, we are not helping the team move forward.

  • Matthew Menard

    The team mentality is one we should all strive for. If our organizations are not cohesive and work together, we are destine to fail. This concept was given credence through this module and the concepts in Abrashoff's message. I think one of the most important parts of creating that team atmosphere is making sure all those joining our organizations know the expectations of them from the beginning and working to bring them into the fold from the day they are hired; similar to the way Abrashoff would send letters to all his new crew members before they even arrived. All to often the old school mentality of giving "the boot" a hard time can be present in law enforcement. We should strive to include all employees as part of the team no matter how much experience or time on the job they have.

    • Darryl Richardson

      Matthew, I agree that teamwork is something that we all need to strive for and it is one of the toughest things to overcome. I work in the Correctional facility and we have 4 shifts that should work together but they don’t. Each shift has different personalities, which can cause issues. Some shifts feel like they do not need to share information that they receive because it gives them an advantage over the other shift. All that does is effect the goal of teamwork.

  • Marshall Carmouche

    This is a very good module, in my humble opinion. True quality of leadership is measured by the example one sets. This is something leaders should remind themselves of everyday. Subordinates, especially young subordinates. watch and observe us intently as leaders. The module touched on the basis that great leaders define excellence. I would also think that great leaders expect and demand excellence. We will have failures, but failures are not what defines us as leaders. Failures help teach us as leaders.

    • Thomas Martin

      Those are some good points to remember Marshall. When I was promoted to a mid-level supervision, I had a Sheriff tell me “Don’t hold people to your standards, hold them to mine.” This Sheriff was top notch and always held himself to the highest standards. He too was a great leader and always demanded excellence. I honored his demands not just because he signed my pay check every month, but because he carried himself with excellence setting the tone for all of us.

      • Scott Crawford

        Sounds like a good man,. He set the tone for what he expected from you, looks as if his words made a lasting impression. It`s amazing what a few words can motivate us to do.

    • Eric Sathers

      I completely agree. As leaders, we are role models for young officers. It's pretty tough for us to demonstrate bad behavior and then try and tell our subordinates they should do what we say not as we do. I remember when starting out as a young officer that I definitely emulated those I considered leaders, whether they were supervisors or just senior officers.

    • Kenneth Davis

      Marshall- So true. The younger officers in our department watch us intently to see how we handle everything from a rift in a Division to an active shooter situation. One of the most rewarding experiences in my Department has been the latitude to be able to get out and work with my folks. It goes a long way in establishing trust and credibility.

      Best and stay safe-

      Ken

  • Travis Linskens

    This lesson reiterates an important message which is to have clear and redundant communication to ensure a plan can be executed with the intended outcome. If a message is distributed with misinformation or is miscommunicated, it dramatically reduces our chance of success.
    Another take away is the importance of collaborating and working together, which significantly increases the opportunity to succeed.
    In law enforcement, having clear and honest communication and willing to set differences aside to work together to find the best solution is imperative to have a successful department.

  • Thomas Martin

    The segment on foul weather does not respect rank reminded me of times in my past. Trust is a better motivator than the fear of discipline. I cannot remember all of the examples of this over my career. We have all had the leader that was honest at all times and never sugar coated the truth (even when things didn’t look good for the home team). I appreciated those men and would have done anything for them. When they picked up a shovel, I immediately jumped in the muck with them. When they came in the door with heavy body armor I went out and got mine without asking any questions. They led using truth and earned my trust. Superiors that demanded that things better improve or else, typically ended up issuing me a disciplinary report and lost all of my respect afterwards.

  • Paul Brignac III

    This module made several good points, but one of the more simple ones stood out to me. Recognizing that praise is a motivator may often be taken for granted, or at least not valued as highly as it should be. As leaders, we need to realize that praise can come in many forms. Incentives such as an increase in pay, or additional vacation are obvious. However, the spoken word can often serve as a catalyst that prompts individuals to try hard more than incentives. In my opinion, the more a leader is respected, the more valuable their praise becomes.

  • Eric Sathers

    I really liked the section covering unity building. One of the biggest challenges I have had leading my team is getting everyone to work together. In law enforcement, we often hire people who are independent workers and can make decisions on their own. It can become challenging to bring these same people together when the mission requires it. I also see a lot of backstabbing taking place and as the lecture put it "dumb competition." This probably has a lot to due to everyone being type-A personalities. I think that if a leader can find a way to unify their teams, they can definitely become much stronger which will ultimately empower everyone.

    • Sgt. Samantha Koscher

      Great point Eric. I have also found it difficult to work on the unity issue. I've seen this play out as a "shift culture" issue. I think as leaders we need to remind our people of our mission and reinforce the fact we all have a common goals, regardless of rank, role, or years of service. Identify the commonalities among team members and build on those.

    • Kaiana Knight

      I agree with you Eric. At times we are forced to put on a united front, when in all actuality no unity is present. I think that we must work harder on building unity with our teams, and within our organizations.

  • Steve Mahoney

    The part of the is module that I liked was giving out praise. Too many times as leaders we forget that simple words like "good Job", "nice work", "thank you" have more meaning to an employee than anything else. We get caught of on getting the job done and moving on instead of recognizing those who put in the work to obtain the objective. I know I really appreciate it when my boss gives meaningful praise to me. It lifts me up and makes me want to work that much harder to succeed

    • Robert Vinson

      Agreed. I think many, myself included, will work harder for positive reinforcement. I'd like to do a better job providing praise from the simple "good job" to more formal methods such as letters of commendation or presentations of awards.

    • Zach Roberts

      Steve,
      I could not agree more. I have found myself many times neglecting to understand the importance of giving praise as a leader. The simple words such as nice job or great work go along way with those you lead. As a leader, it sometimes gets tough to recognize these things as much is happening but remembering the importance of doing so needs to become a priority.

    • Bradley Treuil

      Being that I am only recently promoted to a position of supervision I am fast to give praise to the guys I lead. I remember where I came from and understand the benefits to a small gesture like this can have. I have, and I am certain that many of us have worked for a boss or supervisor that would not do these things and how much of a morale killer it was.

      • Jerrod Sheffield

        Bradley,
        I can relate to the art of giving praise where it is due. I have worked for supervisors that could care less what you accomplished during a shift. They are more concerned that you don’t make a traffic stop or get a late call that will keep them from getting off on time and when it happens, they resent you for it. They don’t see the drive that you have to succeed, they just see you shaking the bushes and causing them more headache. The need for praise is often taken for granite but does build the moral of the group.

  • Scott Crawford

    One thing I took away from this lecture was “Learn from the people you lead.” I`ve worked with some leaders that sit behind their desks and never get on the floor to know the employees. How can we learn to trust them if we don`t know who they truly are? My captain now attended a session of this Command College- He makes it a point to get out, be seen and listen. A great lesson I`ve learned from him as well.

    • Buck Wilkins

      Scott, I too have seen the same thing with some that have done same thing, but then i know some have taken this course and they have never changed.

  • Sgt. Samantha Koscher

    I enjoyed the information on making sure your new crew feel welcomed when they first arrive. It is important to send a clear message of what behaviors are acceptable in the organization and to make them feel like they are a valuable part of the team from day 1. I also liked the information on passing on the agencies heritage and being able to clearly define the current mission. It is important to understand where we have come from, but also important to know what we are doing to get where we want to be as a team. Abrashoff does a great job of explaining how leadership is a collaborative effort that requires the trust and unity among his crew.

  • Robert Vinson

    One of the topics discussed that stood out to me was the balance between building meaningful relationships with employees and becoming "too chummy." This can be especially challenging at a smaller department, but I think Abrashoff did a good job pointing out the perils of fraternization. He also ensures to articulate that the pendulum should not swing too far in the other direction - leaders should not be aloof and unapproachable to their people.

  • Zach Roberts

    One of the biggest things I took away from this module was when they mentioned the crew on Captain Abrashoff's new ship who previously felt like they were constantly just trying to help the former captain get promoted and not much of a team. This taught me the importance of making sure your team feels like they are actually part of a "team" and not just supporting one person. It also taught me the importance of making sure you are actually leading. Many can say they are a leader but their actions need to in fact prove that.

    • Kenneth Davis

      Zachary- I can certainly relate to your post here. When I arrived at my current department, I am sure that the members were less than thrilled to get an outsider with new ideas on how to hold folks accountable. It was a tense time for me as well as my family. Our department had gotten way off of the rails after years of "good ol' boy" rule...and it showed...and it was ugly. We have spent the last three years rehabilitating officers, revamping policy and trying to create a flagship agency for our citizens. At the end of the day, there are still those who question my motives as well as my Chief's intentions. We have learned to live with those who still question us because we are too busy trying to make a difference for those who are embracing the vision of where the department is headed. There are far fewer naysayers since the transition took place...many of those who questioned our methods and vision have hopped in, collaborated with us and even brought about driven change in their own right, which has been welcome. Although it has been challenging, it has likely been, for me, the most rewarding time spent in a 34 year career. The majority of our time in the last three years has been spent developing leaders in the department that see the positives and are willing to address and find solutions for the negatives. At the end of the day, that's where I want us to be. Professional, progressive and compassionate.

      Best-

      Ken

  • Kenneth Davis

    It’s our ship, collaboration.

    Focusing on collaboration, as opposed to competition really stands out in the module. To support and emphasize collaborative work strengthens our teams. Further, it opens the door for accountability as team members see the importance of commitment. Collaboration allows our teams to work on a common set of goals, a vision, while using our guiding principles, our values (Scott, 2021). This allows for equitable contribution.

    In essence, such prepares our folks for the development of the team environment while also building leaders. It is developmental in its foundation, which is key. What is principal in this approach is that individual development takes place at a macro as opposed to a micro level. This allows the focus to still be on the team, but also allows the development of team members holistically.

    References

    Scott, W. (2021). It’s our ship. Module #4, area #2. National Command and Staff College.

    • I agree. There seems to be a lot of people looking to compete against each other in a negative fashion these days. It's not a matter of doing your best and hoping for the best, its become handicapping the rest. When there is no need for competition, why induce that drama when its simply unnecessary. The use of collaboration is a much better use of resources and ones energy.

  • I very much liked the part on setting your people up to succeed. I think this goes right to the heart of law enforcement and how we should be training people from the minute they walk in the door. All of our new officers come in from different walks of life with different experiences and work histories. For some, they have never gotten a paycheck before while for others it’s only the latest of many jobs they have held. This means if you exclude all the police training they have, they're at very different places in life experience. The ability to adapt to these different abilities is something that I think a good field training program and then continued training as an officer must do.

    • Derek Champagne

      I agree that we should be setting up our people to succeed. It seems that leaders often fear that if they set their people up to be successful they will somehow be replaced by those same people. I think this is a huge negative in law enforcement. I also liked how he told all of his leaders that they would be scored on how well they worked together, which delivered a better result for the mission.

  • Bradley Treuil

    It was mentioned to take every opportunity to learn from the ones that you lead. I am not above this. I am always looking to learn a new way of doing something and I like to be contacted by the younger guys and hear, why cant we do it this way. If it works out for their idea then I make sure they get the praise for it. If it something that cant be changed I try my hardest to give them a reason as to why it can't be changed, other than because that's how its always been done. I think this is what Abrashoff did on his ship, by allowing his sailors to come up with new or different ways for just about everything.

    • Brian Smith

      Bradley,
      I agree whole-heartedly with you! One of my favorite roles was an FTO. I realized quickly that many new officers had a lot of great, new, and relevant information. Either they were taught updated tactics in Academy or they came from another agency that did things really well. Listening to those we lead is so valuable in developing their leadership and expanding our own knowledge!

      • Chris Crawford

        I also agree. Many of my most memorable moments were as an FTO. I ceased every chance to encourage new officers to think outside the box and praised them when it resulted in a positive outcome. And also for those not so positive I tried to impress upon them to lean from their mistakes and continue on with that frame of mind.

  • Kaiana Knight

    My biggest take away from this lesson was to give our praise to your people. Too often leaders forget to recognize their people for their hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. I think that people who feel appreciated will go above and beyond while on their job. Leaders need to give recognition to their works publicly and they need to show them that they are valued. People become more motivated and productive when you praise them. I constantly give out praise when it's due in my department and I think that it motivates others to do better so they could get the praise.

  • Buck Wilkins

    The Book it's Our Ship showed that if you are only out to make your team better then you are being selfish. when in all reality we should strive to make the whole department look good then we have accomplished something great. Once your team is in tip top shape work with the other leaders and help them make their teams as good as yours.

  • Brian Smith

    Jeff Canter's "The three R's of decision making" was to the point. We should reflect, respond, and revise. In the agencies I have worked at, I feel this is well done in regards to debriefing major calls/events. I have learned from early in my career to make debriefing an open and honest part of learning. What went well? What went bad? How do we improve? These sessions were a time to be open and brutally honest. As a SWAT team leader, sometimes it was tough to hear the feedback as I knew I was responsible. Yet, the information was always used in a manner to improve. We cannot learn, grow, or make our department's better if we are not willing to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly - and then use that information to make improvements.

    • Curtis Summerlin

      I agree 100 % with what you are saying. In my agency we make a point to debrief not just major events but strive to gather after each call when we feel its worth talking about to see what could be better. Sometimes feelings get hurt but we learn from those instances as well.

  • Chris Crawford

    This module brought me back many years ago when I was an FTO. I remember often disliking the often robotic and stiffness new officers would bring. Although I certainly understood their anxiety, I took every responsible opportunity to encourage them to think outside the box and praised them when it resulted in a positive outcome. And if the outcome wasn't so positive, encouraged them to learn from it and keep moving in the direction of open mindedness.

  • Derek Champagne

    You have to motivate your officers to get the job done, which should be done through trust. The type of supervisor that uses coercion or fear may very well get the job done, but his officers will be miserable. I have recently worked for a Commander who came into a new department that he had no experience in and attempted to rule with an iron fist. This Commander would belittle, threaten, and turn officers against each other. The Commander thought this was the department's vision but soon learned he was the most hated person in the department, and since he has been removed from that position, he still is the most hated. People don't forget how they are treated, and we should remember that someday that may go full circle and this Commander made soon work for you.

    • Jay Callaghan

      Agreed Derek. Seems like every agency has a commander as the one you described. I worked for a mid size agency for 22 years and ours was a wolf in sheep's clothing until he started getting promoted. He disrespected everyone beneath him to rise through the ranks. Adm was told routinely how toxic he was; but no one listened until he started undermining his own in-group. He was "outed" and forced to retire. Sad thing is he didnt have to be that way. He was a very capable guy; just very insecure.

      Jay Callaghan
      Session #013

  • Jay Callaghan

    I am going into my 25th year of law enforcement. I retired in 2018, worked in the private sector as a security manager for 2 1/2 years; and recently returned to law enforcement as a bureau commander. Collaboration, building trust, building relationships (CBR) are invaluable for long term success. I enjoyed my time in the private sector. It was a new position and I spent over a year solely focusing on CBR; and it paid off, as I was able to make headway with staff who I had no previous interactions.

    • Kevin Balser

      Jay - great point. Building trust is paramount to long term success. If you trust them, then they will trust you.

  • Brent Olson

    This lesson had many lessons contained within, however I think the one that struck me the most was buoy up your people. Abrashoff talked about how everyone involved in the organization has to be the best they can possibly be for the whole to be successful. He referred to this as "excellence." A buoy is a device designed to set expectations for those (ships) in the area. If a buoy sinks, it can't perform it's task. I have many times heard the phrase "excellence in policing" but maybe haven't put a lot of thought into what that actually means. How do we define and exemplify excellence? Abrashoff said excellence is defined by a leader who then inspires followers to exceed it by creating a culture that inspires creativity. As leadership, we can strive for excellence by showing people their value to the organization, properly training people to be highly skilled, and providing successful role models for new employees to emulate.

  • Burt Hazeltine

    Scott said in the module, "many younger people don't even understand what excellence is, let alone what it looks like, feels like, or smells like." This is a fact that we are seeing in a lot of our newer hires. We need to find what motivates and excites these officers so we can develop them into leaders. We need everyone to think and act as a leader. We need to encourage these new officers to grasp the MAGNUS mindset and seek greatness in everything they do.

    I also notice that modules are really connected together. In the section "Foul weather does not respect rank" Scot talks about how individuals will be more likely to do something if they know the why.

    • Ronald Springer

      Burt,
      I definitely agree with you there. As I complete each module they truly build on each other and each essay helps to reinforce the lessons. I can see how the models of leadership included in the module and the book help leaders to reach and connect with their team.

  • Ronald Springer

    This module helped to reinforce and broaden the way I want to connect with my team members. In the beginning when I was first promoted to running a shift I found it was hard to connect with some of our new hires and develop them as quickly as I would like. I know I have made jokes and often refer to my team members as my kids because it feels like I am still raising them and teaching them about the “real world.” I have had to explain life lessons about everything from the importance of hygiene, to explaining car insurance, to why it is important to be on time. But this is what has brought me the most out of each one of my team members. As they grow into adulthood while working for me I get to see what is important and what motivates them. Once I know that, it is easier to connect and they produce more and better results. Then we work as a team and family where we help each other out and do our best to push each other for excellence. We each support the person next to us because we have learned that together we can do more than separately. If one of us has a bad day it can bring all of us down. So we work together to ensure that even when adversity does come we overcome it together. As one of my former kids use to say “Teamwork makes the dream work.”

    Abrashoff, M. (2008). It’s our ship. New York, NY: Grand Central Publishing.
    Scott, W. (2017). It’s our ship. Module 3, Weeks 3 & 4. National Command and Staff College.

  • Kevin Balser

    We have to be able to check our egos at the door in order to be effective leaders. We have to be able to foster an environment in which all members of our teams no matter the rank or position can speak up if there foresee a potential problem. There will be no retribution for challenging even the highest ranking officer in the room. This is what occurred in the first case study from Learning Area #1. The sergeant challenged the captain and clearly the sergeants career suffered from that moment forward. The mindset should be that we are all in this together and need one another to be effective at our jobs.

  • Darryl Richardson

    I enjoyed this module and the book. As supervisors it is important to let out subordinates know what we expect of them and what they can expect from us. As leaders, we also need to learn from our subordinates. Another thing that stood out was the 3 R’s. Reflect, Respond, and Revise. By using these 3 simple tasks we can improve our decision making.

    • Andrew Peyton

      I agree Darry. One of the biggest takeaways for me was the short presentation that included the 3 R's. remembering to take the time to Reflect, Respond and Revise, will improve our decision-making. As stated, some decisions must be made quickly but there can always be time to reflect. I feel the biggest "R" most of us forget is to reflect after. By doing so, we can learn from what we did and be better prepared for next time.

    • I agree Darryl, it is important to let our subordinates know what we expect of them. We can't assume they know and get upset; when something isn't done as expected. But we also must see things through their eyes and understand. Situations and circumstances change as well as generations. As time passes by, evolution takes place. We have to be able to adapt. Nothing is worst than a leader trying to lead from behind a desk; especially when they have no idea of what is going on.

  • Andrew Peyton

    One of the concepts presented which I enjoyed most is Abrashoff's concept of welcoming new team members before they arrive. As a supervisor, I always try to meet with new members of the team to set the standards. I make sure they understand what is expected of them by the agency and what I expect of them as their new supervisors. In addition to setting the standards, I ensure them I am always open to hearing suggestions and ideas moving forward. Many people come in with ideas and concepts that may allow us to work more effectively.

    • Jose Alvarenga

      I am definitely on board with you on this. I try to do the same with every new person that comes to the team. I also do the same with experienced deputies who are transferred to our shift. I keep this meeting positive and tell them my expectations.

  • The module highlights many great things for law enforcement leaders. Not only in our professional career, but as we strive to be the best person we can in our personal life. Treating people with dignity and respect, regardless of their rank, classification, or time on the job is important. We often want to blame the individual for a failing; rather than looking at the process or system that failed. We have to start looking at things through the eyes of the individuals we lead. It will help us better understand what is going on. We have to remember, leadership styles / ways change; as generations do.

    At some point the way we communicate / lead certain generations may differ from another. We as leaders must have the ability to adapt to the change.

    • David Mascaro

      I agree with your thoughts on this Kevin. Applying a little empathy while viewing this job through the eyes of our younger officers could go a long way and pay dividends in the end. Law enforcement as they are learning it is much different than when I started a couple of decades ago.

  • Jose Alvarenga

    I can see how collaboration is better than the competition. However, I didn't always think this way. I always thought that being competitive was a better way to get your team motivated. After all, from a young age playing sports, was the thing to do. But, thinking now about corroboration, I can see how lifting others and helping to benefit everyone can be more beneficial for all. Building unity for success beats the possibility of division among an organization.

    • Chris Fontenot

      Jose, I too thought the same way until Col Scott explained it. I can see now how it may benefit a units comradery but cause conflict for the organization as a whole. Like it was said, Showing the magic in working together instead of against is a much better take away.

  • Chris Fontenot

    This lesson again builds off other ahead of it by repeating the foundations of good leadership and team building principals. Checking Ego’s, no retribution for honesty, and anyone involved can through a flag on the play. One thing I will take with me for the future was the statement made that we should be recruiting every day even though the our crew is already aboard.

    • Yes, Chris I caught that too. We have been in a state of hiring for years along with every other agency around. I had hoped one day to be caught up and take a break from this process. I know now that there is no end to recruiting and retaining quality people to your organization if you want to have a top-notch organization

  • David Mascaro

    I thoroughly enjoyed the chapter of "It's Our Ship" by Abrashoff titled "Bouy Up Your People (2008), where he outlines several best practices applied by leaders of industry to bolster the accountability and productivity of their employees. Although all have proven to be very effective, if I had to choose one to apply to a public safety organization it would be to embed leadership development in your culture. Abrashoff (2008) states, "Embed leadership in your culture. Turning people into leaders isn’t the flavor of the week or month; it should be the way the organization lives day to day." (pg.37). He goes on to speak of how an agency that develops leaders and prepares them for success, will develop a reputation of seeking the best applicants. I believe this would attract like-minded professionals, wanting to be a part of something extraordinary, with the knowledge that they will be challenged, developed, and prepared to become the best version of themselves.

  • Shawn Winchester

    What I learned in this lecture is that even if your shift is doing an amazing job, but the other shifts are failing then everyone is failing. We have to learn when one team fail then we all fail in the game called life.

    • Jared Paul

      Shawn,
      I agree with this view point, especially when it comes to law enforcement. We are all one LE agency with one mission, goals, and vision. We all serve the community, so if one shift is failing at that then the whole PD is failing.

    • Jeff Byrne

      Shawn, That was a great point to take from this lecture. Cops are competitive by nature, seemingly like the military. If you get caught up in trying to out-do the other teams just in the name of selfishness, and not work to bring struggling teams up, the agency fails as well as the community we serve.

    • Donald Vigil

      Shawn, I couldn't agree more. This is one of the issues that I discussed in my essay for this module. It's frustrating when one shift isn't on the same page as the others because it can cause resentment throughout the teams. I think part of this problem is that we sometimes promote those not ready in order to fill a position out of necessity.

    • Andrew Ashton

      Shawn that is a really good comment and it points out the need for a winning and warrior culture. Without everyone being on the same page we will have sub groups of individuals who will inherently sabotage the overall mission.

  • Jared Paul

    In this lecture, I found the 3 R's of decision making very interesting. It is almost second nature for us to Reflect and Respond when we come to a problem in our workplace. However, the third R, Revise, is more tricky. That doesn't always come second nature. Being able to revise gives us the opportunity to evaluate how our decision is going, and if need be make any adjustments to it.

  • Jeff Byrne

    I found it interesting why Abrashoff was given the job with Secretary Perry, and it was simple. He took the time to speak with Sec. Perry's staff which is exactly what he did on the Benfold to create such a successful environment on the ship. Goes to show you that taking time to talk with people that aren't the "big boss" can pay dividends.

    • Kecia Charles

      I agree. This proves that every employee's voice is valuable.. Even we you are thinking about communication, this proves that positive communication is key.

  • Donald Vigil

    There are many things I learned from this lesson and from reading Captain Michael Abrashoff’s book, It’s Our Ship. What struck me the most was the importance of training and developing our employees. My Department does a good job in training employees in the hard skills they need to do their job every day but we seem to lack training in areas such leadership, team work, and employee wellness. I plan to implement more of these types of training in order to create more buy-in and build up the future leaders.

    • Joey Brown

      Donald, you make a valid point. Leadership doesn’t work well without teamwork. Teamwork is a key part for the success of any organization. I believe everyone in the organization must work well with others which is why teamwork is so important in our professional environments.

  • Andrew Ashton

    This was a very good lesson on the importance of training and honing leaders from within the agency. Or agency has a sound FTO program which allows experienced officers the opportunity to train and lead new employees through a 14 week process. During that time the Vison, Mission, and appropriate training required to work for our agency is imparted. This helps to strengthen the mission of the agency at the onset of a new officers career and should also teach the importance of being part of a large team with the same goals.

  • Glenn Hartenstein

    After reading "It's Our Ship" by Captain Abrashoff, a few ideas stuck out to me. First, I saw how important it was for Captain Abrashoff to welcome his new crew by writing to them and sending them information about the new base and ship. This definitely set the stage for a rewarding relationship with his troops. First impressions make a huge difference when you start a new job. I also learned a lot about collaboration and how important it is for everyone on board his ship to work together for the common good. He saw how competition between his leaders can divide and have negative effects in the workplace. There are a lot of valuable lessons in this book. I really enjoyed reading this book.

  • Joey Brown

    The module pointed out how the importance of recruiting and hiring employees is crucial to a law enforcement organizations success. During this process, the agency has to ensure the individual being employed is not going to be retired on duty and is committed to the department’s mission. It is vital that every leader in the organization gets the new hire off to the right start. Leaders within the organization must create an environment of trust, be inspiring, and lead by example. I have found the key to success is creating a team of people who will support each other and to assist the leaders of the agency in being successful.

    • Trent Johnson

      I also like how it is discussed that even after the official recruitment and hiring is over with that we should continue to recruit them daily. I think it is imperative that we remind them 1.) what we promised during recruitment and 2.) now that they are here, that we meant what we said.

      Also, I like how you put "creating a team". When we make it a team, then the support for each other, the leaders and the agency is prevails, as opposed to being put on a shift or in an assignment. Taking the time to "create" the team makes the difference in buy in.

      • Dustin Burlison

        Yes, we often forget to continue recruiting after they've been hired. In todays world of career jumping, we can not afford to overlook this aspect any longer.

    • Dan Sharp

      Joey,
      I totally agree with your comments. We teach new hire all the laws, procedures and other things to do their jobs. But we fail to start training and developing them as leaders at that stage in their career. We as law enforcement agencies looking to have an agencies of leaders need to implement this type of mentoring and development as early in the recruits career as possible. Even though they are not in assigned leadership positions they are still leaders in the community. They are also the future leaders of the agency.

  • Curtis Summerlin

    This module reminded me of the lack of communication and collaboration I experienced long ago. When I first come to this agency, the uniformed patrol shifts had sergeants that never spoke and treated everything as a competition between the squads. Luckily, when I was promoted to the rank of sergeant so were several others that I got along with. We started talking with our relief each day, passing on information which led to a mandatory written end of shift report being disseminated. The squad members now work with their counter parts each day and pick up on investigations where the other left off. The communication has definitely led to an atmosphere of collaboration and made more of a team out of all of us.

    • Curtis,
      This module also reminded me of the lack of communication and collaboration between our Detective and Patrol Divisions within my police department. Since, I have become the Division Commander of our Detective Division, I have made it my top priority to ensure that communication runs smoothly both ways. I feel that is key to the success of the whole department. When both divisions are working as a well oiled machine, everyone is more successful.

    • Steven Mahan

      Curtis, I was there when that change came into being, and I always felt it was a vast improvement. I helped carry that over to the agency that I currently work with now, and it is a tool not only used by patrol but other divisions to keep abreast of different situations. The point of it is sometimes mistaken because it is supposed to be brief, but when done correctly, it is a powerful tool.

  • Jerrod Sheffield

    The lecture presented hit the main areas of where we need to be as leaders. The importance of understanding teamwork is necessary for the success of the agency. To promote collaboration within the organization builds trust within the members as it creates a positive influence on those involved. Treating everyone with dignity and respect can promote a healthy workplace that all will want to be a part of. As leaders we must be able to recognize the “odd ball” employee and know that they possess a gift in which they can build on to be the exemplary employee. I make it a point to meet with all my employees as I can or at least have a daily conversation with each. I loved the example that Captain Abrashoff gave in that he met with his crew as much as possible and got their input on daily activities and what could be done to improve.

  • I really liked the philosophy of "roots and wing." Give your people roots and wings to turn them into leadership machines. Employees that have been mentored by leaders with integrity will develop strong core values and skills. That foundation base of core values will grow, and the employee will feel more confident in their decisions. Strong ethical leaders are paramount to the success of law enforcement organizations.

  • Tyler Thomas

    This lecture continued to stress the importance of teamwork, and collaboration. The lecture expanded on how collaboration creates trust amongst the team and promotes a positive work environment. Just because you're a Leader doesn't give you the right to treat people without respect. You're human and the team you're leading are humans too. You should strive to treat everyone respect and promote a positive work environment. Working in a small organization has allowed me to meet with my staff almost daily if not weekly. This has had a profound impact as the last person was not as proactive in their approach.

  • Trent Johnson

    The summation of Abrashoff's second book was enlightening. Learning that the second book was a result of a lot of what he discussed in his first, in that he took the feedback, checked his ego, acknowledged his mistakes and then is using that to teach; he truly practices what he preaches, and that is motivating. It makes me want to 1.) preach the vision and mission and 2.) to practice it, as you see that it can be successfully done even if it means publicly acknowledging failures.

    • Tyler Thomas

      I love how the second book was a result of the first and how he used that feedback. I could read any book he writes.

    • Rodney Kirchharr

      This is something that I noticed as well, the practice what he preaches part. There is so much preaching done in agencies, in life in general really, and not that much practicing. We should all strive to do a better job of preaching where we want the department to go, but so much more on the application of taking us to that place by working towards those visions and missions.

  • Stephanie Hollinghead

    After this module, I realized where my agency was really lacking in the onboarding of our department. There is so much more we can do to make someone feel welcomed. We should make every effort to make them feel part of the team when they walk through the door, or better yet before they get to the door. Recruitment is an area every department should put time and effort in. After all, you are hiring the future of the department. You should want the best, not just a warm body. Hiring the right people for law enforcement, who want it for the right reasons and not for the sake of having a badge with authority will help reduce any major issues in the future.
    Working as a team accomplishes more. Supporting one another will always win, rather than working against one another. We are stronger together than alone. Regardless of the rank, a strong leader will learn from those he or she works with, and a strong leader is not afraid of the success of others.

  • Dustin Burlison

    One portion of this module really is a struggle of mine. Getting ride of, or changing the mindset of, "YES" people. I want those around me to tell me truth, whether it is good news or bad. It takes a lot of work to break down that communication barrier with some folks, probably because previous bosses have mistreated them for it, but it is vital to ensure success.

    • Kimberley Baugh

      I would agree with you Dustin. It is easier for some to just say "yes" all of the time. They just agree with what the leader is stating instead of being honest if there is a disagreement or concern.

    • Jared Yancy

      I agree! I want people around me who will tell me the truth no matter what. Whether its at work or even in my own personal lives. If you are constantly surround with people that agrees with you then growth cant happen. If you have never had a disagreement with any of your friends then you might want to question your friendship. Great post!

    • Deana Hinton

      Yes people are untrustworthy. If they have no opinions or things to put forward, how does a team grow and in the end turn out the best possible product. I always have to wonder what they stand for, who they are and why they are there. Trust is compromised and a team is weakened if no one has courage to question and offer new solutions and ideas.

  • Kimberley Baugh

    You have to lead by example. Listen to your people and get to know them. Advise them what is expected of them and trust them to do what is right. Always treat others how you would want your loved ones treated. As a leader, you should be learning from your people just as they learn from you. Make sure everyone is on the same page and understands the mission. Communication is necessary; make sure you receive feedback so you know your people understand.

    • Adam Kronstedt

      I've worked for a boss who looked like he was attempting small talk with his employees, but the grand majority of his conversations were 10% about the employee, and 90% about him. He wasn't getting to know anyone, only telling them about himself and his family. There wasn't any learning about his people. I think in his mind he was doing what he should, but at the end of the day, he lost following. He couldn't keep folks on the same page, or follow the mission because he failed in communicating.

  • Steven Mahan

    We have all worked for managers at some point who do not reflect these ideals and need to focus on ourselves to better those who follow us. I try to focus on the third tenant “a great crew is where you strive to find it,” as a leader because I feel we often make our environment and our attitude about that environment reflects how people carry themselves. I was given the privilege to lead new personnel to law enforcement. Instead of constantly telling them how they are wrong, I tell them how to improve. Their confidence to act without fear of punishment will bring them forward into investigation and law enforcement areas they would have been shy to attempt.

    • Deana Hinton

      I agree completely. Leaders who fly colors contrary to the organization weaken a team and create a cancer in the organization. It is hard to stay motivated when the leader is not someone you respect or trust. With a good leader who does follow the third tenant the organization becomes stronger through trust and confidence. They take the risks to become better and risks that carry value; buy-in is achieved.

  • I enjoyed this module. Captain Abrashoff is quickly becoming one of my favorite sources for leadership training. I am closely involved in hiring and recruiting for my department. I liked what Abrashoff had to say about those two areas. I think that writing to his officers ahead of time and laying out his expectations was brilliant. I also think giving them an itinerary for the next 6 months was brilliant as well.

    • Michael McLain

      I agree with you, John. Prior to this course, I've never read any of Abrashoff's books. I agree reaching out to officers ahead of time sets the tone before they ever start.

  • Jared Yancy

    Abrashoff took time out to learn his people and help them succeed. Abrashoff understood the assignment, which was to lead by example. This is people respected you and followed his leadership. He put in place tools and ideas that made his crew respect him and do good. Chapter two was quoted as "failing to prepare is preparing to fail!" That is a powerful statement that is very factual. When do we note to prepare, what do you think the outcome will be? One of my favorite modules so far!

  • Adam Kronstedt

    The end of the lecture summed everything up for me. When you set the tone for your organization, all eyes will be on you. Leaders need to set the example to gain the trust of those we lead. We also need to think (sometimes hard) before we speak, so we say the right things in the right situations. If we are honest with our people, they will show grace to us when we make mistakes. Ultimately, if we just do the right thing in every situation, we will be in good shape.

  • Rodney Kirchharr

    The big point that I took from this book and from the lecture is that we need to be welcoming to the new people coming into our department. Setting the first impression is important. When people start coming to our department and no one knows they were starting today, or they have no equipment, no schedule of when to be somewhere or who they are meeting, we look very unprofessional. This sets a tone for the way their employment may go and it something that we will struggle to correct over time. Any unprofessional act after that point will just drive that message home and if we are not careful we will struggle to retain good people and even more so to hire future good officers.

    • Mitchell Lofton

      This section also had me thinking of changes that need to be made to our onboarding process. We do a decent job of letting new employees know what to expect on the first day. Then, after that, they sit on a computer for days on end, reading policies and procedures and completing various online training before being issued equipment and beginning hands-on instructor-led training. However, I think we can do better to break up the process to keep a welcoming environment.

  • Deana Hinton

    The concepts of navigating by the stars and flying your true colors are fundamental ideas for strong leadership. Reminders that your team needs to understand the missions and the associated priorities at the beginning of a project, the middle, and the end is vital. The why and the heritage is the glue to to mission. The why and the heritage keeps everyone going the same direction and instills pride of membership as well as unity because they provide direction and meaning. Finally, flying your true colors reminds us we are always an example and we must conduct ourselves accordingly. Our team will mirror us and that is our legacy.

    • Jeff Spruill

      I thought of heritage a while back when one of our modules was listing Robert Peel's principles for policing. In many ways, these are still important principles but sometimes they seem like fancy words that we claim but don't necessarily live by. It caused me to think about the ways we may have, at times, experienced mission drift as a profession, and how sometimes our officers' failures may be that they are often tempted to see themselves as drug warriors (or whatever particular passion an officer has) first, and public servants second. While we can and should firmly believe that our role in aggressively enforcing the law ultimately has a role in protecting our public, it's also easy for us to get those priorities reversed. How does it change things like use of force procedures, pursuit policies, and so on if we remember that keeping our public safe is priority number one and arresting offenders in priority number 2? What if we were better at teaching Peel's early principles and reminding officers that this is where we come from, and this is why we exist in the first place? Would this change our priorities just enough to help us do what we do better?

  • Jeff Spruill

    In the chapter "Navigate by the Stars," I was struck by Abrashoff's message that "any leader must constantly repeat and reinforce mission message, the organization's values and heritage. . ." In the last module, Erik Therwanger makes a similar point when he says that it takes an average of seven times hearing the same thing before a person internalizes it. When I first became a Captain, my lieutenants and I met several times, developed a set of core values of leadership, made a handsome document to write them on, and sold them to our people as the values they should expect us to live by. I was kind of bothered when, within several months of this project, they had not seemed to internalize these values, and at least one of them was supervising way outside of them to the detriment of his people. I wanted these values to come up in conversations about their people and their projects and indeed to guide the way they worked with their people, but they never did. I realized that because we didn't emphasize and reiterate these values, the project became just a neat one-time exercise and not something that was going to actually change the way we did business. Eventually, I started to build categories in their evaluations that would allow me more opportunities to talk about how well I thought they were leading by these values and that helped some, but mostly just to capture who was already living by these values and who never really had in the first place. So it seems that finding ways to talk about our values and goals and frequently finding ways to celebrate doing them well is key to making them a part of the way we actually do business. I don't feel like I've really learned how to do this yet.

  • Dan Sharp

    I really like the concept of welcome people aboard before they are aboard. I think this is a great way to ease the transition into your shift that is operating like a team. Most times when we get a transfer or new assignment we are told were we are going and that we should contact the shift commander for further details. I never really thought of the concept of reaching out to them first. This is a great opportunity to feel out the person by their response and to give them a head start on the mission and beliefs of the team they are about to join. I will definitely be incorporating this into my toolbox.

    • Matt Lindsey

      The concept of welcoming people aboard stood out to me in this book as well as, It's Your Ship. I have implemented some of the ideas discussed with officers as they join the shift. The younger officers have been extremely receptive to sitting down and taking some time for me to get to know them.

    • George Schmerer

      I find myself in a similar situation, but I am the one who is now the new guy to the group sort of speak. I have worked with most of my colleagues for several years but now I am their supervisor and I find that I need to reach out and get to know them through a different lens. The team is now mine to lead and I will reach out to them to help me navigate my new role within the organization.

    • Jeremy Harrison

      Dan,

      The onboarding process struck me as well. It was not just the idea of welcoming someone to the team but ushering them in over an extended period of time. I believe he mentioned getting them a shirt and other items which made them feel part of the team. I feel all too often we hold people new to units or the department at an arm’s length until they have “earned” our respect and can be called a teammate. They are a teammate the minute they step into the station or unit and should be treated as such. Like so many things in this program I recognize how I have failed in many of these endeavors, including this one. Being a good leader is difficult and I am thankful there is grace in the process.

      Jeremy

  • Matt Lindsey

    In the chapter, "Fly Your True Colors", the discussion of the wake a leader leaves behind stood out to me. Emphasizing employees are watching every action a leader makes and listening to every word they speak. Even something small and seemingly insignificant is an opportunity for a leader to set the example. It is up to the leader to decided whether the example will be positive or negative. This idea went along with a concept discussed in chapter 6 regarding the importance of a leader taking advantage of each encounter they had with their employees.

    • Kent Ray

      I agree that this is an important part of this lesson. The fact that leaders are constantly under the microscope constantly is yet another stressor and motivator to always be your best. With so much a on the line with every encounter, leaders must aspire to authentically live MAGNUS virtues.

  • Kent Ray

    The ideal of properly welcoming new hires to the agency seems very important. I’ve always wanted the agency to make a good impression with new employees; however, the things Abrashoff did with new crew members really took it to the next level. There is no reason that many of the things that Abrashoff did can’t be employed with all agency new hires. I was also inspired with some ideas of my own. One of my failures has been to focus only on welcoming new employees filling commissioned officer positions. Thus, I have neglected the new employees filling our non-commissioned support positions. Every employee is a part of the team and deserves the same type of welcome, and initial indoctrination into the organization. This also presents the first to share the organizations “why” with the new employee and begin the process of inspiring them.

    • Devon Dabney

      I agree that what he did with the new employees was awesome at making them feel comfortable from day 1.

  • George Schmerer

    In this module, Lt. Col. Scott discusses the book It’s Our Ship by Captain Abrashoff. I enjoyed this module but I also found it challenging me as a leader. In his book, Captain Abrashoff explains that it is important for a leader to understand the importance of teamwork in order to be effective, but he took it a step further by explaining that this will also empower your team and you will build a legacy within your department. As Lt. Col. Scott explained in the module, Captain Abrashoff was not afraid to fail, and he was not afraid to get ideas from outside of the normal modes of communication within the Navy. He asked the enlisted members what they thought and when he believed it would work, he implemented the idea. What I appreciated was that Captain Abrashoff was honest about failing from time to time. Things did not always work out, but he wouldn’t blame the enlisted. In fact, he didn’t blame anyone. He learned from the process and he built trust while doing so. Captain Abrashoff gave a road map to building unity within an organization. This module had many great takeaways for a leader at any level and in any organization.

  • Jeremy Harrison

    Abrashoff’s book discussed organizations refusing to get caught up in dumb competitions which create a culture of backstabbing. He specifically addressed the competition which can come with promotional processes. I truly do not know the solution to this issue. I believe our union has fought for a promotion process which fuels the culture of unhealthy competition, but I do not know if my ideas for promotions are any better. I completely agree and support the idea of collaboration for the good of the department completely separated from the promotion issue, but I do not believe you can completely remove the drive some people have for promotion.

    We currently have a system in place which awards points for certain actions which force employees to act alone, sometimes in secret, in an attempt to earn more points than others. This creates a culture of distrust and isolationism. The outcome is what most would expect which is much less collaboration than what should occur which leads to wide communication gaps. I am confident we can move to a better system which places the organization as the priority over a single employee’s promotion. We will need to get the union to agree but humility must come into play and a culture of collaboration must take root.

    • Tommy “Chris” Weeks

      We also have this same "unhealthy competition" during our promotional process. I have dubbed it "Promotion Season" because everyone acts differently and the environment at the department is a little more cutthroat. Like you, I do not know what the solution is.

      Over the last several years, we have moved from a written test to the "Assessment Center" process. It is a way of testing in which candidates participate in a series of systematic, job-related, real-life situations while being observed and evaluated by law enforcement leaders from outside agencies. These assessors, observe candidates individually and in groups performing exercises/scenarios that simulate conditions and situations a sergeant (for example) would encounter in real life.

  • Michael McLain

    I enjoyed It's Our Ship as much as I did It's your ship. Both books complimented each other and gave additional ways to build a successful team.

  • Devon Dabney

    This was a great module it showed as a leader getting your team on the same page starts with being a good communicator.

  • Andrew Weber

    I enjoyed the suggestions from other leaders on how they employed successful ways to get the job done. I have a lot of respect of Abrashoff to write another book to show where he got it wrong, I assume in the hopes that others don't make the same mistake.

  • Tommy “Chris” Weeks

    Like most modules in these learning areas, I have had to be introspective and see deficiencies I may have that I need to correct or deficiencies in the agency itself. I have also been amazed at the accuracy of examples or statements presented in the lectures. Some things are so comparable to things going on in my agency. The video in which Lt. Col. Wellington states, "When a bad leader poisons the working atmosphere, betrays the trust, and sabotages the whole operation, workers lose faith and trust in them. It does not take much to lose the confidence in his people. All leaders need to do is display an attitude of apathy and inconsistencies and those under his supervision will catch on and lose respect and trust for that leader." This is spot on and something I bear witness to almost daily.

    • Tommy, this portion of Mr. Scotts presentation stuck with me too. I also witness poor leadership all too often. I think it all goes back to the lack of development of these supervisors as leaders and then the mentoring that should occur after they are given command of something. But hey, this leadership training is the first step in righting this ship!

  • It’s our ship: I’ve worked in many divisions, units, or sections where we were pitted against each other in a competition of sorts. I’ve always disagreed with that approach as it causes animosity between team members where one team will hold back on another to get a “win”. While this may benefit “my ship” so to say, it doesn’t benefit “our ship” like Abrashoff spoke of. It seems to me that the competitive approach makes the core values fuzzy in the sense that that they fall victim to the competition at times. I think collaboration between the teams is the way to go if we want to strive to achieve the mission goals and the vision of who we should be.

    • Lawrence Dearing

      I agree, Gerald that competition sometimes discourages teamwork and sometimes singles out those individuals who need the most encouragement and development. I have found this to m=be the case on our SWAT team. Over the years, some really promising operators were discouraged, downtrodden, and eventually frustrated to the point of quitting the team because some of the "Type A" leaders did not know how to incorporate the competitive spirit into the team concept that uplifts, supports and develops all of the members.

      • Kevin Carnley

        I agree that a lot of time competition in units or between them cause problems. I have seen competition done the right way as a K9 handler. While I was a handler we trained with many agencies and each team wanted to succeed. We also wanted each other to succeed and would push one another to do their best. I now recognize that this worked because of the leadership of our main instructor. They set the tone of training as team work not competition.

    • Lance Richards

      Yes, your statement couldn't be more true! In this Module under the section titled "All hands on deck," they said collaboration is a top priority. we even must support other agencies. If one agency looks bad, we all look bad. If one Division in your agency looks bad, it reflects upon the entire agency. This is why we must continue to identify future leaders and inspire them to continue on the legacy.

  • Lawrence Dearing

    I enjoyed this book and module as much as the first, It’s Your Ship. Abrashoff’s humble style of leadership is very inspiring and appealing to me. I liked in his opening video how he explained his after action reports with his crew, and his rules of checking the ego at the door, assuring there is no retribution for what is said, and the ability of anyone to challenge anyone else. In the module, I appreciated his own introspection when he said the more he looked back, the smarter he was about the present. He realized his mistake and admitted his own shortsightedness when only being concerned with his own ship’s performance and not that of the fleet. I intend to heed his advice in making my new recruits feel welcome and important, and as he suggested, I will take every opportunity to learn from everyone I lead.

    In the lecture, Lt. Col. Scott said the two biggest motivators in people’s lives are love and respect. He later said that trust as a motivator is better than the fear of discipline. I have personally known leaders who, although I know they care for the people and organization, tend to motivate with negative discipline and I have found that sends a mixed and confusing message to the troops.

    • Jarrett Holcombe

      I agree that trust is far greater motivator than fear. I also agree with Cpt. Abrashoff's statement that starting with the "why" behind our decisions and intent is critical to fostering and building trust with our people. There is nothing worse than a "supervisor" who uses manipulation, intimidation, and fear to gain compliance and feed their ego.

  • Mitchell Lofton

    I have enjoyed both of Captain Abrashoff’s books. One important lesson to take from It’s Our Ship is that as a leader, you never stop improving on yourself. You have to not only look at past failures and make corrections, but just like Captain Abrashoff, we have to also look at our past successes and see the things we can improve on. We may even realize we have limited our success by not seeing the bigger picture.

    • Jason Doucet

      I agree. I am glad I had the books recommended to be a few years ago and have had a chance to read through them more than once. It really gives you a good approach from having a goal of being a great leader from both sides of the equation.

  • Walter Banks

    In this Module, we witness Captain Abrashoff's personal growth as a leader. When receiving input on his first book from people who served with him. he adjusts his perceptions of his past success and searches for better solutions to past events.

  • Jimmie Stack

    After reading this book and learning about Abrashoff's staunch commitment to collaboration, it dawned on me that the idea of collaboration is consistent in many ways with Steven Covey's "Think Win-Win" philosophy. Both philosophies promote an approach that seeks an outcome in which everyone benefits. When everyone benefits, no one ends up considering themselves or being considered by others as a loser in the outcome. To me, that seems like exactly the type of outcome that we all should want, and is one that could certainly help us to build a positive, professional culture in our workplace.

  • Kecia Charles

    During this lesson, I learned that we will all fail at some point. But failure should be looked at as an opportunity to from it. Failure makes leaders stronger.

    • Jeremy Pitchford

      Jeremy Pitchford Session #015

      This point definitely stuck out to me in the book. I thought it was great that coach Walsh changed the way his offensive lineman looked at failure by simply addressing the mistake and emphasizing how he made up for it on the next play.

  • Jason Doucet

    Capt. Abrashoff really did a good job by making his crew feel at home and making them feel as if the ship was theirs. It is always a good idea to make anyone part of your team to feel that they have meaning and are truly part of an organization. And it begins with a good atmosphere and trust and being open.

    • Joe Don Cunningham

      I agree Jason. If your people fell they are truly a part of the organization, they will do the very best they can.

    • Joseph Spadoni

      I agree. I believe it is important to make your crew feel welcome and at home. I feel you will have a much more positive effect which will result in better productivity from your team.

  • Joe Don Cunningham

    Captain Abrashoff shows that we should always strive to be the very best we can be. He does this by self-example and the continuing praising of his crew for the work they do. He shows that if your people have respect for their leader and know what the mission is, they will follow and do the very best they can. If you show them love and respect, it goes a long way.

  • Kevin Carnley

    I enjoyed this follow-up book by Abrashoff as much as the first one. I agree with building people up and investing in them. I liked the point on training and how it prepares people to act under stress and how important it is. I like how he finds people, points them towards a goal and gets out of their ways. Many times in public safety, we focus on the process of promotion or assignment and not the person's ability. This kind of thinking could give way to innovative ideas in a time of officer shortages

    • Cedric Gray

      I agree with everything you posted. In law enforcement, beyond hiring, there seems little focus on talent scouting. One of the best guidelines presented was getting out of a capable leader’s way. It’s one more way to continue to develop that leader, if indirectly. This too seems overlooked.

  • Jeremy Pitchford

    Jeremy Pitchford Session #015

    In chapter 2 of Captain Abrashoff's book there is a section labeled take the helm but stay in the channel. It explains empowering people with boundaries. I think this is necessary and discourages micro-managing. I also think this is an under-utilized technique in law enforcement.

    • Paul Smith

      I agree. I feel that delegation is not properly supervised. We need to learn how to empower our employees and supervise, without micro managing.

  • Paul Smith

    I read this book several years ago and I enjoyed reviewing it. I agree with what Captain Abrashoff says about building better teams within the organization. One thing that stand out is the three R's about decision making process. As a leader if we reflect, respond, and revise, leaders will be able to understand and build trust within their organization. We should be learning from every decision and always look for a better outcome in the future.

  • Cedric Gray

    I found the most significant of Abrashoff’s ideas was creating a culture of openness and achievement to accomplish goals while developing leaders for the future. The toughest aspect of this may be getting everyone to buy into a leader’s vision. Most people who excel do well because they have attached personal desires to organizational goals.

  • Joseph Spadoni

    Joseph Spadoni Jr.
    Session #15

    One of Abrashoff’s strongest attributes is that he believed in getting out of the office and walking among the ship and interacting with everyone. He also made the newcomers feel like winners. I feel this set a positive tone for the start of someone’s new assignment. Abrashoff proved that by understanding the importance of teamwork in running your agency effectively you will build a legacy.

  • Elliot Grace

    First impressions are everything and a leader sets the tone, especially during their initial interactions with new hired employees. I found it interesting with how Captain Abrashoff made new crew members feel welcomed by sending them a welcome package inclusive of a letter describing their duties, a ball cap and a bumper sticker and treated them as family. By using Abrashoff’s method of interacting with new recruits would certainly enhance recruiting and retention.

  • This module hit some of the best points I have recently seen regarding the hiring process. Type A people hire type A people; type B people hire type C people. The minute you let a weak manager in the door, they will hire even weaker people. They want this type of environment so the agency will fail, which makes it look like the Chief failed. Therefore, it is essential to create a team who will support everyone as well as the mission of the agency. I believe we all see the two sides every day. The one captain who tries to be everyone’s friend and joke around with them and the other captain who tells you like it is to keep everyone on course.

    • Jason Wade

      Cory, your comment made me think that leaders make a lot of decisions everyday, based upon who they hire, or what path the department takes, and we are judged by those actions. Hiring good staff helps to provide the ability to make decisions that are supportive of the organization and have a purpose. This will only better support the leaders decision making in hiring and other functions so that there are lesser opportunities for failure and more successes.

  • Chad Parker

    A lot can be said about this subject. I think all of us as leaders or supervisors need to continuously recognize our employees and the hard work they do. It's important to let them know when they are doing a good job, not just the bad. Also, it doesn't take much effort to just talk to your people on a personal basis.

  • Jarrett Holcombe

    The most significant takeaway from this module for me is the explanation of what defines a good leader. Sonny Melendrez speaks to Walt Disney being asked “what it is (he) is most proud of?” Melendrez explains how the best leaders recruit and seek out the best possible people for their groups and organizations while inspiring them and providing them with a clear and fixed direction or goal. Then, they get out of their way and allow the team to impress them with their innovation and creativity. It should also be noted that the leader must inspect what they expect as the team takes action to reach the goal. This has been the key to success in many of the groups I have been part of. Micromanagement is a morale and innovation killer.

    • Daniel Hudson

      Jarrett, great points. Setting your people on the right path will ensure they are heading in the right direction for success. Couple that with a leader who inspects what they expect, keeps the micromanaging to a minimum, and only for those who need a little extra supervision will undoubtedly allow for a prospering unit.

  • Daniel Hudson

    A key takeaway was me was the topic of inspiration and how a leader should show excellence in action. So many times, we see leaders who believe that they have "arrived." These leaders feel they have nothing more to prove, have earned the right to coast, and what a horrible example to set. Yet, their subordinates are always watching and taking note of the actions or non-actions the boss takes. We have to set the standard for others to follow.

    • Patrick Brandle

      I agree with your observations. We as leaders must lead by example, be open to discussion, and have clear communications with our officers. A positive mental attitude is a must.

    • Patrick Hall

      I totally agree. As leaders we need to always strive for success, excellence and always seek self improvement. we should always lead from the front and be available for those that require our assistance. Complacency is never a good thing especially when you are look as a leader. We all have shortfalls and items that we can improve on so we should always seek improvement.

    • Mitch Nelson

      Well said fellow National Command and Staff College attendee. I have worked under and alongside leaders of which you speak of. The only thing we can do is lead by example and teach our people how to become successful leaders as well.

  • Patrick Brandle

    Continental Airlines had a do's and don’t book that guided employees on how to do their jobs. Like robots, they only did what was instructed in this manual, and their business was not very successful. When their new leader took over, he threw the manual away and talked to the employees like people. He made their environment enjoyable and a team effort and let them know their opinions and input mattered. Success was soon to follow with better morale, production, and leadership.

  • Patrick Hall

    I was brought up in the era where I was always told and taught that a "friendly competition" wouldn't hurt anyone or anything but it was believed to bind us into a team. For many years, I have believed in this, to be honest this module changed my view to believe in the power of "collaboration" or competition. Competition in a sense puts one against another person with an end result of a winner and loser affect. This type of result can have a positive or negative influence on all those engaged in the competition; however, collaboration from the initial start push us to operate as a team "Teamwork" to complete the task or objective together. As a collaboration we all are seen as a team winner or we all lose together. Collaboration makes all have and hold an equal ownership in the failure or success of the goals set.

  • Jason Wade

    While I have always agreed with the idea, making a good first impression for the new hires with on-boarding, efficient paperwork, and processes sets the tone. If an employee is impressed with how well the organization gets them in the door they will be willing to dedicate themselves to the company possibly for a longer time and will be higher functioning. This partnered with leading from the front and setting the tone for the whole organization can be a great step forward for success.

  • Mitch Nelson

    My biggest takeaway from this module is learning of the three Rs of Decision Making. As an agency (and me specifically) we are really good on the reflect and respond part of decision making. But often times the revise part needs some work.