“I think I’m done here” – Graceful Exits

“I think I’m done here” – Graceful Exits

What does it mean, when well-regarded leaders say they are done? 

Just in the last month, Police Chief Todd Axtell of St. Paul and Police Chief Medaria Arrodondo of Minneapolis tendered their resignations.   Both steered their departments through the difficult times of the pandemic and months of continued social unrest following the murder of George Floyd.   Both were well-regarded by the communities in which they served, and by their own staffs.

I as well as many are sad and disappointed to see them go.  We had hoped that they would see us through this next transition –  the critical work of re-defining what public safety looks like going forward, and changing the culture of policing.  

At the same time, I think I get it.   On the one hand, after a lengthy career, a leader has probably both the experience and wisdom to deal with the hard stuff – having learned from the best and worst that life and people can bring.   On the other hand, the energy it takes to do this work, and the mental and emotional exhaustion it creates, can take its toll.   The need for new energy and new ideas is real.   After thirty-one years in my own business, I can relate.

Every good leader innately knows when it is time to step back and let someone else take the reins, but it’s hard to do.  It’s about recognizing when you are “done.”  For instance:

  • When what you came to do has been completed.
  • When what it takes to get the organization to the next level is not what you can or want to provide.
  • When you know in your heart that you owe it to yourself to do something different.
  • When you are ready to welcome someone else to take the lead.

It takes courage to take this leap, to step into the abyss, and to trust that:

  • You did the best you could to leave your organization a better place than when you walked in.
  • The next generation of leaders is ready and willing to take on problems and issues with fresh perspectives, ideas, and energy.
  • You, yourself, will find a new path that gives your life purpose and makes use of your wisdom and talents as much as you choose.   

The graceful exit of one generation, and the welcome entrance of another – that’s what this is about.   We welcome you, our next generation of leaders, and we look forward to where you will lead us!


Cathy Perme, current Managing Partner, will be stepping down to Consulting Partner next year (2022) as she transitions to a semi-retirement role.  She is looking forward to the fresh leadership and new directions that Amber Peterson, our new Managing Partner, will bring to the firm in 2022 and beyond!

Contact The Amber Edge

Phone: 218.213.1303

e-Mail:  info@theamberedge.com

Culture Connects the Dots for Equitable and Effective Public Safety

Culture Connects the Dots for Equitable and Effective Public Safety

What do the report by the 2015 President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, the debate on “warrior” versus “guardian” mindsets, and discussions about delivering equitable and effective public safety have in common?


Culture is the common thread, according to newly retired Plymouth Police Chief Mike Goldstein and public safety culture consultants Cathy Perme and Amber Peterson. And this was corroborated by data they collected via culture assessment tools from Human Synergistics to determine how Constructive versus Defensive cultures shape the execution of daily work in police departments.

Countering Fear of Police

Consider, for example, the following sequence of events at the Plymouth police department in 2016. After a fatal shooting by police at a routine traffic stop in nearby Falcon Heights, Minnesota – one of a string of incidents in cities across the country – a Plymouth resident wrote Police Chief Mike Goldstein asking for assurances that Plymouth police wouldn’t kill his son in a police encounter.

Goldstein tried writing back. “I explained who we are,” Goldstein said, “what we believe in and how we carry out our mission. Then I said to myself, ‘This is a weighty topic and I don’t feel a letter is enough.’ So, I offered a face-to-face meeting. I’ve been meeting with that resident and others every four to six weeks ever since to talk about race relations.”

The meetings exemplify Goldstein’s proactive approach to communicating with Plymouth residents. Some would call it “guardian” instead of “warrior” policing. Others might say it’s a “community” instead of “cops-know-best” approach. Goldstein calls it “community caretaking.”

Assessing Police Culture in the City

Regardless, it’s emblematic of the different ways – from accentuating mission and core values to improving hiring and training – Goldstein and his command staff have managed the department’s culture over more than 15 years. The culture they created enabled them to properly implement strategy and achieve exemplary results. The list of outcomes is pages long, including improving traffic safety and creating a regional plan to respond to large events (those for which resources need to be pulled from several cities). It’s what law enforcement leaders say has made the Plymouth department a model for effectively delivering law enforcement throughout Minnesota and across the country.

Yet, the culture isn’t perfect. Despite all of Goldstein’s work, there is still a gap between what officers from top to bottom in the department experience versus the ideal to which they aspire. The gap, signaled by a late 2020 culture assessment, came as a surprise. Led by Perme & Peterson Associates, the culture assessment – using the Human Synergistics Organizational Culture Inventory® (OCI) and Organizational Effectiveness Inventory®(OEI) – pointed to a disconnect in the middle of the organization.

“I wanted to take a real-life temperature of where the department really was… I think law enforcement leaders need this information.”–Mike Goldstein, Plymouth, MN, Police Chief, retired

Goldstein commissioned the survey in the Fall as he prepared to retire after 17 years as chief and 31 years with the department. He wanted to leave city leaders and the next chief with observations and data they could use to continue bettering the culture and, hence, the department. “I wanted to take a real-life temperature of where the department really was,” Goldstein said. “I think law enforcement leaders need this information.”

Success Means Focusing on People

Since he became chief in 2004 in the Minneapolis-St. Paul suburb, Goldstein has consistently focused on creating a constructive culture. Back then, there was no handy playbook for guidance. So, Goldstein borrowed from initiatives elsewhere where he saw the kind of outcomes he sought from his officers. “When one of my officers leaves from a call,” he said, for example, “We don’t want the citizens involved to decide they won’t ever call us again.”

Goldstein found that, for the initiatives to be successful, he had to focus on people – the young officers he hired, the sergeants he promoted, and the command staff who helped him lead. He made it a point for the department to hire only those who exhibit a servant leadership mentality, are trainable, display a robust work ethic, believe in great customer service, and lead balanced lives. As they continued on the force, officers were expected to grow and develop, technically and personally. “We value education, training, and learning,” Goldstein said.

Law Enforcement and 21st Century Policing

President Barack Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing issued its report in 2015 following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, 18, by a 28-year-old police officer in Ferguson, Missouri the year before – a shooting that precipitated days of rioting.1 Goldstein embraced the report and its conclusions “whole-heartedly.” The task force recommendations were the equivalent of a national playbook, confirming what Goldstein had been doing over the years to build a constructive culture and lighting the way for further enhancements.

The Report’s authors pulled together a long list of best practices that would “promote effective crime reduction while building public trust.” Among them: “Law enforcement culture should embrace a guardian – rather than warrior – mindset to build trust and legitimacy both within agencies and with the public.” To do so, the report said, law enforcement should adopt “procedural justice” methods; that is, cops ought to consider the spirit versus the letter of the law with everyone, both inside and outside their departments, regardless of race, religion, gender, or any other difference. Does every minor infraction require a citation? No. The reaction should be apropos to the circumstance.

The report also singled out community policing as another important strategy. It asked police to “engage in multidisciplinary, community team approaches for planning, implementing and responding to crisis situations” with complex causes.

Taken together, the recommendations in the 21st Century Policing report amounted to a manifesto for change. Many departments are already far along implementing various recommendations; others lag well behind. Continued high-profile incidents like the George Floyd death at the hands of police in Minneapolis last summer highlight the urgency for the latter departments to change.

Why No Change?

Why no change? It all comes down to culture, say Perme and Peterson. The 21st Century Policing report warned: “There is an old saying, ‘Organizational culture eats policy for lunch.’ Any law enforcement organization can make great rules and policies that emphasize the guardian role, but if policies conflict with the existing culture, they will not be institutionalized and behavior will not change.”

Unfortunately, the Report did not talk about how to change culture. That’s where Perme and Peterson come in. Both agree with the report’s finding on the importance of culture. So does Chief Goldstein, who explains: “If you want to have success in accomplishing anything in your department, you have to have the culture to support it. By not assessing what you have and where you need to go with culture, you won’t have success. And you’ll have lots of problems.”

Warriors AND Guardians

It’s here where deeply held views on warrior versus guardian come into play. It’s here where decades of federal gifting of surplus military hardware to local police together with wins by police unions seeking to protect their members have made it difficult for law enforcement leaders to root out unwarranted use of force. Debates continue about these and other factors making it more difficult to forge a different type of police department culture.2

“If the next school shooting comes, responders have to be warriors. It’s not either/or. It’s a spectrum. It’s not if you choose one or the other given the situation, it’s when that switch happens and to what degree.”–Amber Peterson, public safety culture consultant

The back and forth is nuanced. “Sometimes we need warriors,” said Chief Goldstein. Adds consultant Amber Peterson, a former police officer, “If the next school shooting comes, responders have to be warriors. It’s not either/or. It’s a spectrum. It’s not if you choose one or the other given the situation, it’s when that switch happens and to what degree.” Think procedural justice here. Also, think community policing. Officers decide many times a day how to react.

Going guardian or warrior – switching from one to the other – can be done poorly, or it can be done well.

Different Cultures Get Different Results

Building on a growing body of evidence from their culture assessment work using Human Synergistics surveys and qualitative approaches, Perme and Peterson have identified measures for what constitutes “poor” and “well.” In addition, they’ve been able to point to levers for changing culture.

Here’s how Human Synergistics defines cultures as predominately Constructive or Defensive based on over 47 years of research: A Constructive culture encourages members of the organization to interact with people and approach tasks in ways that enable them to meet their higher-order needs. A Defensive culture requires members to interact with others in self-protective ways (Passive) and/or in self-promoting ways (Aggressive) to maintain their position and personal security.

And here’s how Perme and Peterson have found these cultures to shape both guardian and warrior practices in police departments:

    In a Defensive Culture   In a Constructive Culture
  Guardian Role
  • The department culture may drive officers to be intensely focused on gaining approval from their peers, superiors, or community. In doing so, officers could sacrifice what’s right and realistic within their capabilities. 
  • Officers may avoid taking calls where they may be required to use force or could fail to use force when it is warranted (which, in turn, could cost them their jobs). 
  • Officers could take on too many responsibilities – consider themselves always on duty, for example – which isn’t sustainable. This could be for fear of being passed over for promotion, which endangers their health and their ability to serve others.


  • The culture drives officers to stay in touch with their core motivation for becoming a police officer.Usually, that’s service and servant leadership. 
  • It pushes officers to plan ahead and to talk through scenarios with their sergeants, fellow officers, and community members. This enables them to quickly switch into either warrior or guardian mode at a moment’s notice. 
  • It prizes and reinforces officers’ ability to deescalate difficult situations.
  Warrior Role
  • Officers may trap themselves in a status quo mentality and might follow orders from senior officers, without questioning them, even if they know they’re wrong. 
  • They may remain constantly at odds with department goals and policies, including those they view as unrealistic, based on their own personal experience on their shift. 
  • When difficult incidents occur, lateral communication may break down – leading to officers refusing to work together, freezing, or going rogue. 
  • When police unions prevail in defending rogue officers, toxic warrior mentalities become tougher to change.3


  • Even in tense situations, officers keep the welfare of all stakeholders top of mind. 
  • In the moment, they cooperate well with others, even with peers with whom they don’t “see eye-to-eye.” 
  • They are trusted to make sound “decide-to-shoot” decisions. 
  • They treat those they arrest with respect. 
  • After an especially difficult incident, debriefings occur where officers learn what went well and what didn’t.


Connecting Culture and 21st Century Policing

To help his officers better work across the warrior versus guardian spectrum and to better understand other aspects of his organization’s culture, Chief Goldstein pointed to his department’s just-completed culture assessment for answers. The OCI and OEI used by Perme and Peterson can map culture and its causes to the 21st Century Policing task force recommendations – not only for Plymouth but for police departments across the country.

For the Plymouth police, the assessment showed that Goldstein and top brass have articulated well the department’s mission, done a good job providing service to citizens, empowered front-line officers, and displayed good communication up and down the chain of command. Officers reported they intended to stay with the department and felt their jobs were secure. Overall, the organization scored well in external adaptability and service quality. As a result, the department enjoys an excellent reputation in the community.

Levers for Change

Nevertheless, Goldstein noted that the assessment “teased out things we need to do.” He said he looks to his sergeants – the day-to-day keepers of his organization’s culture – to be consistent in supervising front-line officers and to reinforce what’s learned in training. Yet some focused more on task than on people. Some coached and developed officers; others didn’t. Sergeants, the equivalent of mid-level managers in other organizations, were not always on the same page with each other or members of the command staff, Goldstein said.

The OCI/OEI identified levers for change—that is, improvements that could be made to further strengthen constructive norms and increase effectiveness. These levers, validated via focus groups and interviews, include: Goal emphasis, regular performance feedback, mentoring, and collaboration to better build internal coordination. Such changes are especially important given the new generation of police officers coming on board.

Reflections: A Case for Culture

At the end of the day, the newly-retired Chief can reflect back and connect his emphasis on developing a constructive culture to the 21st Century Policing report, the debate over guardian versus warrior policing, and the feedback provided by the quantitative tool to measure culture. Goldstein is “thrilled” with what he and his department have accomplished. At the same time, he readily says he would not have learned what he did about his department’s culture, and he would not have been able to articulate next steps for his successor, had it not been for the Perme and Peterson assessment. He is confident his successor will pick up where he left off. “In the pursuit of perfection,” he said, “you might catch excellence.”

90-Day Culture & Performance Quick-Start Program


To learn more about Perme & Peterson Associates’ Public Safety Quick-Start Culture Program, click here!


For change agents in the private sector, Education, or Government, Human Synergistics will help you engage your organization and its members in designing and implementing a customized 90-day blueprint for accelerated results and success in your business.

Contributor: As a former police officer and now a public safety culture consultant, Amber Peterson focuses on helping public safety groups build a culture inside that creates public trust outside. She contributed to this blog post.


1 Final Report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. Washington DC: United States Department of Justice. 2015. https://cops.usdoj.gov/pdf/taskforce/taskforce_finalreport.pdf.

2 Seth Stoughton commentary, Harvard Law Review, April 10, 2015, “Law Enforcement’s “Warrior” Problem,” https://harvardlawreview.org/2015/04/law-enforcements-warrior-problem/

3 Kim Barker, Michael H. Keller and Steve Eder, New York Times, Dec. 22, 2020 (updated Jan. 6, 2021), “How Cities Lost Control of Police Discipline,” https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/22/us/police-misconduct-discipline.html

About the Author:

Bill Bancroft is Managing Principal of Conbrio, a Dallas-based consulting firm and one of our Associates at Perme & Peterson Associates, LLC. He’s an accredited practitioner in the Organizational Culture Inventory® (OCI®), Organizational Effectiveness Inventory® (OEI), Leadership/Impact® (L/I), and the Management/Impact® (M/I) instruments. Bill uses these and other diagnostics in his work guiding leaders and their teams in culture and leadership development. With deep expertise in strategy and innovation, his clientele spans the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.

Contact The Amber Edge

Phone: 218.213.1303

e-Mail:  info@theamberedge.com

Leadership Lessons for the Year of the Ox

Leadership Lessons for the Year of the Ox

Here we are, 11 months into the pandemic (at least in terms of the US shutting down), and we are still not certain when or even IF life will get back to “the way it used to be.”  So, it’s time to assess: what “bad” habits did we drop last year which should be left in the past, and what “new” habits did we pick up that we want to keep?  It’s time to “plow the ground for the future” and fully embrace the work ahead with the “Year of the Ox!”

Lucky for us the Ox carries some excellent advice about how to approach what could still be a challenging year, even after last year’s trials and tribulations.  The Ox is a symbol of strength, focus, and determination.  It promises prosperity through hard work and sustained effort.   It is an animal that works in teams and nourishes the community in which it lives.  So, what does the Ox suggest for 2021?

  • Invest in relationshipstake time out for people.
    • Last year, we were forced to quarantine and seclude ourselves. We also learned how to connect over distances using technology such as Zoom and Google Hangouts.  Now is NOT the time to let these connections lapse!
    • This is known as a “Metal Ox” year, which tells us a focus on interpersonal relationships is essential. As it becomes safe to do so, find ways to see each other IN PERSON (a novel concept!), while still socially distancing, of course.  And in the meantime, keep using technology to build and maintain your connections.
    • Take the lesson to heart from 2020 about slowing down to focus on people in your work. Even as we “get used to” this new reality, there is still a need to care for your organization’s people, and celebrate those who have helped your organization and team still exist to this point!
  • Remember to practice self-careyour continued success depends on it.
    • Keep a positive attitude and please get help if you feel down.
    • Don’t let the stubbornness of the Ox get the best of you! It’s easy to feel overwhelmed as business resumes and our world speeds up again – you’re not alone in this.  Speak up when you need a break, even if it’s just a few hours.
    • This is set up to be a busy year, as we all recover from 2020. Celebrate increases in success, but be sure to balance it out with your own self-care (and the good habits you hopefully built for yourself last year!).
  • Work hard on your goals, and remember to bring others alongbecause that’s what it will take.
    • Many of us are ready for action after such a stagnant period, and have been building our vision of the opportunities for 2021. Persistence and patience as you push through barriers and work toward your goals.
    • YOU may have a vision and goals for the future – but have you shared those with your team? The true success of the ox comes from the success of the team!
    • As much as the hard work of the Ox is a gift, it can also be a challenge. You may find that stubbornness getting in the way of sharing new ideas and utilizing innovative techniques.
  • Focus on the future.
    • Don’t make the mistake of making only short-term decisions to conserve your resources (the turtle approach). If there’s any time to focus on planning for the future, it’s now!
    • Now is the time to invest in assessing your culture, determining how is has been changed by the pandemic, and deciding what you want to keep for the future.

Invariably, there will be those who prosper in the year ahead.  Remember the Chinese saying, “When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.”

Catherine M. (Cathy) Perme is a partner at Peterson & Perme Associates, LLC.

Contact The Amber Edge

Phone: 218.213.1303

e-Mail:  info@theamberedge.com

Sticking Close to the Bucking Horse

Sticking Close to the Bucking Horse

Often when working with organizations in the process of change, I encounter what I like to call “a bucking horse.”  This is a person or group that seems to resist change loudly and forcefully and generally makes life difficult for those who are tasked to lead it.  For me it was a union that was convinced that the plan and process I suggested would result in their jobs being outsourced.

Resistance to change is a reality that challenges every leader and consultant at some point in their tenure. There are typical ways to deal with this, ranging from strong-arming the other party to rolling over and giving up, which are all about power and control. There is another way, though – more effective but hard to do – which is “staying close to the bucking horse.”   It takes patience and courage, and the willingness to make oneself vulnerable.  I personally experienced challenges to my reputation, many sleepless nights, and intense bursts of anger, self-doubt and hopelessness — unlike the cool, collected facilitator that I always wanted to portray.

The Situation

I was hired by a large urban school district to conduct strategic planning with their school health program.   The district had over 45,000 students in nearly 90 schools, and it could not keep up with the growing health care needs of its student population.  Many children had no health insurance and no connection to primary health care.

As in many other districts with budget problems, the school health department had been severely cut.  By the time I started consulting with them, only 25 members of the school health staff were registered school nurses.  School buildings were actually staffed by health assistants, who worked part time with limited training.  They were to operate under the supervision of nurses; however, the nurses were spread so thin that they were often unable to provide it.  The result was that health assistants took on situations and tasks that were often outside of their training, and the school district as a whole was potentially exposed for a multi-million-dollar malpractice suit.  To make matters worse, the union representing the health assistants was now demanding that their members be paid the same as nurses, since obviously they were doing the work of them.

My Process Causes Concern

This situation was actually symptomatic of a much larger system breakdown that was out of the school district’s control – access to affordable health care.  As a result, I proposed inviting the larger community – including local health care providers, parent groups, government agencies, and foundations, among others – to join the school district in solving this problem.

Everyone loved the approach except for the paraprofessional union, which was convinced that this was simply a ploy for the district to outsource their jobs.  No amount of discussion could dissuade the union of this opinion.  In addition, their president (I will call her Mona) was a force to be reckoned with.    Mona had learned the ropes of union organizing the hard way, from the ground up, and was a formidable opponent.   She continually stoked the fire with rumors and insinuations.

Because I believed so strongly in the need to “stay close to the bucking horse,” I made sure that Mona as union president was a member of the planning team and included in every meeting that took place, along with the business agent for the union and several other key union members.  This was different from the normal “arms-length” approach that department leaders had used in the past.   However, I respected that Mona was simply trying to protect her members and was probably distrustful of management.  I believed that if she and union members were integral to the planning team, they would realize that no one had a preconceived notion of what was going to come out of this planning effort, and would begin to trust us and collaborate for a solution.

Practical Tips to Make This Work

  • Expect the horse to buck! Resistance to change is normal, and is more about fear of loss than fear of change.   Understanding — and helping others to understand — the difference between real and imagined losses is critically important.  In addition, helping people to tangibly experience what the future might look like can help them support a change.  
  • It is OK to be objective and not simply neutral. As a facilitator, I am trained to be neutral.  However, being neutral in this situation would have allowed misinformation to continue unchecked.  I needed to be objective, and to state the facts for all to consider on a regular basis.
  • Engage the larger system. Had we only focused on the conflicts between the union and management nothing would have changed.  It was only with the involvement and feedback from the larger system that we could craft a solution and help these two parties find common ground.   
  • Remain open and balanced yourself, and refrain from angry attacks based on your own frustration – that will only strengthen the resistance. It helps to get support from peers, mentors, or other trusted professionals so that you can maintain your own focus and objectivity. 
  • At some point, the horse will get tired and stop bucking.   If you have consistently shown that you can be trusted, you can step in and guide it to greener pastures.

The result?  Mona tried to have me fired by the school board.

I quickly learned that she had earned her reputation as being a disruptive force for good reason.  She worked hard to throw me off balance as a facilitator with a litany of complaints and accusations about my loyalties, the fairness of ground rules, and how I facilitated the meetings.  This was truly the biggest “bucking horse” I’d ever encountered.

Now What?

My client wanted her off the planning team, and my “loser self” was kicking in – really angry and wanting to teach Mona a lesson.  It would be so easy to do!  But I knew if that happened, we would be playing directly into her hand:  she wanted to prove that this was not an open and collaborative effort, that there was an underlying agenda, and that her union was not respected or accepted as full partners in the process. There were two things I decided to do:

  • I convinced the members of the leadership team to double their effort in communicating with all staff to provide regular in-person updates, so that everyone (including Mona’s union members) would have the opportunity to hear directly from leaders and judge for themselves about the facts, the realities, leader motivations, and the emerging plans.
  • I decided to get some help for Mona had figured out how to get to me.  I knew that I could compromise the entire project if I dealt with her poorly.  I realized that I could use some help to avoid getting personally enmeshed with this client.

With the help of a coach I hired for myself during this process, I began to see that I was confused in my interpretation of my role as a facilitator.  Usually, I saw my role as remaining neutral while working with often differing parties to forge solutions, which usually worked when all parties were faithfully engaged in the process.  However, in the face of active resistance and manipulation, staying purely neutral was not only unhelpful in this situation, but was also against my personal and professional values to let dysfunction go unchecked.  I realized I had to take an objective stance – that is, stating facts and realities, and pointing out patterns as they emerge, even if this information was not well received.

My coach helped me to detach my ego from the work that I was doing with this client, and to recognize when and how I needed to speak up.  This preserved my mental health over the next several months as the planning team started to shape the new organizational design.

The Crisis Comes

The defining moment came as I worked with the planning team to do a one-day “test drive” of the new organizational model with all staff and representative stakeholders – over 125 people.  The goal was to provide everyone with a sense of what a redesigned organization might look like, especially one that had a new and strengthened relationship with the community.   We wanted to get feedback on what processes needed to change.

I was told the night before that Mona was planning to stage a “walk out” to protest the changes.   I was completely disheartened.  There was nothing more I could do.  I braced myself for the confrontation. All morning I waited for something to happen as we walked through the various design elements and tested them out.   After lunch I noticed a buzzing in the hallway, as Mona and several other union leaders gathered.   Here it comes, I thought.

What happened – or better put, what did not happen – was amazing.  People were so engaged in the process that when Mona tried to stage the “walk out,” no one joined.   Even more surprising, Mona and the rest of her union leaders eventually came back into the room and began to engage in the process.

Two days later, the planning team gathered once again to adjust the new organizational model based on the results of the “test drive.”   We were stunned when Mona announced that although some people were “resistant” to change, she herself was fully supportive of the new direction.  Whether she fully embraced the change or simply recognized that her leadership was in jeopardy, it was not clear.   However, her whole demeanor had changed, and she was helpful and collaborative for the remainder of the workshop.  The “bucking horse” had stopped.

The Results

The next few years provided remarkable progress as the organization, the school district, and the community banded together to support children’s health.   Local clinics offered free immunizations to children at the start of school.  The school welcome center and the medical community worked together to get children connected to regular health care.  The school district received a sizable grant from the Centers for Disease Control to implement a new approach to dealing with chronic illnesses.   Within five years, the health of these school children was better than it ever was before, and no jobs had been lost.

When I think back on my time on this project and with Mona, I realize that in another life, I too could have made one hell of a union president.  She and I are both smart, driven, and passionate – she about her cause, me about my work – and I can be as bull-headed as she about what is important to me.  By the time we finished working together we had a grudging respect for one another.

The Moral of the Story

“Sticking close to the bucking horse” means recognizing that today’s opponent might be tomorrow’s ally.  It takes patience and courage, and the willingness to make yourself vulnerable in the process of change as well.

Catherine M. (Cathy) Perme is a partner at Peterson & Perme Associates, LLC and the author of “Confucius in My Cubicle: Practical Wisdom for the Leader in All of Us” (2017), available on Amazon.

Contact The Amber Edge

Phone: 218.213.1303

e-Mail:  info@theamberedge.com

Meaning-Making to Move You Forward

Meaning-Making to Move You Forward

Check out this “pop-up conversation” in which Amber describes what “meaning” is and how meaning violations play into our lives.  She suggests several questions, as well as “The 4-Room Apartment” by Claes Janssen, as ways to assess and make meaning of where you are now.


Amber Peterson, Owner of The Amber Edge, has added Public Safety Mindset Coaching to deepen our service to the people within Public Safety!  Follow her on LinkedIn for updates on this new offering.

Contact The Amber Edge

Phone: 218.213.1303

e-Mail:  info@theamberedge.com

Even Distanced, We Still Have Purpose

Even Distanced, We Still Have Purpose

In this “pop-up conversation,” Amber defines purpose and explains how vital it is to all of us, especially those who have lost jobs during COVID-19 or have been living in isolation.  Amber proposes using “The Decision Map” from Human Systems Dynamics Institute to decide how to move forward NOW with your purpose.


Amber Peterson is a partner at Peterson & Perme Associates, LLC.

Amber Peterson of Perme & Peterson Associates

Contact The Amber Edge

Phone: 218.213.1303

e-Mail:  info@theamberedge.com

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