Building Resilient Organizations

Engaging all facets of public safety to bring about meaningful change by building a culture inside that creates public trust outside™

What We Focus on in Public Safety

As skilled project managers, we provide services customized to your specific needs in the public safety industry, including the areas listed below. Our process supports your change and development efforts to get the most out of your valuable time.  Plus, having come from Public Safety, Amber understands the work and the stakes involved!

What Public Safety Officials Say

We’re proud of what public safety officials say about us and our work with them!

public safety culture

High Engagement Strategic Planning

  • Our hall-mark is designing and facilitating highly-engaged strategic planning processes to fit your needs and resources. We work with staff and stakeholders alike to gather input, identify strategic priorities, and align your organization for successful implementation.
  • Because “culture eats strategy for lunch,” we often conduct a culture analysis prior to any strategic planning. By gaining a shared understanding of what your department’s culture is today and what it needs to be, we can help you more clearly define your strategic priorities and focus on what matters most.  In addition, we can design your planning process to start changing the culture immediately as you plan.

CASE STUDY:

Uniting a Large Organization to Plan for a New Direction

In a recent project, we were hired to conduct strategic planning for the Sheriff’s Office of a large county in Minnesota.  Their staff were spread out across urban and rural landscapes, they were experiencing clear silos between their divisions and within them, and the staff hadn’t been involved in department planning in working history.  They had a new Sheriff who saw the need for change.

Across multiple locations, divisions, and levels, we facilitated them through a high-engagement process.  The first step, focus groups and interviews, was a signal to employees that their feedback was valued (although they wondered, will anything change?  We’ve done this before!).  The following planning retreat included staff from all divisions and all levels within the large organization – the collaborative and open process helped employees feel that their voice was represented in the room and they had a stake in the organization’s future.  Feedback sessions (open to all staff across the Sheriff’s Office) allowed employees to directly hear draft plans from their leaders, gave them an opportunity to ask questions, and opened the space for their reactions and input to be heard.  This further solidified the message that “things are changing – and we want your input!”

All in all, after tactical planning sessions with each division and more staff feedback sessions, the majority of employees across the Sheriff’s Office were engaged in the process and helped craft the strategic plans to take them through the next few years.  Organizational leaders recognized how the investment of time and resources had a huge impact on the engagement (and excitement) of staff on this new direction – and there were a lot more people invested in the process to see it through!  

Creating and Implementing a Strong Vision

 In 2011, the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association (MCPA) was at a crossroads.  It had started in 1954 as a resource for Chiefs of police and Chief Law Enforcement Officers around the state, to provide training, networking, and a policy voice.   But it had become a “good ole boys” club – its annual training conference was as much about cigars and smoke-filled rooms and as it was about learning new techniques and equipment options.

But things were changing in Minnesota.  “Baby-boomer” Chiefs were retiring, and their replacements were often unprepared for the job. The need for consistent professionalism and standards for police executives became clear as unethical behavior brought a spate of chief firings around the state.  And because of the challenging economy (this was the Great Recession, after all) cities and towns were looking at mergers or contracts with other jurisdictions to reduce their expenses as well as help solve these problems.

Our original founder, Cathy Perme, was hired by the Board to facilitate strategic planning.  They wanted to craft a vision for MCPA and establish a strategic direction for the organization.   She developed a membership survey that measured satisfaction and engagement with MCPA, and asked Chiefs what they needed from the association.  She facilitated a planning team that reflected the diversity of their membership, with Chiefs from small and large departments, as well as rural, suburban, and city departments.

The vision they created for 2020 was an expansive one:

  • Providing proactive, cutting-edge training to CLEO’s and their command staffs so that they could meet the challenges of today and tomorrow
  • Statewide leadership for professional law enforcement and a strong legislative voice to guide effective and ethical policy development
  • Strong support for CLEO’s as they led their departments, from initial promotion to succession planning
  • Leveraging technology to make this accessible to even the most rural and remote departments in the state.

MCPA made steady progress with this vision over the next 10 years, with tactical plans that guided decisions and action.  Every three years or so, they rehired Cathy (to include Amber in 2017) to help them refresh their strategic plan with member input, and used the same baseline survey to track their progress over time.

By 2020, MCPA had truly accomplished almost everything they set out to do!  But then, the pandemic hit and the social unrest resulting from George Floyd’s death challenged the Association to reassess its role. What was needed to support both its member Chiefs and the state of Minnesota in professional policing, with integrity and innovation?  Amber and Cathy came back to help guide MCPA as they reassessed their priorities and goals – completely via Zoom to unite Chiefs across the state!

We look forward to seeing MCPA’s voice emerge even more strongly in the future for equitable and effective policing in MN.

Culture Assessment & Roadmaps for Change

  • We all want to work for an organization that values our effort and brings out the best in us. That’s why we START with an agency cultural assessment, to help you identify the kind of culture that is needed to attract and retain excellent officers and staff and produce outstanding police service.
  • We use research-based tools to help you identify and measure your current culture and your ideal culture, and work with you to develop proven roadmaps for change that unite top leaders and engage staff in building ownership in culture change.
  • By building a culture inside that creates public trust outside™, we help you keep valued employees and recruit exceptional candidates.

CASE STUDIES:

Focusing Energy with Clear Direction

In a high-performing mid-size fire department, leaders recognized they had very engaged and driven employees, and also saw “cracks in the veneer” that needed to be addressed.  They hired us to conduct an organizational culture assessment and facilitate development planning.  After the assessment, they realized how deeply the high drive within the organization affected their staff, and how that drive needed to be focused to be working in the same directions.  It also came out clearly that as high-performing as the staff were, they were generally conflict avoidant and had a hard time having hard conversations with each other.

Through development planning based on their culture results, a planning team (comprised of staff from across the organization’s functions, locations, shifts, and leadership positions) created simple phrases for staff to use and align around what’s most important, as well as tactical plans to make measured, meaningful progress.  

Since then, they have moved everyone through a full round of their tactical plans and have seen a difference in how staff are showing up and having tough conversations with each other!  This has allowed the department to hone in on its mission, create breathing room for people (in not HAVING to always be running at top speed), and get more clear on what matters most.

Leadership Development

  • Often someone is promoted to a leadership role without the training and coaching needed to be successful as a truly effective leader (no matter the title).
  • We have the tools and team members to help leaders at all levels of the agency develop their abilities in coaching employees, increasing their impact, and becoming a more cohesive team leader.

CASE STUDY:
 

Enhancing Leaders' Impacts on Culture

Two Police Chiefs, one from a large department and one from a small suburban department, wanted to engage in professional development.  They each completed a 360° assessment tool designed for leaders to receive feedback from their employees on the type of impact their leadership style has on the culture of the department.

This tool included invitations to twelve others within their circle (their supervisor, peers, and staff from various levels of the organization) to provide feedback on their impact, as well as the ability to assess their perception of their impact.  Each Chief received a detailed report and debrief about their current impact, how they compared to a research benchmark of other leaders, and what they could do immediately to have a more constructive impact on the culture of the department.  They then worked with us to create an individualized action plan for themselves to do just that,

This small investment of time and money gave them valuable (if not hard to hear) insight and honest feedback that leaders often want, but seldom get.  After completing the 360° culture impact assessment and coaching, one Chief said that his way of leading would be “forever changed” by this experience.

Helping Leaders Shift and Create Constructive Culture

A fire department was experiencing a lot of internal turmoil over the variety of leadership styles present within the team.  Amber was brought in to administer 360 degree assessments to help leaders understand how others viewed their styles and start shifting the group in a new direction together.  

Through tough conversations and much reflection, a number of leaders on the team found renewed energy for their position and a new path for themselves through their 360 results.  This has helped them to shift the culture for their crews, with crew members (months later) still commenting on how constructive their leaders have become.  One-on-one coaching with Amber has facilitated further insight for leaders, to continue to grow their constructive impact and show up in ways they feel better about (and better support the organization).

 

Mindset Coaching

  • Entering into a career in Public Safety tends to be very purpose-driven, though unfortunately, the requirements of the work itself also tend to have long-lasting impacts on motivation, satisfaction, and health.

  • Mindset Coaching supports Public Safety staff in buffering these negative impacts with actionable strategies to increase their resilience and fulfill their core needs.

  • In this one-on-one confidential environment, staff gain clarity on what they uniquely need on a regular basis to feel fulfilled and satisfied in their personal and professional lives, strategize how to fill these “gas tanks” regularly to find better balance, and plan next steps to make meaningful shifts that support their core needs in healthy, functional ways.

CASE STUDY:

Building a Sustainable Mindset for Public Safety

A small suburban police department embarked upon a wellness journey to get their employees more resources and bring them all to a healthier place in the midst of this tough time in Policing.  One offering they explored was our Public Safety Mindset Coaching Program™; this allowed each of their participating staff to sit down with Amber (a credentialed coach through the International Coaching Federation) three times one-on-one to explore their core needs and create a list of quick and simple actionable strategies to lean on when their tanks were running low.  

In the debrief, staff expressed how much this shifted their mindset to a more positive place where they were focusing frequently on the experiences and environments that were fulfilling, sustaining, and satisfying (versus mostly focusing on and noticing the negative).  They explained that this coaching program helped open the space for them to not only notice more often when they were flagging and help themselves take action to fill their cups, but also to notice and ask coworkers who seemed to be flagging what they needed.  This also brought the group closer together (having gone through this experience during the same period of time, albeit separately) and gave them peers within easy reach to reflect with and lean on in times of need.

Speaking Engagements and Workshops on Resilience and Mindset

  • Your employees are better equipped to serve their community when they have cultivated greater resilience for themselves, with a sustainable mindset to support their work through challenges and adversity. 
  • Giving your employees resources and space to intentionally build resilience for themselves helps to prepare and fortify them individually (and as an organization) to better succeed when “the big call” happens.
  • Amber is available to speak at your organization about building a resilient mindset to engage and energize your employees around their own well-being and share tools for them to apply immediately.

“They were organized, timely, and thorough — very professional!”

— Client Feedback

“We valued their insight and support, and their willingness to provide an objective view.”

— Client Feedback

Contact The Amber Edge

Phone: 218.213.1303

e-Mail:  info@theamberedge.com

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