Looking at Adaptability Through Problems, Opportunities & Situations

My wife and I love to travel. It's common for us to arrive in a strange country or new city with little more than hotel reservations for the first and last nights of our trip. We approach travel by doing extensive planning, but making few plans. Rather than being pinned down to a single, specific timeline or route, we prefer to stay as flexible, adaptable as possible. 

There seems to be a general feeling in complex adaptive systems community that complexity is a negative thing. Maybe I am biased in my sensing this, as I do associate with a narrow sub-culture in the greater complex adaptive system community. Maybe I am reading it all wrong. But I perceive a theme where adaptability relates to a preoccupation with failure, pessimism, and hardship. 

Adaptability seems to be often discussed in the context of how to handle problems or hardships. The bulk of conversations revolve around making adjustments when solutions or interventions aren't "working" and being resilient i…

Question Everything. Unless!

Question everything! Unless it originated in academia - in which case it’s a protected, off-limits, sacred, golden calf. 
Has society gone mad in demanding “evidence” or “proof” at such a rate and intensity? 
The world is infinitely complex, unpredictable, unstable, unknowable. There are limitless, emergent variables, with so much interplay, tension, and interdependence between them, that research can, at best, only identify loose clusters and relationships between them. In this realm, science may be able to give us a broad, fuzzy, incomplete image of the landscape. 
This isn’t to say everything is volatile, dynamic, and complex. Certain aspects do have a tighter/closed-loopedness, linearity, complication, measurability, finiteness to them. (Consider pharmaceutical trials in the medical field or interview & interrogation psychology - working within the constraints of the human body and mind.) This is where science and research give us not only a terrain map, but suggestive routes alo…

Weekend Building Blocks - Special Blogroll Edition - 26 JAN 2018

There's no value in collecting blocks unless you're connecting them to build something awesome! This edition of Weekend Building Blocks is a slight departure from my normal list of individual posts, podcasts, articles, or videos. Instead, I'm sharing a more general list of blogs, websites, and authors that continue to have impact on my mental models and how I think.

When people ask who & what I read or follow to learn more about the things I discuss, these are the people & the sources with whom/which I continually find myself connecting. In alphabetical order:
Chad Cote. Continually puts out some of the best slide decks on John Boyd & OODA that I've seen, with easy explanations on things such as Orientation Asymmetry & Incestuous Amplification. Thom Dworak / The Adaptive FTO. Retired police supervisor & trainer studying emotional intelligence, leadership, creativity, mentoring, human factors, giving feedback, learning methods, growth mindset. Bob Ko…

Scrum, Agile, & the state of American policing

I have a confession to make:
I have no idea what either Agile or Scrum are.  No, this isn't some sort of insider self-reflecting challenge. I really don't know what they are or what they're used for. (Can you "use" them?) Or where they came from. Or who came up with them. But they're capitalized, so I'm assuming"owns" them or something...? I'm seriously guessing when I say I think they're for computer or programming stuff.

But I'm pretty sure at least one of them involves Post-It notes.

And as a collegiate rugby player, I don't think we're talking about the same scrum.

As a policeman, you might say it's reasonable or expected that I don't know what Agile or Scrum are. Probably just as expected that someone in the industry that "uses" Agile or Scrum wouldn't have the vaguest idea on a list of terms that I use daily in the police station.

But in October 2017, I was invited to Enterprise S…

"A Year of Listening" Podcast | Episode 01 | Police Reform with Lou Hayes

When friend Colleen Powell emailed me out of the blue to ask if I'd be a guest on her new podcast, I jumped at the idea. Not because Colleen and I share our view of the world; she and I tend to disagree on much. But rather, I accepted the invitation because I believed in her mission for the A Year in Listening podcast:
I believe there is a middle place where even the most opposing beliefs can find common ground.  A Year of Listening Podcast is designed to reclaim the lost art of civil, nuanced and compassionate conversation about a variety of polarizing topics.  In short, we’re tackling all the topics your mother warned you never to discuss at cocktail parties.  The goal of this show is to help people understand the very personal experiences that often guide our beliefs in the hopes that this expands our compassion and empathy for those who believe differently than us.  For this, I admired Colleen's vulnerability and courage.

We decided to discuss police reform (link to show n…

When Police Measure What Doesn't Matter

I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, & express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre & unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts, advanced to the stage of science, whatever the matter may be.- William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin, 1883Cops understand loopholes. They get frustrated when criminal defendants are "let off" on charges because of some legal loophole. Conversely, cops are experts at exploiting loopholes in Police Department policy & other authorities of compliance. 

As a brand new policeman, I asked a gray-haired veteran about his feelings towards working in an organized labor union. His unforgettable response: "It's great. The contract spells out exactly how little work I have to do!" He was among a group of older policemen who figured out how ticket and arrest "quota" …

"Growing Adaptive Thinking" coming to Ohio in May 2018

Thom Dworak and I have the following Growing Adaptive Thinking workshops scheduled:
Jan 30th - Feb 01st, 2018; Chicago-Burr Ridge, Illinois; registration link.May 21st-23rd, 2018; Kent, Ohio; registration link.June 05th-07th, 2018, Chicago-Roselle, Illinois; registration link.Sam Todd of Black Cloud Operations reached out to host our workshop in Ohio. To maintain the interactive setting, the session is capped at forty (40) attendees. 
May 21st-23rd, 2018; Kent, Ohio; registration link

What's the philosophy of the program? Here's some background: 

Law enforcement culture tends to utilize a linear, technical mindset for training, intelligence, policy, operations, and supervision.  At the same time, police officers, supervisors, and command staff continue to struggle with complications from poor decision-making and leadership.  This antiquated framework is a carry over from an industrial education model primarily designed for efficiency via cost savings and the maximization of time…