This paper aims to transform the police department into a high performance stage four team. A stage four team possesses a possible intuitive understanding and awareness of the strengths and weaknesses that each of the team members possesses. Although the specific mechanisms through which a team at this stage functions coherently are not clear Balzac (2013) argues that the group at stage four has achieved synchrony of social signaling and body language. High-performance teams are comprised of team members possessing complimentary skills and talents, al which are committed to and aligned with the common goals of the department, or organization in general.
As such, these teams will exhibit high levels of innovation and collaboration at sustained levels of consistency. The cohesion within this team will enable them to surmount all barriers to delivery of superior results. More precisely, stage four teams have robust conflict resolution methods. This gives the team intense energy and a clear focus on the goals of the department. The end result will be a police department that has a collective accountability towards achieving departmental goals, a mutual trust among the members, all working together towards an effective high-performance stage four team (Katzenbach, 2000).
The State of the Team
In his attempt to determine the common indicators of underperformance across police departments, Schultz (2013) found several factors that undermine the effectiveness of the police department as a team. Regardless of state, low morale among the officers was identified as an indicator of low performance. Low morale among officers affects the entire department. This results in a laid back attitude at all levels of the police department. This has a detrimental effect on the performance of the officers.
Based on the findings of Schultz (2013), there is a general lack of pride among the officers in their workmanship. This is the result of low staff morale, often causing department executives to deem low standards of work as acceptable. This group dynamic permeates all the levels of the police department. As espoused earlier, there is a collective accountability for stage four teams towards the achievement of goals. Contrary to this, the police departments currently lack accountability. The lacking esprit de corps results in decreased input, often without consequences. This has a severe impact on the reputation of the police department. Without accountability, performance evaluations lose meaning. Currently, police departments accept mistakes without review, professional standards are disregarded and there is a liability to safety.
Additionally, the police department lacks bench strength in case of leadership voids in the department. This is because of inadequate and ineffective training in the police department. In order to enhance continuity in leadership, it is important to have cohesive training programs with overarching systems that coordinate the training of recruits and in-service training. The lack of such programs, as is currently the state in the police department confers legal liabilities and personal safety liabilities on everyone. Currently, the supervisors in the police department lack sufficient training, especially in advanced leadership training. This results in waning bench strength in various police departments. This means that any voids in leadership at the department cannot be filled by members of the team. A change in leadership might revert the team to lowers stages, especially when a new leader, with new philosophies is brought into the team (Balzac, 2013)
Transforming the Police Department into a High Performance Team: The plan
The envisioned plan of transforming the police department into a high performance team is coined to meet the needs identified under the analysis of the current state of the police department, and in line with the various stages through which teams are formed. It is important to incorporate these two aspects in the transformation plan so that is both specific and versatile to build the high performance team that is desired. In this plan, several changes are required.
The reintroduction of foot patrol in line with the ideals of community policing is important. In line with team theories, it is important to note that while the police department team forms one team, they actually work within a larger team that comprises the community members. As such, it is important to ensure cohesion in this team in order to enhance performance. In this regard, the envisioned changes will involve the deployment of field training officers in a foot patrol program that spans two weeks. This is important in order to elicit a mutual trust between the police department and the community. This is important in order to establish feedback mechanisms that are crucial in a high performance team.
According to Schultz (2013), there is a concern in the lack crime analysis in police departments. Without this aspect, police departments cannot become high-performance teams. High-performance teams operate within enabling environments, where their skills and talents can be utilized towards the achievement of the team goals. As part of this plans, and in response to the limiting resources, the police department needs to form partnerships with local colleges. Through this partnership, the police department can get interns to assist in low cost analysis of crimes using commercially available software for crime analysis. As discussed earlier, this is the essence of a high-performance team, where the ability to surmount any barriers is inspired by the collective accountability towards the achievement of goals. This is also important towards the recruitment policy of police departments, where interns with experience can join the team.
As espoused earlier, skills and talent are critical components of any high-performance team. In this regard, it is important to alter recruitment regimes in order to get qualified people into police departments. Recruitment regimes should also envision in-job training for the officers in order to impart new skills and to familiarize with the new developments in crime prevention. The changes in the recruitment regimes should consider the visions of police departments so that the recruits fit into the vision. This is important for cohesion and retention of officers. Additionally, it is important to consider the effect of time on the dynamics of the group. This has a bearing on the hiring regimes (Goodall, 2013).
For instance, many departments will hire officers with the highest scores from the academy. While this is admirable, it has its effects on the dynamics of the team. Due to the high rates of continual turnover of personnel, smaller departments will lose such officers to other department. This has serious effects on the dynamics of the team. Depending on the significance of this officer on the team, such a group could revert to the initial stages of group formation. When this happens frequently, the group dynamics may be altered significantly, thereby affect the performance of the department (Goodall, 2013).
As addressed in the analysis of the current situation, the lack of esprit de corps is an important consideration in transforming the police department into a high-performance team. It is important the officers take pride in their work; otherwise malaise will characterize their efforts. In order to transform this aspect to embody the characteristics of a high-performance team, efforts and initiative is required from the highest authority in the department. This requires he abolishment of secretive and harsh internal affairs systems that only breed mistrust at the expense of accountability and retards positive change in the long-term (Hackman, 2002).
Additionally, and in line with the indicators discussed earlier, it is important for the leadership to establish and expect high standards of work from their officers. This should be coupled with periodic reviews and evaluations. Contrary to practice, these reports should be studied in order to prevent recurrence of mistakes in the department. Additionally, officers and leaders as well should be held accountable for their actions, where unprofessionalism is reprimanded and punished, while professional behavior is encouraged and rewarded. This, in conjunction with the other discussed changes will bring pride back to the police department (Hackman, 2002).
Influence of Technology
Technology is very important in this transformation plan. It is important the police department remains technologically versatile because it within such an environment that the services are required. As discussed earlier, high-performance teams flourish within enabling environments. Building the capacity of the police department to deliver their duties is important, technological empowerment is an important aspect. This is because the criminals that the police department is trying to apprehend are at times using technologies that the police department does not possess.
Crime prevention strategies also rely on various technologies. The absence of these technologies not only impedes their ability to perform at sustained high levels, but also undermines their morale. It is important to note that availing technological infrastructure is not enough. Such investments should be coupled with training in order to master their use. This will allow the police department to confidently administer their duties with the knowhow that surmounts the challenges of modern-day crimes.
The aspects discussed above are not exclusively important in forming a high-performance team. While they form part of the plan to transform the police department into a high-performance team, another aspect of this plan is as important. It is important for the empowered and capacity built group to undergo the various stages of team formation in order to attain the characteristics of a high-performance stage four team. Although this aspect appears under the previous discussions in this paper, it is important to understand that the two aspects of the plan are fused together and occur simultaneously over a period.
The transformation of the police department into a high-performance team will, in addition to the aspects discussed above, use the S.C.O.R.E framework (Bawany, 2014).
The mechanism outlined above is important in taking the police department through the stages of team development. At the end of the transformation process, the high-performance team that the police department is envisioned to be should meet have a strategy and purpose. The police department, while attending team development workshops should work towards developing cohesive team strategies and purpose. Through the team development activities in the workshop, the police department will articulate a strong and uniting purpose that describes the common approach of the team members. The participation of the group in defining the key areas where results are required is essential (Bawany, 2014).
The police department is supposed to define the roles and responsibilities of the members of the police department. This is by examining the competencies of the members individually with regards to interest, personality and abilities. Through this exercise, there is an understanding of the contribution and accountability of each member of the team. Additionally, the police department should work on open communication because it is important to enhancing the performance of the group. This can be done through the various mediums at the disposal of the police department (Bawany, 2014).
As part of the framework, the officers should also take part in activities to enhance rapid response. This is to enhance the creativity and innovation of the offices so that they can respond rapidly to changes in their operational environment. This aspect can be developed through brainstorming in order to find creative and innovative solutions to problems. Finally, the team should work towards enhancing effective and exemplary leadership. This is by developing the ability to adapt the approaches to leadership depending of the prevailing tasks. This is important to the team morale, an aspect that was found deficient in the earlier analysis (Bawany, 2014).
High-performance teams feed in the inherent cohesion of the team. This is build through a common understanding of the purposes and strategies of the team. As proposed in the SCORE framework, a number of activities are required to ensure the police department transforms into a high-performance team. Even with the promise in these activities, the infrastructural changes outlined in the first part of the plan are also necessary. This is because they empower the police department by providing an enabling environment through which the group dynamics work to improve performance.
Balzac, S. (2013). Organizational psychology for managers. New York. Springer
Bawany, S. (2014). Building high performance teams using S.C.O.R.E., Talent management excellence essentials, 4(14)
Goodall, J. (2013). Recruit for attitude, train for skills: Creating high performing leadership teams, Educational, Management and Leadership, 41.2
Hackman, J. (2002). Leading teams: Setting the stage for great performances. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business School Press.
Katzenbach, J. (2000). Peak Performance, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, Massachusetts.
Schultz, P. (2013). Transforming Underperforming Smaller Police Agencies into High- Performance Organizations," The Police Chief 80: 28–33