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Q6 Performance Leadership©

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Introduction of the Q6 Performance Leadership Model©
Why Do We Need Q6?

Officer Jim Hamilton reached for the apparent subpoena in his pigeon hole mailbox. It was the same in every respect from those he had received previously.  Same size, same format and color of paper.  And while he had reached for similar subpoenas hundreds of times before, he could feel this one was different from any that he had previously received.  First, he was expecting it.  Secondly, it was a subpoena for a deposition regarding a civil offense in federal court for an alleged civil rights violation.

Hamilton hurriedly read the title of the subpoena.  Jim Cruise v. the City of Any town.  His eyes quickly scanned the name of the mayor, each council member the chief of police, his immediate supervisor but quickly halted on Officer James Hamilton, Jr.  His name screamed out at him in a more personal way than it had ever before.  His stomach turned, his face blanched and he felt curiously alone even though he was standing amidst several his fellow officers who were preparing for their coming shift.

This sense of loneliness was not new to him.  It had started the night of the Cruise incident.  Cruise was a belligerent drunk who was known for retaliation against responding officers and patrons of The Keg Lounge following long weekend binges.  On this particular night, Hamilton was the primary officer who had responded to, yet another Cruise initiated disturbance.  He initially had tried to reason with Cruise who had assaulted a patron of the Keg, but reasoning and talking had failed.  Hamilton reached for Cruise, his intent to arrest Cruise and had managed to place him in a Lateral Neck Restraint or LNR as it was known.  Cruise kicked at observing patrons and Hamilton's backup officer Randy Meyer.  The restraint worked, and Cruise began to go limp.  Hamilton released pressure and Meyer began to handcuff Cruise.  As he did Cruise regained consciousness and once again began to struggle and kick at Meyer. 

Hamilton increased pressure on Cruise until he once again fell limp.  This time he continued the pressure until Cruise was handcuffed and he and Meyer carried Cruise to Hamilton's patrol vehicle.  As he placed Cruise in the back seat of the patrol vehicle he was trying to recall the after treatment once the LNR had been applied.  Hamilton had received a one-hour instructional block on the LNR during an in-service session well over a year ago.

Cruise wasn't moving.  Hamilton moved beside Cruise in the back seat as he felt his own heart quicken.  He felt for a pulse in the areas of the carotid artery.  There was a pulse and the sign of breath, but Cruise was still unconscious.  Hamilton shook Cruise.  There was still no movement.  Officer Meyer wasn't very sympathetic.  "Just let him be.  He'll come to.  He's too hard headed not to."  Hamilton thought to himself, "Easy enough for you to say."

Hamilton said nothing though.  He got behind the wheel of his patrol vehicle and pulled away from the curb of the Keg Lounge with several patrons watching in a quiet but haunting manner. Hamilton from habit, hurriedly headed toward the police station.  His heart pounding even harder and louder as he constantly glanced at the rear-view mirror watching for some sign of movement from Cruise.  He saw none.

Once he arrived at the police station things happened so quickly he snapped out of his passive state.  It was all a blur.  It was also the beginning of feeling very alone. It was, in fact a living nightmare.

A month later Cruise was still in a coma.  He never regained consciousness.  Depending on who you wanted to believe, he may never regain consciousness.  The use of force review panel had found that while the level of force used was reasonable it was not applied properly and was therefore excessive.  Hamilton was reminded and later recalled that during the hour training session he had been instructed that the LNR should not be administered continuously for longer that some amount of seconds without releasing pressure. He just couldn’t recall how long that was. At the time, it had never entered his mind.  He was simply focused on controlling Cruise which was never easy to do.  Hamilton was to remain on administrative leave until the use of force committee made further recommendations regarding Hamilton to the chief of police. 

To the point: The Need

The above event occurred in a major municipality more than 20 years ago.  The agency had authorized the LNR as a part of their use of force response and had realized that they had not provided any training on its appropriate application and use. The training unit was tasked with providing that training for some 1200 officers.  The training consisted of an hour-long session and the instructors that provided the training had a four block of instruction.  There were no continued in-service sessions provided or planned for in the future.

The Cruise incident was front page and above the fold and there were cries from the community and plaintiff of excessive force and brutality.  Cruise’s family was suing on his behalf.  We were asked to evaluate the circumstances and to consult with the executive staff and advise them as to a response. 

There are one or more reasons why people fail to do a job properly.

  1. Failure to properly select.  We have selected someone incapable of doing the work.
  2. Failure to provide and improperly written and implemented policy and procedure.
  3. Failure to adequately train and equip an individual to do the work.
  4. Failure to properly lead, manage and supervise.

In the instance of officer Hamilton, it was obvious the reason for his failure.  While he had, in fact, received some training, even if it was minimal at best, as the 9th Circuit has stated “The issue is the adequacy of that training.”  It was simply inadequate training.  While he and the instructors who had taught, the session had in fact been “exposed” to some training, they had not been adequately drilled to the level of competency that would allow the agency to hold Officer Hamilton accountable.

Sitting across the table from us was the chief of police, the deputy chief, a major, a captain, a lieutenant and a sergeant; the last three assigned to the training unit that had designed and implemented the LNR training sessions. They indicated that their response would be to fire the officer for having used excessive force and settle the lawsuit. Firing the officer says that the officer either intentionally set out to do harm to Cruise or that the officer was incapable of learning to properly administer the LNR. Neither of which was true. 

Our response was simply, “This is not a selection issue, this is an issue of inadequate training.” Before I describe the response of the group let me first qualify them a bit.  The chief was a 35-year veteran with a master’s degree and a graduate of several prestigious executive level schools.  His deputy chief’s credentials were just as impressive.  Each that sat at that table were educated with advanced degrees and had to a person, 15 plus years’ experience.  We had worked with them for several years and knew they were educated, dedicated, capable professionals. 

When we pronounced the reason for the performance failure, they came across the table and almost in unison announced “Ah! No, no, we had trained him!” We looked into their faces and realized for all their education, training and experience, they thought that they had properly trained Hamilton! Again, for all their credentials and years of experience, they did not know or understand how people, predictably learn and grow and what it takes to get a person to a level of competency; a level of competency that then allows the individual to be held accountable.

It was then that we realized that this profession has a great deal of work to do to educate its officers, supervisors and executives as to what it takes to get an individual officer to that level of competency.  A level of competency that would eliminate incidents like the Cruise incident.

We advised them that you need to settle the lawsuit for a reasonable sum, but we advised if you fire Officer Hamilton and fail to acknowledge the lack of inadequate training you will destroy between yourselves and 1200 officers trust and respect. And while your officers may not state the reasons for Officer Hamilton’s performance failure in the manner that we will, all 1200 of your officers know in their heart of hearts that Officer Hamilton did not set out to do intentional harm to Cruise.

The agency elected to fire Officer Hamilton and settle the lawsuit for $12,500,000.00 in 1993 money.

Officer Jim Hamilton: Conclusion

On his way to provide the deposition, Officer Hamilton reflected on the liability session that he had received through the city's insurance pool, provided by the very consultants that were now advising the city on their response to the lawsuit.   It was a two-day, session that was directed toward providing the city's police officers tools to reduce liability and assist with defense preparation if necessary.

The instructor had made an argument that in cases of inadequate training, plaintiff would attempt to divide and conquer.  In other words, separate the officer involved from the agency attempting to show the officer as a victim of an insensitive, negligent city that asked the officer to perform complex tasks under stress without adequate training.  They had even roll played the situation showing that the city, would distance themselves from the officer allowing plaintiff to nurture the relationship and hopefully use the officer's testimony regarding inadequate training to highlight the city's negligence.  The instructor had even said that plaintiff's attorney would most likely be very supportive and friendly to the officer.  Especially if the city failed to provide legal, administrative and emotional support.

Officer Hamilton felt quite alone as he climbed the stairs searching for Room 103.  Finally, he spotted the room number and the sign that reflected The Mavis Court Reporting Conference room.  Hamilton cautiously opened the door and saw the court recorder and what was no doubt plaintiff's attorney given away by the current fashion and expense of his suit and coordinated tie.  The one who he believed to be the attorney stood up abruptly came around the table with his hand extended.  "Officer Hamilton, I'm Charlie Stoltz representing Mr. Cruise.  Please have a seat and during our time together today please feel free to call me Charlie.  Knowing what you have been going through, I won't need much of your time today.  Really, all I need to do is simply confirm your training or maybe I should say the lack of training, Jim.  May I call you Jim? You see, in some ways I believe you are as much a victim of a negligent agency as Mr. Cruise." 

For the first time in weeks Jim Hamilton began to relax.  At last he was dealing with someone that understood how he was feeling and what he had been unable, until now, to articulate.  Maybe he had finally found a friend.

The History of The Development of The Q6 Performance Leadership Model©

I have worked with and taught supervisory/leadership sessions for more than 30 years. In those sessions we have used leadership performance models that we believed were at least a piece of the missing puzzle for police leadership.  The failure of police leadership to understand how people and teams learn and grow created unfair expectations of the newly promoted and the inappropriate discipline of those who were often still learning. Those ill-timed reprimands during the early learning stages often laid foundations for the cynical and withdrawn. What happened to those that were at one time in their career so idealistic and enthusiastic with a focus of wanting to give back and to serve; their idealism often replaced by frustration, cynicism and regret.  While they are adults and own their behaviors, the truth is, so much that contributed to their reversal of performance was simply in the hands of their immediate supervisor and chain of command.

In the introductory case study, a young officer in a major municipal agency, was accused of excessive force utilizing a Lateral Neck Restraint (LNR). It was subsequently revealed that he had been provided only an hour of training in that technique; his instructor only provided four hours in the application. The force was reasonably applied by any standard of law, but the officer applied the technique inappropriately and the subject went into a coma and a law suit brought. The source of failure was obviously, the officer’s and instructor’s lack of training. As noted, the officer was fired, and the law suit settled. By firing the officer, the agency’s leadership was saying that he was incapable of learning and the root of the problem was selection and not training. It is a classic example of well-intended leadership’s ignorance of how we learn and grow, and the result is we “eat our young” in this business and by doing so, dramatically impact individual lives, careers and the morale of the very people we are sworn to lead and serve.

It was obvious that we needed a tool that would provide insight into that predictable performance process that spoke to their real world; a tool that could be taught to supervisors within a reasonable time period and useable day to day on the job. In April of 2011, a group of colleagues met in Richmond, Virginia to simply ask the question, “Could we possibly create a model that was descriptive of the experience of the public safety professional?” A model that would visually represent the ongoing never-ending process of individual and group development that would consider and include the trauma experienced by public safety professional in the routine performance of their work. After some seven years, with the collaboration of more than a dozen committed public safety professionals and thousands of uncompensated hours of individual and committee work, the result is the Q6 Performance Leadership Model©.

Q6 has been piloted to refine the model in other short-term programs in recent years, but The Gallagher Westfall Group is pleased to announce that Q6 has come on line in 2018. It is meant to be a comprehensive, dynamic, and integrated system for developing individuals, teams, and organizations to achieve higher levels of collaboration while improving the relationships of its members. It is a strategic system for leaders to help people maximize their performance by aligning personal and organizational goals while creating an atmosphere of mutual respect, and creativity.

Q6 capitalizes on the collaborative energies, skills, values, and belief systems of those you lead to support organizational mission, vision, values, and goals. Properly taught and exercised we believe it will engender an increased sense of ownership and personal responsibility for the organization’s success.

The various leader-follower levels challenge individuals to become self-aware and examine how their actions and behaviors affect others. It encourages personal and professional growth on a continuum of constant self-reflection. The levels challenge performance leaders to inspire greater achievement in their people. Performance Leaders share their own knowledge and provide key experiences to their people, enabling them to cultivate the wisdom to succeed independently of their leader. 

The Q6 Performance Leadership Model© is designed to improve communication and understanding on all levels. It invites everyone to share in the enriching experience of becoming the best of all leaders......the one who develops his or her people to the point that the leader is rarely needed.