February Blog

This month we will discuss:

  • Memphis
  • Quotes
  • Chesapeake News


This is more of a public service announcement blog.  Like everyone, I am heartbroken about needless violence that takes a human life.  I figure many smarter than me have already written eloquent articles and blogs concerning the recent problems in Memphis.  Below is an attempt to offer an action item that could help make a difference in the future.

My favorite law enforcement fellow is Ron Abernathy, the Sheriff of Tuscaloosa County.  Ron and I have been friends for several years and Chesapeake has done some work for him in leadership development, job profiling, testing, and some behavioral assessments.  A few years back, we began coaching deputies and others who may have had an incident where their behavior was not quite up to snuff.  The first thing we would do is run an emotional intelligence assessment and use those results as a coaching tool to help us focus on follow-up activities.  All involved, including those that were coached feel we have been successful so far.

Soon we discovered something – it seems we could have predicted these events before they happened.  We went over our data with Ron and his team and we decided upon a plan on testing everyone and discovering some potential problems before they became newsworthy problems.  Most of the time emotional intelligence can be improved.  In fact, by merely taking the assessments and discussing the issue emotional intelligence can improve.  Ongoing training and awareness with regard to one’s own emotions is important—perhaps critical with jobs such as law enforcement.

I am pretty confident that the officers in Memphis and in Minnesota that have been involved in tragic situations where police behavior was at fault would not have passed the EQ test.  Coupled with a good policy on how to use those assessments with regard to who is allowed to be face-to-face with the public, perhaps some of these incidents could have been avoided.

There are five parts to the EQ assessments we use:

  1. How well do you know yourself?
  2. How well do you control yourself?
  3. How well do you sense your surroundings?
  4. How well do you behave in your surroundings?
  5. How motivated are you to change?

With the score in each part, there is a listing of coaching and activities that one can experience to improve the EQ in that area.  An organization can also review their training materials to ensure these components are touched on.  The EQ assessments are ideal for prison re-entry programs that attempt to change the mindsets of those in their charge.  EQ is also a way to offer a measurement system that can be discussed that is backed by science.

Many times people do not do the important things in life (such as address issues like EQ or safety).  It is important but not urgent at the time.  However – if you continue to ignore the important many times it eventually becomes urgent.  Memphis is dealing with an urgent issue now.

Eons ago as a young engineer and manager that worked in plants, I got a ton of first aid, CPR, and other training.  Thank heavens my bosses deemed it important and I got the training.  One Sunday around 1982 in Chattanooga, Tennessee we were attending worship services at a small Methodist Church.  A gentleman in the back collapsed and was on the ground struggling.  I was able to administer CPR until the professionals got there.  The EMT told me I had saved the man’s life.  It was important training when I took it.  For the man struggling in Chattanooga, he was happy when an urgent situation arrived that I was able to prevent it from becoming more urgent.

When my bosses pulled me off the job to take this training it was a sacrifice to the operating units I was in charge of.  However, they had the wisdom to understand that there is always an excuse not to do the important things because we are always “too busy.”  There will never be “enough time.”  You must plant your foot in the ground and just do it.

This is not an expensive ordeal and if you are in law enforcement or know of someone who is, please consider forwarding this to them.  It doesn’t hurt to at least look at additional or a different way of adding value to our brave men and women in blue.  Down the road, it may save a life.

Dog Quotes:

  1. Everything I need to know I learned from my dog. When loved ones come home always run to greet them. Never pass up an opportunity for a joy ride.  Allow the experience of fresh air and wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
  2. If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you; that is the principal difference between a dog and a man. Mark Twain
  3. A man may smile and bid you hail yet wish you the devil; But when a good dog wags his tail, you know he’s on the level.
  4. Scratch a dog and you will find a permanent job. Franklin Jones
  5. I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult? Rita Rudner
  6. Anyone who doesn’t know what soap taste like has never washed a dog. Franklin Jones
  7. The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog. Ambrose Bierce

Chesapeake News:

Sometime in March, we will begin our “lunch and learn” series.  Our idea is to provide for free our ideas on becoming an improved leader.  We hope to find a “food partner” where it is also a good deal for them to have us draw some people to their establishment.

John Covington