Forrester’s Rules for Organizational Change Lessons for Police Leadership

For policing agencies that have ever tried, and failed, to engineer significant organizational change, a lesson from the past may hold the key to move from setback to success in their next effort to create change. In 1970, Dr. Jay Forrester testified to the Subcommittee on Urban Growth of the Committee on Banking and Currency of the U.S. House of Representatives.1 That testimony was later captured in an article written by Forrester capturing the essence of what he said. More than four decades have passed since Forrester’s testimony; however, his thoughts and lessons have never been more germane. In fact, the “rules” for effective change he presented can be a road map to make changes that last and resolve the complex problems facing law enforcement today.