Leading the Future of Law Enforcement: Understanding the Capacity of Employees to Think, Learn, and Achieve

As law enforcement executives transform their performance organizations to learning organizations, it is essential that they have insight on the theories and research related to the capacity of humans to think, learn, and achieve. They must understand how to best nurture these processes, while remaining cognizant of internal and external factors that may impact the abilities of their employees to grow and evolve. Creating a climate that supports learning, creativity, and ideas and solutions that are “outside the box” will provide a strong foundation for organizational growth and success.

While the basic tenet of policing, to protect and serve, has remained a constant, modern law enforcement must be willing to change its approach on how best to protect and serve in a society that is constantly evolving. One of the changes that is often overlooked, yet plays a significant role in the success of an organization, involves meeting the needs of employees through continual personal and professional development. However, many law enforcement agencies still embrace the ideas of the performance organization, focusing strictly on outcomes, regardless of where an employee is in the learning process. Conversely, a learning organization allows employees to “continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together.”