The CopDoc Podcast: Aiming for Excellence in Leadership

TCD Podcast - Vicki Herrington Ep45 - Interview with Director of Knowledge, Australian Institute of Police Management - Session 2

October 25, 2021 Dr. Vicki Herrington Season 2 Episode 45
The CopDoc Podcast: Aiming for Excellence in Leadership
TCD Podcast - Vicki Herrington Ep45 - Interview with Director of Knowledge, Australian Institute of Police Management - Session 2
Show Notes Transcript

In this brief continuation, we chatted with Dr. Vicki Herrington, the Director of Knowledge at the Australian Institute of Police Management (AIPM).  We talked about policing, police leadership, training, and approaches to reflective learning on the issues confronting policing and the rising dissatisfaction of police service delivery, especially in urban areas in the states.  

A fascinating interview with Vicki, an international thought leader, showing the similarities and differences in policing and police leader training from down under!

[00:00:00.030] - Steve Morreale

OK, so we're back with Vicki Harrington, the Director of Knowledge at the Australian Institute of Police Management. And another question that came to mind was, what are the three things, Vicki, that you feel police need to focus on, need to work on?


[00:00:13.500] - Vicki Herrington

That's really interesting that you ask that, Steve, because actually ties nicely with the paper. I just wrote for the police chief magazine out of the IACP we were talking about in the face of complexity, what the hell do we do as police organizations? And we sort of posited that there were three things the police organizations needed to invest in the future. And the first one of that is being able to think as a systems actor. So being a systempreneur, if you like, rather than necessarily being a victim of the system as things tend to stick.


[00:00:43.350] - Vicki Herrington

The second thing that we thought was really important for police to invest in is social capital, and by that I mean social capital with other organizations. And in Australia certainly and I'm absolutely certain in other parts of the world, a lot of inter-agency confusion is masked by the bonds that we have with other people in similar roles to us in other agencies. So, as we think about complex problems and we think about the need to engage with different sorts of agencies, then we need to think about how we're going to build that social capital and those social bonds with this.


[00:01:13.200] - Vicki Herrington

But one way you do, of course, is through leadership programs, because you go somewhere where you're in a safe and trusting environment and you're talking about your vulnerabilities as a leader, then you build pretty good social capital inside. And the third thing we thought that was really important to engage in policing, to invest in was diversity of thought. So, we spent a lot of time in organizations talking about diversity, and it's great that we do. And that's an important part of the puzzle.


[00:01:37.560] - Vicki Herrington

But if we still end up thinking the same way that we're not really getting the benefit of all of that diversity, so how do we engage in better diversity of thought? And of course, part of that is creating environments in which people feel psychologically safe to voice a different perspective. So, I think that that diversity then we're not really giving ourselves a fighting chance, is facing increasing complexity.


[00:01:57.660] - Steve Morreale

And so it seems to me that part of what you're talking about and I think that's quite interesting, that you'll be writing for an audience of American. Well, it's international, but generally an American population, American, Canadian population of police chiefs who read this. But I'm made to think that why we don't do a better job of bringing disparate points of view together in a training or in a facilitated workshop where you're bringing not only police, but you're bringing health care and you're bringing community leaders and you're bringing business leaders to try to figure out, identify what a problem is and chip away at perspective, at points of view and then working towards a solution.


[00:02:38.190] - Steve Morreale

Where could we do that? Where would you do that in Australia? Where might we do that in America, where you're not just with like-minded people, you're only with police chiefs, you're only with fire chiefs.


[00:02:49.890] - Vicki Herrington

It's a really, really good point. So in Australia at the AIPM, so we have that multiagency perspective. And I spoke before about sometimes the tax office will be there or Border Force will be there and policing will be there. And we know that each organization has its own different kind of vibe and culture. So there is a degree of diversity there. But we're still we're still kind of thinking about things from a very policing perspective. You're absolutely right.


[00:03:14.760] - Vicki Herrington

There is a need to broaden that, particularly when we're talking about complex social problems. So you could do that potentially in something like a leadership program where you're not talking about an issue or or and I should say you can do it. Also, we need to create spaces for better debate, focusing on a particular issue and some other bits of work that I'm engaged in across the world that are looking to create spaces for debate. So we're looking to bring disparate perspectives together.


[00:03:40.830] - Vicki Herrington

Even in the academic world, we don't bring disparate perspectives together. You go to the crim conference, so you go to the site conference. So, you know, we don't do that well and we're not incentivized to do that well in the university world either. Right. Because interdisciplinarity is not just about to say that.


[00:03:55.650] - Steve Morreale

But you're right. I mean, we're starting to push in that direction. But what you're saying is there's something going on in university that says we need to talk with one another and stop with the silos and understand that psychology can help, criminal justice can help, communications, can help Sociology, can help urban studies. So let's get people together to talk. And I think we're talking about the same idea of bringing different people to work on world issues with different perspective.


[00:04:24.370] - Steve Morreale

And I think it can come up with a much stronger and robust solution.


[00:04:28.620] - Vicki Herrington

Yeah, absolutely. So that's some of the stuff we're trying to do and the global voices such network that we're setting up at the moment. So that's that's a really exciting project to try and bring those disparate voices together across the world to create some action grounded in authentic humanistic dialog is sort of the angle that we're taking. And if we can do it, if we can't even do it in the academic world, then it's really tricky to try and encourage other folk to do right.


[00:04:53.730] - Vicki Herrington

So we have to be able to do that, do that in universities as much as we're doing that, trying to do that in the professions and the social fabric of organizations that are engaged in.


[00:05:02.930] - Steve Morreale

You know Vicki, having been a second, I guess, a second career academic, one of the things that I recognize when I'm when I'm in faculty meetings and I'm talking to them in meetings with with university-wide folks, is the feeling that very often when you're teaching and this may happen even sometimes at the IPM, that we operate as almost we all have our specialties and we operate quite often in silos and as independent contractors.


[00:05:29.990] - Steve Morreale

And so, it's the conversations that you can have and the modeling that you can start having it at your faculty meetings or at your staff meetings to talk about; So what are you doing? What's going on, what's working? What are your difficulties? And to have somebody open that conversation very often opens the eyes of somebody who's been working in an office right down the road or right down the hall and doesn't know what you're doing because you're all immersed.


[00:05:53.720] - Steve Morreale

I'm watching your reaction to that. But can you see value in just opening that conversation or is that something you do routinely?


[00:06:00.710] - Vicki Herrington

I mean, I think we're rewarded for being experts on me, particularly our level. We're rewarded for being experts. So it's very difficult for expertise sometimes, but being able to be honest and humble about your expertise, the really important part of being able to start those sorts of conversations. I think the other thing, we shouldn't be in any doubt that we need to incentivize this stuff as well. Right. What do we do that incentivizes interdisciplinarity in academia?


[00:06:25.790] - Vicki Herrington

Very little. You're rewarded for how many papers you pumphouse know how many different departments you engage with in order to pump these papers out so we can think more cleverly about how we can incentivize the sorts of behaviors that we want to see. And then that will incentivize the sorts of debates that we can actually have because we are putting interdisciplinary ideas on the table. So I think there's yeah, sure. It's about individuals wanting to change the conversation. Absolutely important and valuable and important leadership activity.


[00:06:54.380] - Vicki Herrington

But it's also about trying to think through what the incentives are and how we might reduce the incentives for individual expertize and increase the incentives for collective wisdom.


[00:07:03.110] - Steve Morreale

Broader thinking, which is  amazing. And one of the things that I wrote down while you were talking about is that we have to recognize our limitations. When we write a paper, we have to say what's limitations? But we're very, very reticent to say, well, I've got some limitations.


[00:07:15.530] - Steve Morreale

You might see me as an expert, but I have my limitations. I think that's important. While I have you for this second session, let me ask another question. What do you read or listen to broaden your perspective? What do you read for fun? I guess that's the question.


[00:07:31.190] - Vicki Herrington

Well, having just finished an MBA, I haven't had much time to read. I have to be honest.  But, it's a good point, because actually the the reading I did through my MBA was very much in a completely different feel like I'm a social scientist dyed in the wool. I came up through the criminal criminology pathway. Really. So when I, I read things about business, actually sparks different thoughts and I try and read broadly. I'm looking at my the pile of reading I've got on my desk


[00:07:56.120] - Vicki Herrington

Two books stand out to me, actually three books stand out to me, Jonhn Kay's and Mervyn King. Radical uncertainty. How do you deal with that kind of risk in a in a in an uncertain world? I think that's really important. Something called the New Long-Life, which is André's Thottam, Lynda Gratton. So Lynda Gratton, she's an Org Psych at the London Business School, and she wrote a book which changed my life a few years ago called The Hundred Year Life. And it talks about the different components of living a good life around investing in finances, investing in health, investing knowledge, investing in networks in particular, and how we pay into a draw down on those particular components of our life throughout our lifespan and being able to be a bit strategic about how we do that anyway.


[00:08:39.980] - Vicki Herrington

Having read that book, I then went and did the MBA to invest in my knowledge and into my networks and very much drilled down on my finances, I might add.


[00:08:47.870] - Steve Morreale

It wasn't free, huh?


[00:08:47.870] - Vicki Herrington

It was not free. I got a scholarship, but it was not free. Yes. So I was reading that. I just finished reading the sequel, The New Long Life, and I say it's a great, great book to read. And then at the bottom of this pile, which I think should be a rule, rule for life is The No Asshole Rule.


[00:09:05.760] - Vicki Herrington

I just think, you know, these are really valuable book for everyone to read. And sometimes leadership is really hard. Sometimes it's pretty simple.


[00:09:15.170] - Steve Morreale

Love the title.  I bought it based on the title. I can tell you how can you not buy a book called The No Asshole Rule? But you said arsehole. But if we say assholes, yeah, I've got to be careful. But but listen, I want to finish with one question. Are you a glutton for punishment to go back for an MBA? And the reason I ask that is not I think it's admirable that you did that. But when you began to look at it from the business aspect, there had to be I can't believe that you weren't thinking every step of the way, how can I interpret this and apply it and adapt it to my world and to the world of policing and public safety.


[00:09:55.680] - Steve Morreale

Was that not underneath everything you were reading?


[00:09:58.520] - Vicki Herrington

I think so.  It was absolutely exhausting because of that, because not only are you digesting it as a student of business, you're trying to shift it in your brain and apply it to the world of public service as well. So, no, I think it was incredibly valuable that even though all the way throughout there were moments of what the hell am I doing this for? This is makes no sense. I have no interest in business finance.


[00:10:19.560] - Vicki Herrington

I've got no interest in accounting. But still, these are really important things. And ironically, those ended up in my two best marks.


[00:10:26.190] - Steve Morreale

Well, but, Vicki, they're applicable because while finance business finance is one thing, finance on the other side, the public finances is pretty important and sometimes we don't understand that. Well, and we could take some lessons from business, finance and other topics, as you said. So anyway, you're done.


[00:10:41.520] - Vicki Herrington

I am done. I did well as well. I'm really, really happy.


[00:10:46.020] - Steve Morreale

That's great. Well, I want to finish up and I want to thank you again for this second session. Getting to talk with you has been very, very enlightening, I have to say. And I appreciate the opportunity and the feedback that you provide, and I hope other people take it, take some or glean some good information from what you had to say. So we've been talking with Dr. Vicki Harrington from the Australian Institute of Police Management. You've been listening to The CopDoc Podcast Steve Morreale from Boston, and we've been talking to Vicki in the UK.


[00:11:16.470] - Steve Morreale

Vicki, thank you again so much.


[00:11:18.720] - Vicki Herrington

My absolute pleasure.