Rather than a pithy corporate slogan that looks good but doesn’t result in action, this center’s statement became the pathway forward. What started as the leaders’ vision had become something tangible. Every team member took ownership, and with unanimous buy-in, the values formed the foundation for hiring, training, daily operations, discipline, and termination.
Grand Junction center leadership coupled their newly inspired organizational culture with a concrete goal of becoming the best center in Colorado by a certain date. This specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound (SMART) goal paid off.
Grand Junction Regional Communication Center was named Colorado NENA/APCO Communication Center of the Year 2011 - no small feat for a center that just two years earlier struggled to attract, train and keep top talent.
Where does a leader’s vision come from?
Change can be scary. Why run the risk having a major change initiative fail and further losing employee trust?
When asked how she successfully inspires trust and positive change, Lynn Bowler, Support Services Manager for Elk Grove Police Department in California and 37-year veteran of the 911 industry, replied, “I have a genuine love and concern for people who do this job, and I’m committed to making things better for them, always.” Vision emerges from a leader’s love for those under her charge.
In James Hunter’s classic leadership book, “The Servant: A Simple Story About the True Essence of Leadership,” he qualifies this pronouncement, saying, "It’s not how you feel, but how you behave. It’s built upon influence, which is built upon service and sacrifice, which is built upon love. The leadership values of patience, kindness, empathy, humility, respectfulness, selflessness, forgiveness, honesty, and commitment all flow from this."
Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin, puts it succinctly when he says, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”
Action steps for improving PSAP culture
Start by asking some questions. What is your vision for your agency? How would you like to feel when coming into work each day? Then, no matter where you are in the organization—line employee, supervisor, manager, director, city manager or chief, you can help make this vision a reality by taking the following steps: