FAST TRANSIENTSTHE TACTICAL TANGENTS BULLETIN
Jim and I occasionally wander into the less tacti-cool and more administrative topics in the podcast, and we recognize that might be kind of boring but truthfully, administrators make the world go ‘round and some of the most tactical “battles” I have come to know, and learn from, have been those surrounding organizational politics. We’re just going to scratch the surface here but you can hear more about this in episode 25—available here.
What I want to present in this bulletin is how your ability to do simple things like read, write, and communicate affect your ability to equip, train, and prepare for your next mission or fight, whatever that is. A lot of door-kickers probably scoff at their often disconnected and disengaged command staff because they are far removed from the front lines. But good administrators get you the budget you need, and often have friends who can accomplish a lot more with a call or text than by jumping through all of the procedural hoops our organizations are plagued with.
So what are some of the tactics? Sounds simple, but have enough knowledge of the rules and know where to find a reference or regulation when you need it. Ask questions so you know how to navigate procedural checkboxes. Pay attention to the timing that will help you earn the approvals you want. One of my bosses has a habit of front-loading the chain of command with a request verbally to answer questions and get buy-in—THEN he submits the request the formal way. This makes it an easy “Yes” to sign off and move on. Closely related is your ability to write. Not just spelling and grammar (those are important, too) but be persuasive and gain support for whatever you’re putting on paper. Read Jim’s article.
Probably the most important lesson you can learn—that many of us learned the hard way (certainly the case for me)—is that being “right” doesn’t always matter if you aren’t the boss. The best thing you can do is make nice with people and gain small little favors of support. Sometimes we want to kick and scream and fight for our cause, and rally against the poor decisions or lack of leadership from above—but the first ones to suffer when we do that is ourselves. There is certainly a time and place to put the Nuclear Option on the table—If you know you have the high-ground and it’s important enough maybe you will have to go above someone’s head, or blow the whistle, or push the Big Red Button™. But that should always be your last resort. If you find a way to make them look good instead—you’ll earn their gratitude. That might mean difficult conversations—so have them! Persuade them. Lead them!
Mike is a full-time police officer and tactical medic. He currently works as a K9 handler, SWAT team member, and Police Trainer. Mike started Tactical Tangents as part of his fundamental purpose to save lives. His goal is to enhance the survival of police officers and concerned citizens by helping them become better, smarter, faster, and more efficient. His opinions are for informational purposes only and do not reflect those of his employer or any other government agency.
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Tactics can be both an art and a science. Mike discusses that sort of creativity in episode 44. Subscribe for new shows on the 1st and 15th of each month!
I wish I had considered this problem in the way you described much earlier in my career. Life would have been easier. I did eventually come to essentially the same conclusions, but it was an unnecessarily painful process (for a long time my learning process was “navigation by impact”). Listen up new guys.