Lou Holtz who once coached Notre Dame used the acronym, "W.I.N." or "What's Important Now" to motivate his players and keep their focus on winning. Holtz wanted his players to ask themselves "What's Important Now" at least 35 times a day. When we first joined the police department we each had a set of values and an idea of what was important to us at that time. Ask yourself; "What's Important Now."
While you think of the thoughts that popped into your mind to this short but very important phrase; has the answer changed since you first put on that badge? Family; compassion; friends; honesty; integrity; doing what is right; getting promoted; securing a special assignment; your partner. Many of us came into law enforcement with the idea and desire of helping people. We developed a level of integrity and honesty as we matured and became adults. Our values were shaped and what was important in life reflected our values. What's Important Now?
We became police officers and began to see a different world. We experienced the human race at its extreme and our values began to change. The changes for some were drastic and not always for the better. Some of us maintained our core values; and what was important when we became police officers, changed very little. Why did some of our values change more than others? Why is it that what was important when we joined the world of law enforcement, for some, was no longer on the radar of importance? Could it be the "What's Important Now" changed?
As we gained experience and begin to shape our careers, we either maintained our values or we began to compromise them to meet our desire for advancement or "What's Important Now." We began to do and say things that reflected "What's Important Now;" and this in some cases began to challenge the values once held. Some failed to conform and challenged the changing values of others. These individuals became known as "trouble makers" or "malcontents" or "disgruntled" for challenging the status quo of those whose values changed. So the question remains, "What's Important Now?"
The higher the level of decision maker, the less that decision over time, appeared to be value based. The further removed from the decision makers rank or position one stood, the more he or she seemed to question or challenge these decisions. Compromising ones values came easy for some and never occurred to others. "What's Important Now" seemed to change the values of some and not for the better. Getting promoted began to be the, "What's Important Now."
The process has begun anew for the next round of promotions. The values of those participating will be tested as the process plays itself out. I challenge each of the candidates to ask yourself "What's Important Now" as you move through the process. I challenge you to first evaluate your values and rank them in importance. Write them down and keep them fresh in mind as you start playing the game. Changing or compromising ones values so you can grab that carrot held just out of reach is not what success is about.
We need great leaders whose decisions are driven by solid values. In today's climate, honesty, integrity and compassion are the values most important for a leader to possess. If a leader can act and make decisions that are driven by honesty and integrity and be compassionate in doing so, he or she has succeeded. We have enough leaders whose decisions are not value based. Your challenge will be to challenge the status quo and maintain your values as you ask yourself, "What's Important Now."