Opinions Sat, 26 May 2018

Transforming Ghana Police into world class; the missing element - moral force

Suppose you put your house on the market, after having just remodeled several rooms – creating a master bedroom; installing custom-made cabinets, marble counter-tops, and new appliances in the kitchen; and converting the basement into an enormous family room. These improvements enable you to raise your asking price considerably. However, also suppose that the foundation of your home hadn’t been properly supported, so that it suddenly became severely cracked, causing the house to tilt; or, imagine that a sinkhole develop, so that your house slipped into a deep pit. Under those conditions, no one would want to buy it! You couldn’t even live in it yourself. If the house couldn’t be salvaged, your improvements to the interior would have been for nothing. In reality, a house is only as valuable as the strength of its foundation. And its foundation is only as strong as what it is built upon.

A foundation anchors a house to the ground. Yet, that foundation will not be secure if it hasn’t been built upon solid rock, giving the house stability. Similarly, the anchor of a boat won’t keep the vessel from drifting out to sea if it is not embedded in rock.

Denis Watley once said “The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them.”

The current Inspector-General of Police demonstrated his commitment to transforming the service by organizing a two-day Regional Commander’s Conference at the Sunset Hotel in Kumasi dubbed “Transforming Ghana Police Service Into a World Class Police-The Role Of Regional Commanders.” Sir Robert Peel, generally described as the founder of modern policing developed nine principles on which the institution operates. His seventh principle talked about Police Community Relationship.

Sir Robert Peel’s noble institution which started in 1829 in the United Kingdom has under gone several stages. The three main models or phrases put together constitute what we call “Democratic Policing”. These three main models are -Traditional Policing, Professional Policing and Community Policing. A nation with Democratic policing is a police state. In a police state, no one is above the law. Training and Development coupled with experience make them professionals more than under Traditional policing. These three phrases when used simultaneously are the pillars of nurturing the development of policing.

To begin with, in paragraph 4(a)(i) of the communiqué issued on 27/06/2017 reads, “Commanders and their personnel will act as change agents in the transformation process to deliver planned, democratic, protective and peaceful policing services to the public in accordance with the vision of the Police service and 4(f)(viii), “The welfare of Police personnel is paramount……………………………………………….”

A fuller understanding of the relationships between people, strategy, and performance may also require some innovative thinking in an analysis of data. Much of the challenge surrounding the introduction of a more strategically focused measurement systems involves the complexity of introducing any new systems. This is particularly true for measurement systems that let you assess relationships as well as levels.

If your measurements don’t fully capture the underlying organizational processes or outcome that really drives strategy, they will have little value. If you don’t also believe that you must take seriously the challenge of strategic planning for, and measuring the results you are likely to churn out nothing more than “garbage-in-garbage-out.”

In introducing innovative measurements of performance drivers to enhance service delivery and image cleansing, it is equally important to demonstrate the strategic importance of HR planning process and HR development for succession and continuity of organisation’s human capital.

Kurt Lewin once said “to act as change agents in a transformation process, the change agent should be trained to appreciate the linkages between the HR function, the organisation’s missions and goals, objectives and strategies”. One would say that the next step in measuring results is to determine specific objectives. Objectives are statements of an important and measurable outcome that, when accomplished, will help ensure success for accountability. The purpose of establishing objectives is to identify a limited number of highly important results, when achieved, will have a dramatic impact on the overall success of the organization. After objectives have been set, employees should receive feedback on their progress towards attaining the objective. Objectives are clearly important because they help employees guide their efforts.

A company that lost its workforce while keeping equipment will never recover. The public expects high-performance work system measures from the police. The police themselves must begin to identify deliverables within their strategy map. There is no doubt the process can be difficult. But trying to focus on the kinds of strategic behaviours that are broadly a function of competencies, rewards and work organization will enable the police to decide employee stability, improve Research and Development cycle-time.

A strategy map of the value-creation process contains hypothesis, or predictions about which organizational processes drive firm performance. Normally an organization must validate these hypothesis only after achieving targets of performance drivers and observing them. To begin the mapping process, the Police service must had taken a closer look at its strategic objectives and had asked the following questions:

• Which strategic goals/objectives/outcomes were critical rather than nice to have. • What were the performance drivers for each goal? • What were the barriers to the achievement of each goal? • How would the personnel need to behave to ensure that the police achieve these goals? • Is the HR function providing the police with the employee competencies necessary to achieve these objectives? • If not, what needs/needed to change?

These simple questions can generate a wealth of information about how well the HR function has been contributing to the success of the Police service – ranging from recruitment through succession planning to retirement. These discussions should be supplemented with a variety of other information-gathering tools, including questionnaires to test personnel understanding of the goals of the police service, and surveys to generate additional data about the police service’s performance drivers and organisational capabilities.

• How many exceptional candidates has the service so far recruited for each strategic job opening? • What proportion of all new recruits has been selected based primarily on validated selection methods? • To what extent has the service adopted a professionally developed and validated competency model as the basis for recruiting, developing, managing and rewarding employees? • How many hours of training do the rank and file receive each year? • What percentage of the rank and file is regularly assessed via formal performance appraisal? • What proportion of merit pay is determined by a formal performance appraisal? • What is the likely differential in merit pay awards between high-performing and low-performing rank and file?

Jeffrey Pfeffer, in his book “Competitive Advantage through People: Unleashing the Power of the Workforce (Boston, MA:Havard Business School Press, 1994), developed a set of high performance characteristics that he associates with an orgainsation’s stability to transform people into a high–performing employees. He includes selective hiring, high pay, incentive pay, employee ownership, information sharing and emphasis on training and development. Among the latter, he mentions employee participation and empowerment, narrower pay differentials across the firm, symbolic egalitarianism, and greater employment security.

Was the Five Year Strategic National Policing Plan adopted in 2010, a success or failure? Bernard Baruch, a businessman and a one-time advisor to U.S presidents once said “Whatever failures I have known, whatever errors I have committed, whatever follies I have witnessed in public and private life, have been the consequences of action without thought.”

The writer considers two types of competencies: first, differentiating competencies, which are those that allow us to distinguish between average and superior performers; and second, threshold competencies, which are those that everyone needs to display to do the job to a minimally adequate standard. The Police Administration understandably, equips all with threshold competencies in that they are given the basic training needed to display to do the job to a minimally adequate standard. How does the Administration then equip them with differentiating competencies that is, differentiating between average and superior performers. A behavioural approach to measuring performance includes assessment of competencies. Competencies are measured clusters of Knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) that are critical in determining how results will be achieved.

In the dynamic drama of contemporary leadership playing on our world stage today, there are many “characters” who lack character. Moreover, the trail of history is littered with many would-be great men and women who harnessed the reins of power in various fields-political, social, economic, corporate, athletic, spiritual and more. They wield great influence and/or control over the lives of others; many felt the weight of material wealth and fame-only to have it all disintegrate and blow away like dust in wind because of their tragic deficiencies of character.

A lack of strong leadership appears to have made a mess of the police service in the past. The police service is challenged by an absence of resolute leadership as it struggles under precarious times. Politically and socially, the police service is experiencing turmoil and moral decay- characterized by corruption, intimidation, tyranny, suppression, and greed. Does the Ghana Police Service seems to be an experiment in global self-destruction? Does it need strong leaders who have the courage to grapple with perplexing issues and seemingly overwhelming problems, as well as the ability to discover and implement workable solutions?

More than anything else what the police service require today is competent, effective, visionary leaders who are capable of mobilizing commitments, building enabling systems and linking people to strategy and performance. It is in this light that the writer would want to at least give credit to the current IGP, Mr. David Asante –Apeatu for taking the “bull by the horn”. John Kotter, a renowned businessman, professor and author once wrote, “We know that leadership is very much related to change, as the pace of change accelerates, there is naturally a greater need for effective leadership.”

The leaders who have emerged in the Ghana Police Service in the writer’s opinion, seem to believe that the primary qualities needed to address the troubles and demanding times of the service are: great vision; academic and intellectual superiority; dynamic oratory and other communication skills that have power to persuade; management expertise; and the ability to control others. However, time and again, history has shown that the most important quality a true leader should and must possess is the moral force of a noble and stable character.

The Police Service have had all these skilled leaders-yet their efforts to keep the service from sinking in that, the vital element capable of delivering planned, democratic, protective and peaceful services up to standards of international best practice of character is being thwarted by acts of intimidation and some miscreants in the service.

Frederick Hertzberg in his Two-Factor Theory of motivation (otherwise known as the dual-factor theory or motivation-hygiene theory) indicated that “The Motivational Factors” lead to satisfaction and motivate employees to work harder. He mentioned career development, feeling recognized and enjoying work. The “Hygiene Factors” he mentioned can lead to dissatisfaction and lack motivation if they are absent. He mentioned company policies, relationship with managers and co-workers among others as examples.

According to Hertzberg, while motivator and hygiene factors both influenced motivation, they appeared to work completely independently of each other. While the absence of motivators do not necessarily cause dissatisfaction, the absence of hygiene factors caused an increase in dissatisfaction.

The theory implies that for the happiest and most productive workforce, you need to work on improving both motivator and hygiene factors. To help motivate your employees, make sure they feel appreciated and supported. Give plenty of feedback and make sure your employees understand how they can grow and progress through the company. To prevent job dissatisfaction, make sure that your employees feel that they are treated right by offering them the best possible working conditions and fair pay.

He summed it up to say that “For true engagement to occur in a company you must first remove the issues that cause dissatisfaction-the baseline benefits offered that satisfy the hygiene needs of employee. Then you must focus on the individual and what they want out of their association with the enterprise” Transfers are part of initiating change only when it is very effective. Human elements must not determine when, how and where one is transferred.

My research took me to a particular region where transfer has become the most intimidative and punitive tool. Moreover a particular district has also been designated as punishment grounds. 98% of personnel stationed within this particular district lack motivation due to the similarity of their transfers which they said was meant to punish them.

These junior officers on condition of anonymity have told the hard truth about how they have been left to frustration as a result of these “witch-hunting transfers” which they say had affected them psychologically, socially, educationally and economically and had impacted negatively on their performance.

Transfers are part of every organizational set-up and must be used as a tool to enhance performance but not punishment. The question that arises is “how come some personnel have been at the same station for between 10-20 years?” what does regulation 38(4) of the Police Service Regulations [C.I.76] say. “……………….an officer shall not serve in any region continuously for more than 10years or at a station for more than five years?

Some men claimed they had been at the same station for 20years. Lasting change depends on individuals, and individual action is critical to the concept of management in the short- term, medium- term or long-term. Of course feeling that one has the power to effect change in an organization and actually effecting that change are two different things. “It is the difference between thinking you can rock a boat and actually rocking the boat.”

In order for police to see tremendous improvements, departments need to become and operate more like open systems. This has tremendous implications on the organization of police departments. The use of more civilians in auxiliary and liaison functions will generate closer ties with the community as well as free officers to do police work.

Internal communications need to be exchanged at the lower level to break the relatively rigid chain of command and to improve the flow of information. Officers should have greater discretion to empower them in their decision-making and to encourage more flexibility in no law enforcement situations. This will make police work far more efficient and will enhance performance on the part of officers who are expected to do more in a position of trust.

Police transfers and postings should be proactive, preventive and community-oriented. It is worthy to note the recent transfers made to the office of transformation which had nothing to do with the “whims and caprices” of any individual officer.

Recruitment should emphasize higher education levels and seek people-oriented, service/mediation centered officers. To date many of the officers still join the service having in mind adventure, “get rich quick” and the (sense of power because of the) use of force. A different recruitment policy will change this image and enhance the self-selection process to improve future police personnel. It will also improve the likelihood of police to become a respected occupation and also enhance the likelihood that will be equalized among other social services.

Training should expand on interpersonal skills and become more community oriented. This is particularly relevant as a relatively small portion of the officers’ training is dedicated to such issues.

Performance Management should serve the following re-enforce/serve inter ralia, the following purposes: • Performance management is to help top management achieve strategic business objectives. By linking the organization’s goals with individual goals, the performance management system reinforces behaviours consistent with the attainment of organizational goals. Moreover, even if for some reason individual goals are not achieved, linking individual goals with organizational goals serves as a way to communicate what are the most crucial organizational strategic initiatives.

• Performance management systems serve as an important communication device. First, they inform employees about how they are doing and provide them with information on specific areas that may need improvement. Second, related to the strategic purpose, they provide information regarding the organisation’s and the supervisors’s expectations and what aspects of work the supervisors believe is more important.

• Feedback is an important component of a well-implemented performance management system. This feedback can be used in a developmental manner. Feedback can be used to train employees and improve performance on an on-going basis. This feedback allows for the identification of strengths and weaknesses as well as causes of performance deficiencies( which could be due to individual groups or contextual factors). The administration should strive to create a “feedback culture” that reflects support for feedback, including feedback that is non-threatening and is focused on behaviours and coaching to help interpret the feedback provided.

• Workforce planning is a set of systems that allows organizations to anticipate and respond to needs emerging within and outside the organization to determine priorities and to allocate human resources where they can do the most good. An important component of any workforce planning is the talent inventory, which is information on current resources (e.g., skills, abilities, promotional potential, and assignment history of personnel). Other organizational maintenance purposes served by performance management systems include assessing future training needs, evaluating performance achievements at the various levels, and evaluating effectiveness of HR interventions(e.g., whether employees perform at higher levels after participating in training program). Officers’ performance evaluation should emphasize measurable community –oriented activities (contacts, coordination, assistance). Reward structure should acknowledge community- oriented efforts, offer tangible salary raises and intangible recognition for performing accordingly.

Developing a score-card and actually implementing one are two different things. Steve Kerr points out, any change effort has two generic elements defined by this equation: Effective Change = Quality x acceptance (or EC = Q X A ). Quality means the technical aspects of the change that have been clearly defined.

To mobilise commitment, change is more likely to happen when those affected by the change are committed to it. Commitment comes when these individuals have information about the change process, participate in shaping the process and behave as if they are committed. Research on commitments suggests that when people behave as if they are committed to an initiative, in a public forum and by choice, actually become more committed to the initiative.

Change is likely to happen when the outcome of the change is clearly understood, articulated and shared in both inspirational and behavioural terms. Aspirations energize and excite those affected by the proposed initiative’s outcome-definitions of behaviours communicate expected action. Both will become part of the successful vision statement of the Ghana Police Service - “To be a world-class police service capable of delivering planned, democratic, protective and peaceful services up to standards of international best practice.”

Columnist: Willington Richmond