As chief of the New York City and Los Angeles police departments, William Bratton experienced firsthand how powerful a force collaboration could be. His message to today’s leaders is this: A collaborative, networked organization is a successful organization.
Bratton, who is now chairman of Kroll Advisory Systems, offers several principles for leaders to follow in building a collaborative organization.
1. Collaboration begins with a shared vision by one or more leaders. In New York, Bratton and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani both believed in making the city safe.
2. Right-size the problem. The crime problems in New York were so big, they had to be broken down. Bratton’s team began by tackling the problem of fare-jumping in the subways.
As it turns out, the people committing petty offenses were some of the same people with criminal records. One in seven of the fare-jumpers had committed crimes, and one in 21 was armed when caught in the act. By tackling a manageable problem, Bratton’s team created a tipping point.
3. Develop a platform for sharing information. In Bratton’s case, one of the tools was Compstat, a platform that allowed for statistical reporting. He also made time to gather officers from all levels into one room for conversation.
4. Surround yourself with the right people. Once he was placed at the head of the New York force, he replaced six out of seven top officers with younger officers who were willing to try new things.
5. Measure and track performance. To make sure the team was reaching crime-reduction goals, Bratton tracked progress religiously, in real time.
6. Stay close to your support system. Bratton’s tenure in New York was brief, because he and Giuliani didn’t get along. Not so in Los Angeles, where he built such a bond with his mayors, “you couldn’t see daylight between us,” he says.
— Adapted from “Leadership Lessons From the World’s Top Cop,” Leigh Buchanan, Inc.