“Good to Great: Policing” – A PERF Report

By Agnovi on 24 October 13 Law Enforcement Related Materials

“In his best-selling book Good to Great, Jim Collins gives business executives advice about how to push their companies from ‘merely good’ to the rarefied world of greatness. This PERF reports explores how the principles of Good to Great can be applied to policing” (Police Executive Research Forum, 2007).

Chuck Wexler, Mary Ann Wycoff and Craig Fischer, the authors of “Good to Great” Policing: Application of Business Management Principles in the Public Sector, identify key components from Jim Collins’ Good to Great, and use these to demonstrate how public sector officials can take business-like ideologies and apply them to create greatness in the public sector.

Some of the key components outlined in Good to Great: Policing are as follows:

  • To be great is to focus your ambition on making your organization great. Police leaders strive for greatness by setting a goal for their agency, such as reducing crime rates by 50%.
  • Calibrating success in policing is much more difficult than in business, as policing does not have standard ‘business metrics’, such as ROI and profit margins, that can be used as a measure of performance. Police leaders need to set their own goals and establish a consistent way of measuring these goals.
  • Police leaders do not have the decision making power that a CEO in the private sector has, as agencies often have to answer to the public, mayor, city council, etc.
  • Police Chiefs have the ability to move departments into greatness with a focused mission that gets direct results.

Since the publication of “Good to Great” Policing in 2007, this article has become essential reading material in police training in many North American agencies, demonstrating that business practices typically applied in the private sector can be utilized for success in the public sector as well.

You may find this article, and many other law enforcement related materials, on the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF).