A Message from

the front lines

A guest post by Sergeant Adam Shaw

Wells, ME Police Department

June 3, 2020

I just signed up for a detail. I signed up for a detail for a protest on Saturday for George Floyd.

If I’m being honest, I’m scared. Not scared of doing the job I’ve been doing for years. I’m scared of what can be.

I took this detail to uphold the oath I gave to protect and serve, and am bringing awareness to the wrongful death of a man.

Instead I’ll be seen as an enemy.

I’ve always taken pride in making sure the public trusts me as I have been trusted with a huge responsibility to all. But because of a bad cop, that trust is gone right now.

I get it and am not mad at people who lost trust, I just hope they can see it’s not the majority that are bad. I hope to have no one like that officer in this profession, but that’s like hoping for no crime in this world.

It makes me sad that the planning of this detail must take place; that a man’s death is being used as an excuse to do more wrong to the world.

Again, I’ll admit that there’s an extremely small percentage in my profession who are like the officer in Minneapolis. I’ll further admit that I am so proud and happy that I haven’t had to work with any officers like him because our agency won’t tolerate it and does an excellent job of vetting them out.

I absolutely love my job and will put myself in harms way for any person. It has never mattered who was in trouble, or who was causing the trouble because all I see in both situations is a broken human being. A human being who is struggling and calls out for, and wants our help. Or a human being who is in a situation where professionally they need to be held accountable for what has happened.

That being said they still need my help. I help by holding them accountable and hoping that in doing so it makes a positive change for them in their life to be able to bounce back from a mistake that causes us to cross paths. But I also hope that because we had to cross paths, they felt like they got the help they needed in a tough time.

I don’t hate anyone in this world. It is too exhausting and tiresome to do that. Hatred has no place in this world from anyone at anytime. Many of times in my career, people have said to me “I’m sorry” for what they’ve done to make us cross paths. I explain I’m not there to judge them or make them feel worse about what has happened. I’m here to make what is most likely their worst time in life a slightly better one, and hope that change can happen from it, because it can if people put in the effort to make that change.

The answer to George Floyd’s death isn’t rioting and hurting more people. The answer is to love and respect everyone as if they’re the most important person to you. Don’t judge them for the wrongs they have done, but instead care for them because for some reason they are hurting.

The other answer is to have someone that you can rely on in your life. A great person and leader I’ve had the pleasure to learn from in my life calls them your “check sixer.” This person is someone you can rely on to keep you in line.  A check sixer isn’t someone who may be your closest friend, but it is someone who can say the tough thing to you when you need it.

I hope this writing finds you well. I hope we all learn to love and respect each other more. There are no sides, there is only life. No matter who they are or what they may have going on, just show them respect. Figure out a way you can help them as they clearly need the help because they are hurting in some way probably. I will never stop showing up to work to serve everyone, and if need be lay my life down for you. I am honored to call myself a Police Officer. I am honored to be your fellow citizen, neighbor, friend or loved one. I am honored to be surrounded by so many brothers and sisters in blue.

Stay safe and God bless.

Share your thoughts with us and feel free to reach out to Sgt. Shaw at ashaw@wellstown.org 


“I’ve always taken pride in making sure the public trusts me as I have been trusted with a huge responsibility to all.

But because of a bad cop, that trust is gone right now. “

K-9 Patrol Sergeant Adam Shaw at K-9 Paint Night in Wells, Maine


“The answer to George Floyd’s death isn’t rioting and hurting more people. The answer is to love and respect everyone as if they’re the most important person to you. Don’t judge them for the wrongs they have done, but instead care for them because for some reason they are hurting.”

“A great person and leader I’ve had the pleasure to learn from in my life calls them your “check sixer.” This person is someone you can rely on to keep you in line.  

A check sixer isn’t someone who may be your closest friend, but it is someone who can say the tough thing to you when you need it.”



  • Police leaders must ensure that their use of force policies are being followed and that officers are well-trained
  • Police leaders must insist on personal accountability of all officers in their ranks
  • Police leaders must look for officers and instill in them a sense of collegial accountability

Street Justice from the thin blue line: A view from the top

What Lessons Must Be Learned From The Unnecessary Death of George Floyd

By Dean Crisp

This picture is not police service; nor protection of the innocent; nor is it serving our communities; and it is NOT anything close to what all officers swear to uphold as they raise their hand in servitude.



This is pure and simply, misguided & illegal street justice handed out by a weak, fearful, and angry cop that resulted in the death of George Floyd.  Every eye that can see and ear that can hear clearly is witness to the horrific act on George Floyd in the name of police work. 

This is not the Police Work that 99.9 percent of our Great Officers do everyday. This is pure and simple three things:

  1. Abuse of force
  2. A complete lack of personal accountability and
  3. A complete lack of collegial accountability in that 3 other officers turned a blind eye to a rogue cop.

I realize that most police agencies have aggressively reformed their use of force policies to adjust to modern standards. And, make no mistake this has helped, but this is not enough.  I have found that even a great policy in the hands of ill-intended individuals does not usually produce the desired results.

We as Police Leaders Should Do More. Not only should we periodically review policies related to incidents such as this, but we MUST put as much effort into what I believe are the keys to Becoming a great Police Officer.

1. Personal Accountability

2. Holding Others Accountable.

Finding those characteristics begins early at the selection process for officer, but often times are forgotten or weakened by our cultural norms and job protections. (a.k.a strong police unions and the blue wall of silence) One can be personally accountable, but feel pressure to stay silent while another officer is doing wrong for fear of retribution.

Imagine if just one officer on the scene had the courage to go to the officer and say “Hey take it easy., get your knee off his neck, Let’s put him in the car,”?  This would have resulted in a life being saved; a beautiful American city being saved from the riots and potential destruction we have seen; and the police-community relations in tact.

I do not have all the facts in the case nor do I need them. I witnessed with my own eyes three other cops allowing one of their own to continue to apply improper use of force leading to the death of a person. A person who had clearly been subdued and taken into custody.  This did not need to happen. It should not have happened.

Entrusting your care to the police is one of the fundamental foundational values that policing was created upon. Especially after being arrested and cuffed. Once the fight is over it’s over. A handcuffed suspect is just that “handcuffed.”

This senseless use of excessive force has set police community relations on its heels and will cause countless good officers to be injured or killed.

How can we as police officers encourage people to follow our commands and instructions and willingly give up their freedoms after witnessing such a blatant use of force and denial of basic civil rights most especially after the subject had been arrested and cuffed? 

Absolutely, I know and support the policies that everyone should follow police commands and do as an officer instructs, but we have to wake up to the reality that acts such as this create fear in people.

I truly am hoping this will not result in more and more unnecessary uses of force and a cycle of conduct that is detrimental to society as a whole.  Trust in the police is a fundamental principle that keeps our society in balance.  Without it no one is safe. 

Rest in Peace George Floyd.

I trust your death will awaken all of us to the fundamental principles of personal accountability and holding others accountable. And that those two principles will become a major priority for US as the Police in the future. 

Dean Crisp

Weigh in with your thoughts on this important topic



Dean Crisp, Author of Leadership Lessons From The Thin Blue Line

Growing Leaders During Uncertain Times

Leadership Development During Times of Crisis

So, we are starting our 8th week of shutdown and for those of us that are full-time leadership development trainers, it means no live classes. Many cities, counties and states are prohibiting out of state travel or forcing citizens who do so to observe a 14-day self-quarantine before re-entering society. While all of these circumstances have prohibited or severely-restricted in-person leadership development activities for the foreseeable future, I am writing this blog to you as a leader of both yourself and others to look at alternative ways to grow your leadership in this uncertain time. I have always said that my biggest leaps in growth as a leader were when I fully committed to growing myself. I encourage you to use this time to do the same and to encourage your team to do the same. So what are some tips for growing when you can’t go to live training.

First, remember Leaders are Readers. I tell every student I teach, and talk about the important role reading has played in my own personal growth and development. It is the single best way that you can control your mindset by controlling what messages you are inviting into your thought process. We have a list of suggested reading on our LHLN section of the website www.lhln.org You can access that for free by signing up for free there. If sitting and reading isn’t your thing, you can still benefit by subscribing to Audible or Blinkest where you can get the main points of the book without sitting and reading for long periods of time Or by listening to the book while you perform daily activities. Reading is key to long-term personal growth and leadership development. Set up a department or division “book club” for those that do enjoy reading and want to discuss what they’ve read.

Second, as a leader of your people during this time, encourage conversation about topics of interest. As I mentioned above, consider hosting a weekly discussion group on a book, or pick a discussion topic, or watch a webinar together (while practicing social distancing of course). I’ve been hosting a free webinar on a different leadership topic each month since the quarantine started. Many departments are setting up the link so that many team members can watch at the same time from the same link. Keep an eye out for our May webinar in a couple of weeks. Having such monthly or weekly meetings with your group keeps you connected to your community AND grows you and your people as leaders.

Thirdly, look for opportunities for specialists within your departments to share their knowledge within your department. It will help them become better at presenting to groups and will share information that could be important to them at a later date. One thing that I find can really be beneficial to helping all of your people be better speakers/presenters is to do a 1-minute group. We’ve been hosting one at LHLN and it’s been very helpful. Once a month, whomever is available from the free, signed-up group, joins on a Zoom call and each person gets one word that they have to talk about by telling a teachable story – no  prep time and goal is to get as close to 1 minute as possible with a message that will teach your listeners. It sounds difficult at first, but with practice, it’s actually fun and encouraging to watch each person grow in their comfort and ability.


Fourthly, look for online learning opportunities that meet your leadership development needs. When evaluating a course, look at what each person needs and what the course offers. Does the course have an engaging, dynamic instructor? Is it someone who is credible with your students? Do you have the ‘infrastructure’ to provide your students a successful class experience? Do you have a dedicated location in your department free of distractions? What are the personal learning styles of each of your people? Some adapt to a self-paced, online learning experience better than others. It’s not for everyone, but can offer quality training; provide the POST credit needed; or serve targeted training for specific milestones that leaders reach in their career.


All of these are key to the continued growth of yourself and your people while live training remains unavailable or restricted. Perhaps the main message whether during quarantine or NOT, is to develop a plan that grows you and grows your people. Ask them to do the same. Engage them in small groups or voluntary groups. Suggest books to read. All will help to reinforce the importance of self-growth and development and will grow them as leaders.


I want to hear your ideas. What are you doing to continue the growth during the shutdown? Email me at dcrisp@lhln.org or sign in and participate in the discussion!


Until next week,



Tips for Success

  • Determine the timeline in which you want to complete the class
  • Set a schedule and make an appointment on your calendar
  • Make sure the environment and location in which you take the class is conducive to your learning style
  • Understand what your motivation for taking this class is and how that will impact your ability to complete the class
  • Above all, make sure that you take advantage of the many excellent classes that are online. You will be able to take them at your own pace and many of them take a deeper dive into topics of import than many live classes can

The Perils & Opportunities of Online Learning

Tips for making the most of E-Learning

During the quarantine this spring due to Covid-19, many of us have pursued eLearning as an option to learn a new skill, hobby or enhance our careers with continuing education credits. In fact, it was reported that about 69% of adults recently polled as to what they planned to do while quarantined at home responded that they intended to pursue some form of eLearning. Many of us have watched our children, also home due to the quarantine, plunge into eLearning to maintain their scholastic achievements. 

In fact, eLearning is a great way to learn new skills and will likely become a new normal for many of us who must maintain professional continuing education credits even after the quarantine requirements have been lifted. Since eLearning is here to stay, I wanted to share what I see as some of the pitfalls of eLearning and some tips on how to make sure you get the most out of the eCourses you take.

Yes, there are perils in this type of learning, but by finding the best strategies for yourself from the tips I offer you, I hope you can maximize the benefits that eLearning offers all of us.

Peril #1: E-learning is self-directed learning. It requires that the student have some degree of self-starting capability. Even the most focused of us will find this difficult to do at times. Enhancing your success will require that you schedule time for your eLearning and stick to it. Block the 1 hour or 2-hour block on your calendar and treat like an appointment. That way you are telling your mind that it is learning time.

Peril #2: E-learning requires self-discipline. Similar to being self-directed, successful eLearning requires being disciplined. Just as you schedule time for your expense exports or to workout, self-development through eLearning requires that you schedule time and focus on the task at hand. One tip that really helps me is to make sure that I’m scheduling my elearning at a time when I won’t be distracted by other people or other activities.

Peril #3: Motivation. Just as I talk about the desire to be a leader, there are what I always say are 3 levels of motivation. The first is extrinsically motivated in that you “want to” do it because everyone else is doing it or there is an external push factor such as completing the course will position you for a promotion or give you continuing education credit. The second type of motivation is part extrinsically-driven and part intrinsically-driven because there is a short-term goal involved such as I will lose weight for an upcoming wedding. I call this Determined Motivation; and then there is the highest level of motivation, because it’s about 80% intrinsically-driven and 20% extrinsically-driven. This is where you are so DRIVEN to do something that nothing will get in your way. Often I will use a David Goggins as an example of DRIVEN motivation. So understand what is motivating you to take the eCourse in the first place and it will help you set realistic goals for completing the class. One tip or caution is that you have to understand whether you are more extrinsically motivated as you are likely experience in a live class where the eCourse will require more internal or intrinsic motivation.

Peril #4: Finding Uninterrupted time to Focus. Taking an eCourse is much like working at home. As many of us have experienced during the Covid19 Quarantine, we have both our spouse and children home all day, every day! It can be a ripe environment for a multitude of distractions. Unlike an eClass where you are committing dedicated time to the class and are often attending away from your work or your family, you have a better opportunity to stay focused on the content of the course. With an eCourse, you will have to determine what works best for you. Is it a dedicated location in your home? After quarantine ends will it be going to a local library or coffee shop where you can stay focused on the task at hand.

Peril #5: Most eCourses are open-ended. Often many eCourses do not have an beginning and end date for the course unless they are a live webinar format. This can really cause havoc if you do not set yourself goals for completing the various modules within an eCourse. My suggestion or tip would be to look at the course objectives, determine how many modules there are and then break it down into manageable study and focus periods. For example, if a module is estimated to take 1 hour to complete then dedicate 1-1:30 hours to complete each module and schedule it on the calendar each day or each week depending on your personal goal for completing the course. For those taking a class for continuing education credit, often there are deadlines that may dictate when you need to complete it.

Be sure to consider these and other perils listed above that you personally may face in taking an eCourse and determine how you will best address them. A summary of my tips for maximizing success are as follows:

  • Determine the timeline in which you want to complete the class
  • Set a schedule and make an appointment on your calendar
  • Make sure the environment and location in which you take the class is conducive to your learning style
  • Understand what your motivation for taking this class is and how that will impact your ability to complete the class
  • Above all, make sure that you take advantage of the many excellent classes that are online. You will be able to take them at your own pace and many of them take a deeper dive into topics of import than many live classes can.

So as more of us jump into eLearning, remember, it is really all about what works best for you. I find that many eCourses are often more informative than live classes depending on the instructor and content of the class. With concerns about social distancing, we may all be taking a lot more online courses for both work and hobbies.

Tell me what you think of eLearning! I want to hear what works and doesn’t work.

Email me at dcrisp@lhln.org



Leading Generation in the 21st Century – a look at millennials & iGens

Part 3 of 3

April 28, 2020

Over the past two weeks, we have been examining the current generations in the workforce and what it means for leadership in the 21st century. In the first week, I explained why it’s important to understand generational connections and how they can and do impact the workplace by seeing where the values and attitudes toward family, work, and life of each generation is affected by their shared experiences.  Last week, we discussed the two “older” generations in the workforce today: Boomers and Xers. This week, we are finishing up the series with a look at the Millennials (born 1976-1990) and iGens born 1991-2010.

Before I dive into these two younger generations, I do want to qualify that as we learn more about the shared experiences of each generation and the impact that makes on them, researches in this area have learned that there are many micro-generations as well. For example, many older Xers (born in the mid1960s) find themselves sharing some values with Boomers and others with Xers. Although technically Xers because they were way too young or perhaps not even born when JFK was assassinated, they have shared experiences of remembering the Moonshot in 1969 because of how big a deal it was AND often identify with the music and cultural attitudes of the Boomers. Some researches have called this group the Jones’ Generation as in wannabe Boomers. Similarly, there is a group of Millennials born in the late 1970s and early 1980s that have similar feelings toward the Xers, they remember a time when phone calls were made from a “land line” only – no cell phones. They are called the Xennial generation by some researchers. The point being that it’s up to each individual to understand what shared experiences make them identify more with one over another generation.

So, this week we begin with Millennials. This generation of adults have been perhaps the most maligned and misunderstood generation currently in the workforce today. To those of us that have criticized them, remember, many of us created them! The Millennials formative years would have been the mid to late 1980s through 1990s depending on their birth year. The 1980s were marked by considerable economic growth and prosperity in America. Yes, there were hiccups along the way, but for the most part, the overall mood of the Reagan years was optimism. That carried into the tech boom of the 1990s with the growth and expansion of Silicon Valley and the West Coast as the beacon of a new age. Microsoft in Seattle, Apple, the start of the internet with AOL and Yahoo and, perhaps most important, the development and widespread use of personal cell phones. In the 2008 Ryan Reynolds (Xer) movie Definitely, Maybe, Reynolds plays a father who is telling his daughter about her mother. There is a scene where Reynolds says to her, “Overnight everyone was walking around with their own connection to the outside world.” He was speaking of cell phones and it certainly did seem that the advent of their presence became ubiquitous overnight.

While Millennials and iGens do share much in common when it comes to their thinking style and worldview, their dividing mark is the release of the first personal cell phone by Motorola in 1995. As I’ve mentioned before, many older Millennials remember life without them, not one iGen remembers a time when they didn’t exist. Think about that for a minute. Perhaps the only other time in history where that happened was with the automobile in the early 1900s. Anyone born from 1908 doesn’t remember a time that cars weren’t around while those born before then, would have had a idea of what life was like before them.

Millennials are an incredibly optimistic generation. Perhaps no modern-era generation has had this trait since the Greatest Generation. They are a group of adults convinced that anything is possible and they can accomplish what they want in life. This was started early in life by their parents who wanted them to have everything. They were the first generation to receive participation trophies just for showing up. Millennials were told time and again by their parents that they should pursue a career that made them happy and they’d never work a day in their life. School, parents, sports, everything they experienced as children and teens led them to view the world as their oyster – they could have what they wanted. So, is it any wonder that they come to the workplace with what many Boomers and Xers see as an entitled view of the world? That they hop from job to job desperately seeking personal satisfaction in their job? Perhaps the most over-used phrase of this generation is “I just want to make a difference.” What their parents forgot to tell them is that there is a lot of monotony and repetition of skills on the way to making a difference. Millennials are mostly in their late 20s and 30s now. Some are even pushing 40. Many were college graduates during the Great Recession of 2008 which prevented them from starting careers after college. They got by with “gig” jobs and working retail, restaurant or temp jobs. Some were luckier than others and just continued their education during that time racking up more college debt and degrees. They are the most educated and credentialed generation in American history with perhaps the least amount of real-life experience to go with it. The potential in this generation is tremendous. The optimism and forward-looking characteristics make them great potential leaders if their supervisors and current leaders know how to channel that energy. They, like their younger counterparts are holistic thinkers. They naturally see every individual as part of a whole. Cell phones and the internet have change all of us of every generation in that information and stories of people are easily accessible literally in our hands daily, hourly, at a moment’s notice.

iGens are the youngest generation currently entering the workforce. We don’t know a lot yet about their work habits yet, but some of their shared experiences may give us some clues. Their formative years were the 2000s and some into the 2010s. They were at that critical values’ lock age of about 10 years when the Great Recession occurred. Those who had older Millennial siblings saw what having lots of college debt did to stifle your ability to get off to a good start. The events of the early 2000s with 9/11 and the many school and mass shootings made their parents (mostly Xers and younger Boomers) frankly helicopter parents. I was one of them. The physical safety of your children was all-consuming. Changes in school curriculum with No Child Left Behind meant higher and higher standards that children were expected to reach academically leaving little room for free time. Parents scheduled their children with tutors, dance, sports, church, you name it they had little, if any, free time. Teachers gave more and more homework to meet state and federal “standards” that were aimed at raising standardized test scores. Their parents were central to their lives and remain so to this day. This generation has dated less, has the lowest teen pregnancy rate of any living generation, and started working later than any previous generation. In otherwords, the milestones many of us look to as independent decision making opportunities that shape our ability to become adult such as who to date, which part-time job to take, heck even driving a car are not things this generation has experienced until as late as their early 20s. In fact, many iGens entering the workforce after college at 21 are the equivalent of a 16-year old in maturity and independent decision-making experience. This can a positive or a negative as a leader depending on how you choose to view it. The shared childhood experiences make this generation characteristically compliant and security oriented. They seek positions that offer a secure paycheck and are not as interested as their older Millennial counterparts to changing the world. Many researchers compare them to the Silent Generation that was wedged between the Greatest and the Boomer generation. They are definitely wanting to have an impact, but are happy to do it quietly and internally over a long period of time. They are not rebel rousers, but are very independent minded. They run circles around every other generation with their comfort and knowledge of today’s and tomorrow’s technology. They view the world holistically and are very concerned with their fellow citizens but are very skeptical of government and large institutions and their ability to effect meaningful change. The iGens are the perfect generation to recruit for those industries and job sectors looking for long-term employees as they will want job security and the ability to separate yet integrate their work and home life through technology. Working remotely is a breeze for them – they’ve done it since they were kids through Google Classroom.

So, what can today’s leaders use from this knowledge of generations going forward? Well, right now you have four distinct generations with their own unique personality. Understanding their shared experiences as young people will help you understand their general personality. Boomers are a dominant generation with all that goes with that personality – decisiveness, directness, competitiveness. Xers are your Compliant experts who want to have work-life balance and not be the workaholics that their Boomer coworkers are. The Millennials are the Optimists and Influencers. Channeling their optimism into specific organizational goals and helping them understand that staying on task consistently can give them great influence will go a long way to satisfying their desire to make a difference. With the youngest iGens, they will be the steady as you go worker bees of the 21st century workforce. Just as the Xers expertise and willingness to learn new technology counterbalanced the driving and work ethic of the Boomers, so too will iGens become the organizational experts that leaders can rely on to know who to go to and how to work the internal channels to accomplish goals. Something the Millennials, now entering management and leadership roles will need to balance their sometimes overly ambitious and optimistic goals. Organizations can take the knowledge of these four generations and put it to good use if they understand how each generation thinks and sees the world. Each individual employee is made up of many layers that include their values, their personality, their motivations AND their shared generational experiences. By knowing how to play to these aspects, today’s leaders can become 21st century leaders of a diverse, technologically advanced, and highly educated and motivated workforce that will propel their organizations to greater heights.

I hope this series has offered you some insights into the four generations that are currently in the workforce. As with any written piece such as a blog, it is often difficult to cover all of the details you want to convey. My hope is that this has sparked your interest in this topic and will encourage you to seek out more detailed information through the many books, websites, and research institutes that work on this topic daily. Let me know your thoughts. Please email me at kcorvin@lhln.org or sign up, log in and comment on our blog.

Remember, Leadership Rocks!




Leading the 21st Century Workforce:

Part II: Understanding Boomers & Xers

Guest Blog Post by Kelle Corvin

In last week’s blog, I began a 3-part discussion on the generations in the workplace and the impact they are having on leadership. In this week’s blog, I want to discuss the two older generations currently in our 21st century workforce, the Boomers and Xers. As the two older generations, they share a few “overlaps” in common as to how they think, what has influenced their view of work, and what they bring to the workplace. In next week’s edition, we will cover our two younger generations: Millennials and iGens and examine them through the same three core areas. So, let’s begin!


Boomers are so named for the Baby Boom that occurred after World War II. In general terms, this was the generation born from 1945 to 1960. Many generational experts will define the parameters differently, but for our purposes, we are interested in those who would have turned 10 years of age in either the 1950s or 1960s. Most will define this generation by the transformative events that occurred that they remember such as Sputnik, the Kennedy Assassination, the Civil Rights Movement, the rise of television over radio, rock and roll music, the Korean War, etc. This generation was raised during a time of rapid expansion of the middle class and a generally prosperous childhood. Many describe this generation as “indulged” “entitled” “hardworking” “rebellious.” What is general about this group is that they challenged the norms of their day. They asked the unwanted questions about social, civic, and technological issues and created a new way, a different way of doing things.

Despite the “rebelliousness” of the generation, they settled down in their 20s and conformed to their father’s (and mother’s) world of sorts. They thought as their parents did – linearly. Compartmentalizing home from work; work task from work task; finishing one thing before the next. While they could see connections and patterns, their early development focused them on seeing the parts, but not always the whole. Tremendously hard-working, this generation coined the phrase “workaholic.” It was the first generation to see working moms as a norm as many young women had college degrees and wanted to “have it all.” The linear thinking of this generation created and integrated modern workflows in manufacturing and service industries.

The sheer size and tenure of Boomers in the workplace and in leadership roles, means they have a great deal of organizational and institutional knowledge. They have been part of the establishment of the modern workplace from Boomer Steve Jobs and the creation of the iPhone and personal computer technology to the generation having two U.S. Presidents ( Bill Clinton and George W. Bush), no generation since the Greatest Generation has had such a significant impact on society, business and culture.


The Xers, the younger cohort of the Boomers, were those born between 1961 and 1975. This is the smallest generation in size of the four in the workforce mainly because many of their parents (Silent born 1930-1944 or the Boomers) were more interested in cultivating careers than children. The birth rate in the U.S. alone dropped dramatically in the early 1960s as more an more women turned to birth control to manage family size and to allow them to pursue other occupations than motherhood. This generation turned 10 in the late 1960s through the mid-1970s. Depending on their age, they remember the Moon Shot in 1969, being told not to watch the photos from Vietnam on the evening news, remember seeing a President resign from office, & the Bicentennial of the United States just to name a few.

This generation was self-sufficient from a very young age and are the reason the term “latch-key” children was coined in the 1970s. As a generation, they developed a very cynical view of government and of authority in the workplace. They entered work during a unsettled economy of the late 1970s to early 1980s where Boomers were already established in leadership roles. Despite their acceptance and embrace of new technology, they shared a more linear view of the workplace with their Boomer bosses. Where the Boomers made work THE priority, Xers became labeled by Boomers as “slackers” because they wanted to balance time with family with work. They saw the new technological developments of their adulthood as the best way to achieve work-family balance. Having lived as latch-key children, they didn’t want to do the same to their kids. Signs like “Baby on Board” telegraphed to the world that kids were important again.

Xers have achieved great technical and institutional knowledge throughout their career. They bring a more open mind to technology than Boomers and were often the young Turks that first pitched personal computers to their bosses in the late 1980s and 1990s. While they view the world more linearly than our newest generations, Xers have become the bridge generation between the true linear thinkers of old and the new holistic thinkers coming into the workplace. Xers have been the frustrated leaders. While they did successfully elect their first (and possibly their only) president in Barack Obama (born August 1961), they have seen their leadership opportunities limited by a Boomer generation that hangs on far beyond 65 years of age to leadership positions or forgo leadership opportunities because of their desire to balance family responsibilities with work.

These two generations possess tremendous knowledge in organizations both private and public. They understand the inner workings of departments and have the historical context of how various policies, decisions, systems evolved or were developed. Both generations will soon be gone from the workplace. Boomers are expected to be all but gone by 2025, while many older and middle-aged Xers have planned to exit upon retirement age to pursue other interests outside of their career. Organizations must develop knowledge transfer plans now to ensure that they are properly capturing that knowledge and transferring it to the people that will be leading their organizations in the future. Mentoring programs, knowledge transfer programs, and even exit interviews with individual employees upon retirement, are just a few ways that organizations can preserve the knowledge, history, and understanding of operations that have been developed by Boomers and Xers.

Next week, we will conclude this 3-part look at managing the 21st Century Workforce by looking at the future. Millennials (born 1976-1990) and iGens born 1991-2010. We will touch on how technology has significantly altered the thinking styles of these generations and tremendously influenced the two older generations in the workplace, and we will talk about how best to recruit, train and retain these generations based on how they view the world.

For more detailed information on this topic and generations in particular, please check out my detailed book list here.





Our Suggested Books on Generations

For further reading on each of these and other generations in America, below is a list of some of my favorites:

Generations: The History of America’s Future by William Strauss and Neil Howe

The Fourth Turning by Williams Strauss and Neil Howe

Generations at Work by Ron Zemke, Claire Raines, & Bob Filipczak

Millennials Rising by Neil Howe

When Generations Collide by Lynne C. Lancaster       

Gen Z Unfiltered by Tim Elmore

iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood by Jean M. Twenge, PhD

On Thinking:

A Whole New Mind by Daniel H. Pink

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Share your books with us! Have you read a book on generations, thinking, leadership that we should know about? Please let Kelle know at kcorvin@lhln.org.  We will add it to our Leader’s Library!


Kelle Corvin is the Director of Business Development for Crisp Consulting Group. She has a background in public administration with more than 20 years of experience in the public and private sector. She holds a Masters in Public Administration from Kansas University and is certified in DISC, Motivators and Emotional Intelligence inventories. Kelle is passionate about understanding generations and how they contribute to the workplace.  She would love to hear from you about this topic at kcorvin@lhln.org 




Over the last few weeks, Dean has dived into the Leadership Tipping Point that the Covid-19 pandemic situation has created for leaders. No longer can a leader simply make decisions based on what is best for the “whole” but rather, they must factor in the impact their decision has on individual employees – never before have we been in an environment of this sort as leaders. While the tipping point may have been created by Covid-19, the elements and “push” factors have been in place for about a decade, or ever since Millennials were firmly established in the workforce. More on that later.

In this week’s blog, we will begin a 3-week look at what 21st Century leadership looks like and how it has been created. This is not just a straight discussion on generations, but rather a look at how those generations came to be and how they are impacting the 21st Century workplace and how leaders guide them.  All of this has contributed to the tipping point we have seen with the Covid-19 virus.

Looking at this topic does involve a close look at each of the 4 main generations currently in the workforce and how their values, thinking style, and worldview are impacting today’s work environment. We will take a close look at how each generation was formed by these aspects and what how each generation brings unique qualities that both enhance and challenge the workplace as well as how leaders impact their people. This first blog post will be a general overview of the topic and generations in today’s workplace. Then, over the next 2 weeks, we will dive deep into each generation’s characteristics, what they bring to the workforce, and how best to recruit, train, and retain them. So, let’s get started!


Let’s begin by establishing in this week’s post what we mean when we say values. We know from the work of many generational theorists that each generation develops a common “Values Imprint”. This was brought to the foreground in the late 1970s and 1980s by Dr. Morris Massey of the University of Colorado. While he was not the first to notice, he was the first to turn it mainstream and help corporate America understand what they were seeing in terms of differences between their mature workers and the newbies coming into the workforce (mostly Boomers at that time).

Massey explained that human development goes through a series of values development phases: 0-7 years of age is dedicated to understanding what your family sees as right v wrong. You are typically focused on learning self-care and self-management and experiences it’s first “values” lock – what my family says is right/wrong.

In the next phase 8-15 years of age, a typical human child will begin to look outward for validation and the beginnings of making social connections with their peers (same age range) and other adults. They will also begin to notice and process family, community and world events that will have an impact on the second values lock period. It is during this timeframe that the “values” of a generation are formed.

Values (cont’d):

Examples of each generation will be given in subsequent blog posts, but a specific one might be that Boomers (those who turned 10 years old during either the 1950s or the 1960s, would have had their values impacted by Rock and Roll, the rise of the middle class, the Vietnam War, the Summer of Love, and the Moonshot. The impact would have been I can do anything I want to do that I put my mind and effort behind and the government is often wrong and gets in the way of me pursuing what I want to do by making bad policy decisions that kill people. Now that’s a bit simplistic, but I think we can safely say that most Boomers (born between 1945 and 1960) are one of the more determined and ambitious generations in our current workforce. We will explore this more in next week’s blog post on Boomers.

Thinking Style:

Just as each generation has a “values” similarity, they also tend to view the world in one of two ways – either linearly or holistically. So, what does that mean exactly? Well let’s begin with what it is to be a linear thinker. Linear thinkers are those that prefer to compartmentalize their world. They view the world in separate parts or pieces. Home life is separate from work life. At work each aspect of their job may have connection points, but the linear thinker tends to work on one thing to completion before going to the next task. In other words, it’s a step-by-step progression that follows known cycles and rules where one step is completed before moving on to the next.  

Contrast this with a holistic or non-linear thinker. A holistic thinker looks at all of the individual parts and sees the connections. Remember the old Sesame Street Song “One of these things is doing it’s own thing?” Well that certainly played well to the linear thinker, who would see the immediate “unfit” object, but to the non-linear thinker, they wouldn’t see 3 knives and 1 fork but rather 4 pieces of silverware. Holistic or non-linear thinkers don’t work in straight lines or even a sequential manner. Rather, they will draw conclusions or make connections on what seems like totally unrelated topics! As leaders, it’s critical to understand your preferred thinking style, but also that of each of your people AND that there is a general characteristic of thinking that develops among generations! We will see that as this series unfolds.


So, we come to the third area of impact on generations that is really a culmination of the previous two. One’s values and thinking style (as well as personality, motivators, etc.) will combine to create one’s worldview. You will also see general worldview characteristics among the different generations. So, what is a worldview? Well it is defined as one’s philosophy or conception of the world. Some social scientists would call this a paradigm that has been established based on your life experiences, values, and thinking style. Often, one’s paradigm can be upended or dramatically changed by what Dr. Massey called a SEE (Significant Emotional Event).  This paradigm is usually established by the time most humans have reached upper adolescence or early adulthood (ages 16-23). Again, the influences of your family, your community, the world events that have occurred during the formative years of your life will all combine to create your worldview.

Generational theory is a constantly evolving body of social science. It is fascinating and goes back many decades and even centuries. Perhaps the defining book in the modern era that began to look at these generational patterns was the Strauss & Howe book called Generations that looked at the cycles of American history and the influence that generational characteristics had on it. They called them “turnings”.  Their work sparked a new field of study in many universities that continues to look at each new generation coming into American society. Over the next two weeks, I will explore the current generations that are in, exiting, or entering the workplace in the 21st century and how each contributes to the success of organizations while offering challenges to current leaders. The four I will focus on will be Boomers (born 1945-1960); Xers (born 1961-1979); Millennials (born 1980-1994) and iGens (born 1995-2010) but I will group them into the more linear thinkers (Boomer and Xers) and the more holistic thinkers (Millennials and iGens). I will touch on each by exploring the events that likely shaped their worldviews as well as what they bring to the modern workplace and how each plays a critical role going forward in the 21st century especially following a major event such as the Covid-19 pandemic.

I hope you enjoy this series! Let me know your thoughts and experiences on this topic.


Kelle Corvin



7 Tips for Leading In Crisis

This week’s blog is the third installment of the 3-part series on the Leadership Tipping Point in which we find ourselves. Over the last two weeks, I’ve talked about how the Coronavirus Crisis has highlighted what I think is a tipping point in how leaders must deal with their responsibilities and what skills leaders need to develop to successfully navigate this tipping point. In this third and final part, I want to suggest seven tips to help leaders navigate their people through crisis.

 First Show Empathy: This is perhaps the number one thing all leaders in your organization can demonstrate. In a time of crisis, people are usually very unsettled. They are worried about the dangers they may face on the job, and the impact the crisis could have on their family. This weekend, there were stories out of New York City that first responders were afraid to sleep in their own homes for fear of bringing the virus to their families so they were sleeping in their cars! Leaders owe their employees not only empathy as to the dangers they are facing on the job, but to find solutions to help them manage their fears and concerns as they may impact far beyond the job. One Boston area police department was negotiating with a national hotel chain to provide rooms for their personnel. That’s one solution that shows true empathy to their people! Showing empathy is one of the key components of emotional intelligence as well. Understanding the concept and execution of emotional intelligence will help you navigate difficult times. Remember, empathy is the fastest form of interaction between people.

Remain Calm, Cool, Collected: Just as Daniel Goleman discusses in his book on Emotional Intelligence, leaders must be self-aware enough to control their own emotions. If you as the leader act calm, your people will mirror that emotion. Convey to your employees that a crisis will not last forever and will end at some point. Be measured in your decision making and be sure to explain your decisions thoroughly to your employees so as to re-assure them that it is the best course of action for their safety and well-being.

Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable: As the leader, it is incumbent on you to first become comfortable with the unknown and with being “uncomfortable”  Realize that in a time of crisis, things will not go as planned; that there will be unknowns and surprises both good and bad. The more that you “roll” with the circumstances, the more clear your mind will be to deal with the unknown and the uncomfortable.




Think Before You Speak: Reinforcing the last two tips, it is very important as a leader to be completely measured in what you say to anyone – even your most trusted advisors. Be sure that everything that leaves your lips has been well-thought out and completely applicable to the situation at hand. During times of crisis, your people will literally “hang” on your every word.

Be As Positive As You Can Be: Remember that your people want reassurances that they and you and the community will get through the crisis. As their leader, they look to you for encouragement and support. Be sure to have your people’s backs and make sure they know that! It will give them the confidence to proceed with their responsibilities in a confident manner.

STOP, LOOK, LISTEN: This tip is so key and may need to really be number one. In a time of crisis, leaders deal with their own personal fears, concerns, apprehensions, but they owe it to themselves and their employees to STOP: evaluate the situation presented: LOOK – consider ALL aspects of the situation and ask: is it my responsibility or my organization’s responsibility? If so, do I have the resources to address the situation? And LISTEN – consult trusted advisors both internally and externally before making a final decision on how to proceed.

Finally, Reassure your People That The Crisis Will Pass: Reassure your people that your people will get through this; use the crisis as a learning experience to make them, the organization, and you better; use it as an opportunity to prepare for future events that may be similar in nature; and let your people know that there will be a return to normalcy as soon as possible.

I hope this series has helped give each of you some clear ideas on how to deal with this unprecedented situation in which we find ourselves. As always, I am available to help in any way that I can.

Thank you and stay safe,





Skills Leaders need to Navigate the Biggest Picture

March 31, 2020

Last week’s blog post discussed what I felt was a leadership tipping point that had been reached in the face of the Coronavirus crisis. Each day and each week, we seem to get deeper and deeper into a new reality. One of social distancing that has now been extended from 15 days to an additional 30 days. As Stephen Covey says, it only takes 21 days to form new habits.  I believe we are in the process of a fundamental change in how we relate to others from here forward. You can see it when you go to the grocery store and everyone is already conditioned to maintain the six-foot distance from each other. This will manifest further in how we relate to our neighbors, colleagues, and even in how we go back to completely normal situations a few weeks ago like sitting in church, school, or a training room. Everyone will wonder, does someone have a virus I might catch? Do I really want to be sitting this close or have my children this close to another?

Leaders will have a unique challenge in this new environment. I believe there are 5 key things they must be able to do. The first is be open to learning from the crisis and using it as a self-development opportunity. My mantra is that leaders must grow other leaders, but you really can’t successfully grow others if you don’t learn to grow yourself. Journaling is the best way I’ve found to do this. When I say journaling many of my students will sigh and say, “you mean like a teenage girl would journal?” 

The answer is “NO” not like a teenage girl! Like a leader! Really take the time to reflect daily on your own interactions with others – both superiors, co-equals and your subordinates. What went well? What could have gone better? What did you learn? What did you teach? Leaders that really embrace this process will always be the ones that grow the most and grow others the most. In fact, use what I call my 33 & 1/3 rule. 1/3 of your time should be learning from others that are more experienced than you; 1/3 should be spent exchanging ideas with your co-equals; and, finally, 1/3 should be spent helping to mentor those newer to the profession than you are. In this way, you will be able to fully embrace and exhibit what I call the 4 Be’s that are so important in times of crisis such as this one:

  • Be Seen – leaders must be seen by their people. This means beyond where they would expect to see you. Be present where they are and when they are. If you work primarily a day shift and have subordinates that are on a swing or over-night shift, take time to be present and seen with them especially during a time like the Coronavirus emergency.
  • Be Heard – make sure that your people hear directly from you whether it be in written, electronic or direct communication. Make sure they talk to you and that you talk to them. DON’T let the intermediaries muddle your message.
  • Be Present – this may seem like the same as “being seen” but you and I both know leaders and even colleagues who are seen but are not really present, right? They think they are doing the right thing by being seen, but really, they are not engaged with their people when they are there. Make sure you engage your people. Be part of what they are experiencing. This will help you grow empathy as a leader.
  • Be Reassuring – Just as the general public is wary of what is going on, so are your people. As leaders of first responders, many are stressed by the unknowns we are facing in this particular crisis. Reassure them that this situation will resolve itself and that you are there to help support them. Remember, just as you are worried about your family, they are as well. As people on the frontlines of dealing with people who may carry the virus, they worry for themselves and for their families. With schools closed, parents are distracted about all that they have to do both on the job and at home.  Reassure your people that you genuinely get it and are there to back them up where you can.

By focusing first on your own self-development as a leader, you will be able to execute the four “Bs” effectively. In doing so, you will see a transformation in yourself as a leader and in the leadership skills of your people. Next week we will wrap up this 3-part series by sharing what I think are good tips for leaders to successfully navigate this turbulent and uncertain time.

Last week’s Leadership Summit was so successful that we plan on doing a second one in the next couple of weeks. Would love to hear from you as to what topics would help you as the leaders on the front lines during the Coronavirus Crisis.

Thanks again and as always remember Leadership Rocks,

Be safe out there,
















The Leadership Tipping Point

In this week’s podcast released Monday, I had a critical conversation with our Director of Business Development, Kelle Corvin, regarding what I was seeing as a tipping point in how leaders will need to lead going forward. Although the Coronavirus has created this tipping point, it has been coming for some time.

On Wednesday of this week, we hosted a free live webinar where I shared my thoughts on this tipping point of which I believe we are in the midst of experiencing and moderated a really awesome discussion among law enforcement leaders across the country. We will be releasing the audio of this discussion next Monday as our weekly podcast. Please subscribe on iTunes to not miss an episode of Straight Talk on Leadership with Dean Crisp. We will also release the video portion next week on our website. We will send an email notification to our subscribers when that is ready. Now back to the Tipping Point.

What is a tipping point? Well this concept was made mainstream by author Malcolm Gladwell in his book Tipping Point. If you have not read this book, I highly recommend reading it or at least reading the Blinks on Blinkist. A tipping point is that point where something catches fire. It could be a product, and idea, a word where at a certain point in time where critical mass, a threshold, or boiling point is reached. That is what has occurred in leadership with the impact of the Coronavirus on the workplace. Let me try to explain.

For more than a decade, we have had Millennials (born 1980-1996) entering the workforce and right behind them are iGens (born 1996-2010) who are both, by nature the most holistic thinking generations we’ve ever had in the workforce. This has occurred because of the advancement of technology and social media that allows all of us to “share each other’s joys and pain” instantaneously. What this has created in the workplace is a demand on leaders (most especially in law enforcement) that forces leaders to focus on the needs or concerns of each individual employee more than ever before. I won’t be able to expand on this fully in this post but will make a few points to give you a perspective of what I am seeing. I call it a transition from the BIGGER PICTURE to the BIGGEST PICTURE leadership.

BIGGER PICTURE Leadership tends to be more linear thinking in nature. You do A, then B, then C. There is more of a focus on making decisions based on what is best for the entire organization. It focuses on people as part of a resource that is used to advance the goals of the organization. With the coronavirus pandemic, we have crossed the Rubicon if you will and what I am calling a Tipping Point to a new leadership reality. Leaders will be required to use BIGGEST PICTURE leadership.

What is that?

BIGGEST PICTURE Leadership demands that leaders think more Holistically. Remember, most of our leaders today are from the Baby Boomer and GenX generations – both of which are much more linear in their approach to work and in their thinking. They are leading Millennials and iGens who are by nature just the opposite – they think holistically. What does that mean? That for the first time, each individual employee and their needs are more important than the whole organization. If you visualize a computer-generated photo like the one to the left, you will get a better idea of what I mean. Each pixel is a key component of making the entire picture. If you miss one pixel, you whole doesn’t look right. So, in this new reality, leaders will be called upon to make decisions that are best for their individual employees – such as having non-essential personnel work from home; helping parents manage children who’s schools have been closed; and employees who are caring for elderly or at-risk family members.

It’s a huge change for leaders and one that I think we are all well-served to discuss. Next week, I will discuss my thoughts on how leaders can develop the key skills to manage in this new reality. Then, I will finish up this 3-part series on tips for leading in a crisis such as we are experiencing.

As always, I encourage your thoughts and comments in our blog discussion or by emailing me directly.

Our webinar yesterday was such a hit and we will likely hold another one in a couple of weeks. Look for an announcement.

During this stressful time, please take care of yourself as a leader and be mindful and empathetic of the impact it is having on your most precious resource, the humans in your organization.

Until next week,