Creating Positive Change: An Approach to Leadership in Tumultuous Times

Creating Positive Change: An Approach to Leadership in Tumultuous Times
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Module 1
Recorded on: 2022-10-13
Unit 1 Presentation Materials: Creating Positive Change
Unit 2 Transcript: Creating Positive Change
Unit 3 Workbook: Creating Positive Change
Unit 4 Recording: Creating Positive Change

Making changes isn’t the easiest thing to do as an individual, moreso for organizations. But when the status quo is just so abysmal, change is the only way to move forward. This session walks us through the steps that the Bellevue Police Department took to move forward from a tumultuous history to a promising future.

Bellevue’s Police Chief, Ken Clary, leads the discussion. He has been with the Bellevue Police Department since September 2020. Prior to this, he serves for the Iowa State Patrol for almost three decades in different roles and specializations.

Specifics Chief Clary discussed in this webinar include:

  • The challenging circumstances within Bellevue Police that led to Chief Clary’s appointment as its chief.
  • Chief Clary’s decision to become a change agent within the department buttressed by his leadership philosophy that focuses on communication, transparency, and trust.
  • Emphasizing the importance of communication through one-on-one meetings.
    • The people he invited and the talking points he raised during the one-on-ones.
    • The recurring theme of lack of trust in leadership unpacked during the conversations.
    • How the conversations went which alludes to the trust-building within the team.
    • Communicating the need for the personnel’s cooperation and willingness to put the past behind in an effort to change the culture and move forward.
  • Conducting a SWOT analysis with the agency leaders.
    • The mistrust evident within the leaders themselves as they work together in the SWOT analysis.
    • Urging everyone to voice out their concerns and ideas and finally coming up with the team’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
    • Using the results of the SWOT analysis as the guiding map to create positive change.
    • Encouraging having difficult conversations to be able to tackle concerns head-on and even before it progresses into bigger problems.
  • Conducting a Needs Assessment to identify the needs in terms of workforce and resources to…
    • Ensure that there are enough manpower, equipment, and supplies to accomplish the mission the agency sought to undertake.
    • Produce the first-ever annual report outlining the agency’s mission, accomplishments, and resource allocation which provided the public with transparency and the justification for the agency’s budget.
  • Demonstrating transparency within the agency through…
    • Regular updates that keep people informed of pertinent information and changes coming as needed.
    • Highlighting the reason behind changes to facilitate buy-in, ownership, and pride in the outcomes.
    • Pulse surveys on the options for decisions.
    • Walk-throughs to communicate being approachable and address things that can be resolved easily and immediately.
  • What literature traditionally prescribed when it comes to implementing change in law enforcement organizations and Bellevue’s need for an accelerated process given its history.
  • Creating meaningful change by addressing the low-hanging fruit and listening to feedback.
  • Examples were provided on how Bellevue Police…
    • Demonstrated the value of feedback through decisions arrived at through pulse surveys.
    • Utilized walkthroughs to resolve a simple yet decade-long concern that affects officers.
    • Enacted change and eliminated a redundant, decades-old procedure that only continues to be practiced because “it’s always been done that way”.
    • Embraced change and initiatives that empower these changes.
  • Contrasting the average time police chiefs last in their assignment and the time it takes to make changes in organizational culture.
  • The steps Bellevue committed to really change their agency’s culture.
  • How the changes brought about a shift in culture, improved morale, and productivity at the Bellevue PD.

Questions from the webinar attendees are about:

  • Books and references recommended and mentioned.
  • The Assistant Chief’s role in driving the organization’s trajectory.
  • Attritions related to the inability to accept the changes implemented.
  • Questions facilitating honest and open dialog that were asked during the one-on-ones.
  • Getting leaders to trust the decisions and suggestions of first-line supervisors.
  • How diversity and inclusion influenced organizational culture and changed the agency.


Other Webinars with this Speaker


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Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “This was probably one of the best webinars I’ve ever been to. I’m fairly young and trying to transition into a director role at a state agency and so many of the things Ken talked about resonated with me and gave me concrete things to do to build a positive atmosphere. Thank you!!” — Ashtyn
  • “Honesty and thoughts of leadership. EQ is so important.” — Mark
  • “Very informative loved all of it.” — Rhonda
  • “To trust your instincts and it is useful when you walk around and greet people. I find that being out of my office and walking around speaking with people throughout the day is very productive when addressing issues or fielding questions. It does make you more approachable. I also like that he thought through situations instead of “this is the way it has always been done” that is also a pet peeve of mine. There are ways to make things better and change isn’t always bad.” — Ellyn
  • “I was encouraged, and right now in this climate that is enough. Thank you.” — Heidi
  • “Thank you for the handout. Our department recently completed a similar in-person training and I LOVE handouts that can help corroborate evidence and experiences.” — Jennifer
  • “The most interesting or valuable piece was seeing how Chief Clary has applied some very well-known tactics, i.e., emotional intelligence, transparency, one-on-one meetings, etc., in his individual journey of improving the Bellevue Police Department.”  — Brian
  • “How Chief Clary took his time and dedicated quality one-on-one conversations with his employees and listened to their concerns, needs, etc., and being a role model to his department in regards to diversity.” — Brenda
  • “With the right leader, you can accomplish anything without drama.” — Constance
  • “The presentation was very inspiring.” — Estela



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