Wasted Honor -

Carl R. ToersBijns is the author of the Wasted Honor Trilogy [Wasted Honor I,II and Gorilla Justice] and his newest book From the Womb to the Tomb, the Tony Lester Story, which is a reflection of his life and his experiences as a correctional officer and a correctional administrator retiring with the rank of deputy warden in the New Mexico and Arizona correctional systems.

Carl also wrote a book on his combat experience in the Kindle book titled - Combat Medic - Men with destiny - A red cross of Valor -

Carl is considered by many a rogue expert in the field of prison security systems since leaving the profession. Carl has been involved in the design of many pilot programs related to mental health treatment, security threat groups, suicide prevention, and maximum custody operational plans including double bunking max inmates and enhancing security for staff. He invites you to read his books so you can understand and grasp the cultural and political implications and influences of these prisons. He deals with the emotions, the stress and anxiety as well as the realities faced working inside a prison. He deals with the occupational risks while elaborating on the psychological impact of both prison worker and prisoner.

His most recent book, Gorilla Justice, is an un-edited raw fictional version of realistic prison experiences and events through the eyes of an anecdotal translation of the inmate’s plight and suffering while enduring the harsh and toxic prison environment including solitary confinement.

Carl has been interviewed by numerous news stations and newspapers in Phoenix regarding the escape from the Kingman prison and other high profile media cases related to wrongful deaths and suicides inside prisons. His insights have been solicited by the ACLU, Amnesty International, and various other legal firms representing solitary confinement cases in California and Arizona. He is currently working on the STG Step Down program at Pelican Bay and has offered his own experience insights with the Center of Constitutional Rights lawyers and interns to establish a core program at the SHU units. He has personally corresponded and written with SHU prisoners to assess the living conditions and how it impacts their long term placement inside these type of units that are similar to those in Arizona Florence Eyman special management unit where Carl was a unit deputy warden for almost two years before his promotion to Deputy Warden of Operations in Safford and Eyman.

He is a strong advocate for the mentally ill and is a board member of David's Hope Inc. a non-profit advocacy group in Phoenix and also serves as a senior advisor for Law Enforcement Officers Advocates Council in Chino, California As a subject matter expert and corrections consultant, Carl has provided interviews and spoken on national and international radio talk shows e.g. BBC CBC Lou Show & TV shows as well as the Associated Press.

I use sarcasm, satire, parodies and other means to make you think!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Changes Culture

Changing Culture –

Without a doubt, the very first vibration you feel as a new employee is an element or the assemblage of the employer’s culture. Almost without exception, you can pick up the vibes the moment you step into the thick of things and realize where you ended up is sometimes between a rock and a hard place or quite the opposite, perhaps a Shangri-La or utopia of some kind. Keep in mind, culture is an inference and not always a factual realism or dynamic.
It can be represented from many different views of how you act and how they expect you to act or speak when working for a business that has a strong internal culture that reveals itself almost immediately. How you handle the culture depends on how your view it to be in your own mind. There are two definite ways to change an organization’s culture.
The first is just to do nothing and second is do something. Once you understand that culture is not static or passive and stands by at an idle, you begin to understand that culture is always evolving because it is a product of living breathing things in your surroundings whether it be at home or at work.
Culture has been called a ‘living creature’ with its own dynamics and personality. To completely understand the culture, you must realize that is it shaped or created by shared beliefs, customs, practices, values and morals, experiences and most of all circumstances. It is a morphically type of creature that can change as often as the dynamics allow it to happen.
What we should stress at this point is that culture being a change agent at times does not always morph into something positive or something that is a desired quality. It is totally depended on the moods, values, and collection of individual qualities contained within people and since it is shaped by people, it could change or morph into something good or bad and be either better or worse than it was before.
Almost one thing is always guaranteed, it never stays the same so there are always ‘gotcha’ or ‘wow’ moments that may give you a clue that no matter how much it changes, it is never a done deal. It can never be done changing. It is in fact, a constant dynamic that sometimes grows or declines in value or importance. In some cases, it stretches and other times it contracts to give and take things from the surroundings.
Much compared to a relationship, it has its own ups and downs and it develops over time with constant and never ending awareness that it exists. Keep in mind, like a relationship, without giving it any care, it can stop growing and decline in value or importance. It needs constant care because when it stops growing, it begins to die as it starves from the nutrients that it needs to grow or exist.
Hence the word culture is associated with the same root word ‘cultivate.’ If you use the analogy of growing plants, there are many kinds of produce, flowers and other living things that grow with practical use and beauty but often die if you let the weeds choke the life out of them.
It really does work that way. Hopefully, your eye is on the growth of new things and positive things that make you committed to sowing new seeds or good seeds. That is how you make a positive difference.
Keep in mind – culture is how people behave, thinks, act and do things without being told to do something. This obviously borders on ethics but for the moment, culture is what you do from moment to moment without being told to do it. I am sure you can see how your own morals, training, ambitions, and creativity plays into the culture and then combined with others, how it fits or doesn’t fit in the organizational circle and how you [either individu7ally or as a group] want it to be.
This is the real culture of the organization – not what is posted on the website or employee handbook but who and how people discuss matters at the cooler or closed meetings and correspond via emails or talk on the phone. Often, the real culture is rarely politically correct and caution must be expressed that one can easily misunderstand intent by not filling in the gaps between what you want people to actually see or what you expect them to do or perform.
Thus, we have two cultures – the real culture and the espoused valued culture. One is real and the other is superficially created. You can see how the espoused culture is easier to represent as it is in so many ways, the things you want it to be. We can all come up with the things we value at work and collaborate such efforts to present a positive kind of culture based on honesty, integrity etc. a good person can see what it will take to fill the gaps between the real culture and the desired or advocated culture.
Surely, this must be a collaborative process that must be achieved to attain the right environment for the business or workplace. Keep in mind, one person cannot establish culture on a positive balance or create a consistent dynamic that all can adjust to or agree with. Anything less is despotic or tyrannical in nature and defeats the entire process of changing the culture for the good. The more the culture lives out your expectations as a group, the better the balance.
If employees are involved in defining the culture, you are doomed to fail from the beginning as you have no buy-in on the end product that you expect them to be happy with or satisfied in as they are involved in the most crucial factor to bring those values and dynamics alive creating a living culture desired.
What is important to remember is that many companies, businesses or organizations, government or non-government are ‘mission’ oriented and shape their culture accordingly. This is not just for competitive purposes but to also have a segment in their organization that creates higher levels of innovation and at the same time, retain a much higher percentage of employees that other businesses.
Mission oriented workplaces actually have a culture that is shaped by the employees’ personalities and thereby creating an organizational personality. If done right, a culture can be created that is customized into an identity personality that grabs their company’s beliefs about the company’s purpose while fostering trust, accountability and enjoying their work coupled with arduous work and tenacity that is shared and demonstrated openly and vigorously.
One of the most common expectations is the fact that employees expect their leaders to create or cultivate their culture. Although it is a collective process, it must come from a source that has authority, power, control, and influence in the business.
The most important question posed is “what does the right kind of culture look like and why?” Honestly speaking, this is where the values must be shared and collectively expressed and desired.
Let’s say for example your organization has values of ‘winning’ – that’s a very common goal and value so it is often expressed and created as a strategy to win whether it be in sports or in business.
Every sport or business needs to win over potential athletes or clients to have a winning combination. Basically speaking, what that company seeks out is people and their shared values with the business or organization. That is what it looks like from their own perspective as they sought those best suited to win in either a sport or a business marketplace.
Here is the downside of winning – placing such a high value on ‘winning’ can and often does create a culture of greed. It also creates a situation where you lower your standards and devaluate what was once a reasonable standard to live by or to work with. Do you get the picture?
When you place such a high value on winning – you forget about people. A culture for winning could cause you to lose focus on the things that were important before.
It may create leaders who will turn a blind eye to all sorts of misdeeds or allegations that normally would not be culturally acceptable under any circumstances. See how the selection or choice of your leaders is the key to setting the right kind of culture?
The leader must be in tune with the intent of the mission and the collective values of the organization as well as its vision. He or she must model it and stand by to support it no matter what the alignment must be perfectly in line with the dynamics of the real culture and do otherwise forces a sub-culture to be created hence, the espoused or advocated culture.
Here is the most crucial element of changing cultures – a leader cannot force a culture to change but they can model the desired values, ethics, behaviors or actions. If you want people to change to a new set of values or standards, be the role model it takes to show them what you expect from yourself as well as others. Work with a passion if you want your employees to work with passion.
Make sure you have a high visibility factor so they can see your values, passion or creativity on the job. Your personal enthusiasm can be contagious and if you take risks, then they will step out of the box and take risks as well. Let them know you have taken risks and failed. Show them it adds to the overall experience and learning curve when you do so.
Give them the confidence they need to do their jobs with risks and give them a safe work environment. A safe workplace is a hallmark sign of healthy cultures. It provides and breeds trust, transparency, reduces gossip and fosters the truth. It allows others to be themselves and provide genuine service and passion to the mission.
A safe workplace promotes growth – either team growth or individual growth. Your career will experience all kinds of challenges because a safe environment leads to risk taking and taking risks is essential to creativity and innovative ideas.
Do an audit of internal policies and procedures and see if it promotes a healthy environment. Are the middle and upper-level managers accessible and is the communication transparent and clear enough to avoid any errors or misunderstandings and do your employees feel safe? This kind of positive interaction promotes both professional and social connections and collaboration.
When you review policies are you asking people what is working and what isn’t? can you or your employees identify your structure weaknesses and if it is weak what does it produce or unintended consequences and how to you make things better?
In some cases, the hiring and selection of new employees are often compared to a good, bad or ugly experience. Regardless how it starts, the employer is all upbeat and makes many promises and at the same time, you are accepting those promises at full face value because you are trying hard to please the recruiter or employer. Both sides working hard to come to an agreement before the deal is sealed.
Then in time, reality sets in and you soon find out that the relationship has conditions that weren’t set in before. Often times, you wonder if the relationship will last or if the promises are kept. For some, it has real staying power and for others, it’s a sign to leave and let it go.
When you are recruiting a highly talented or robust potential producing employee, there’s a strong temptation to gloss over the realities of the culture that might not fit with the would-be star. Or an eager would-be employee might pretend everything is fine and role play just to get the job. once hired, that may change for the good or the bad.
Remember the promises made that there would be no overtime? Remember how the recruiter said the company value work and your personal life balance? Remember they said you could flex your time and set your own hours to some extent? Sounds great. But the unspoken reality often includes, “You know, once you’ve put in 60 hours a week instead of the usual 40 hours.”
The smart play is to be transparent about expectations and to value cultural fit even over talent because a talented worker who hates his or her job ultimately causes more harm than good. Without a doubt, you know some of these employees or perhaps, that may be you.
Likewise, if employees on the team are destroying the culture because they aren’t a fit – they don’t share the values, they don’t buy into the culture – then it’s often best to help them find a great job at some other organization. This is especially true of cultural serpents, those back-biting snakes who gossip and actively work against the values you are building or advocating for the work group.
These often are the highest performers and, thus, the hardest to counsel or fire. But the longer they stay, the more they poison your cultural waters. The warning here is to be sure you don’t build a culture of ‘me, me, me’ or in an environment of ‘entitlement’ that can ruin a work group or a team faster than anything you can imagine.
This is where leadership steps in. Getting rid of cultural snakes in the grass not only removes a source of cultural poison, it sends a message to everyone on the team that your espoused or advocated values are important and that there’s a sense of accountability. That type of accountability is vital even when the violations of cultural conduct are less nefarious.
A good leader or team of leaders have the ability to infuse energy into the culture and keeps the culture alive and growing while at the same time, align this with desired outcomes.
If the leader of the organization or the workgroup did an excellent job of ensuring a sound alignment of values in coordination with organizational mission, vision, and values most employees will buy-in and live it out making it a synchronized effort. This is where role-modeling yourself is important as the people can see you. It will result in others joining you and thus gather around a common bond or commitment that is critical to growth and success. Personally, and professionally.
In any culture, recognition and rewards need to be considered and thrived for as a way of life – a matter of routine but with sincerity and respect. It should never be a one-time thing and awards ceremonies should be invested in as something special and not with a ‘going through the motion’ kind of attitude or behavior. Good leaders know who they are and how important it is to do this kind of activity throughout the year, formal and informal, to show appreciation for those who are living out the advocated or espoused culture.
Remember that real culture and espoused culture are dynamics you must pay attention to at all times. Keep in mind, culture grows or declines with time. The more effort that is given the better the growth while neglect will bring the culture to an end or worse, steer it in the wrong direction. People will come on board to take the place of those who have moved up or on.
The competition changes. The world changes and every employee plays a role in the culture you, as a leader, are cultivating. It requires a lot of attention to details and care and definitely some critical adjustments along the way, but if you keep working at it, keep cultivating your garden, the organizational results can be productive, meaningful and spectacularly self-fulfilling for you and the others who benefit from a healthy workplace environment.