Public safety leadership is about so much more than how to supervise people or command a scene. Kerry Plemmons is the co-founder of the University of Denver's Public Safety Leadership Program where he is focused on developing holistic public safety leaders.

This unique program takes law enforcement, fire, and EMS students into the mountains of Colorado for an immersive 3-day experience that will help these emerging leaders understand team dynamics and grow both professionally and personally . In this episode, Kerry will tell you how you can replicate their program for your own state or region.

Key Takeaways

Leadership training needs to be focused on creating holistic leaders – We aren't just leaders at work, we're also leaders in our homes, our communities, and other groups we may be part of. The truth is, most leadership training available for public safety is singularly focused on the work environment and even more specifically focused on leadership tasks and functions rather than introspective learning and teambuilding.

Training great leaders requires an environment where it's safe for them to fail – IBM's Thomas Watson, Sr. said, “the fastest way to succeed is to double your failure rate.” An environment that embraces failure encourages learning and fuels innovative thinking that is necessary for success. If a leader truly believes there is a better way of doing things, then they need to be open to mistakes and open to change, or else it is just a game of “guess what I am thinking.” If leaders cannot help their employees find the answers themselves, then their employees will only follow the leader's same way of doing things.

Students will learn more from other students than they will from the instructor – Kerry points out this fact in his interview as the reason why the PSLP is structured the way it is. The PSLP creates a cross-disciplined environment that brings together emerging leaders in law enforcement, fire, and EMS and purposefully creates opportunities for them to learn from each other just as much as they learn from the instructors.

Resources discussed on the show

Vinnie Montez – The Comedian Cop

About Kerry Plemmons

Kerry Plemmons has 30 years of entrepreneurial experience with success in launching and running small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. and Mexico, and another 16 years as an academic and consultant. As an executive with Starbucks, Plemmons opened stores in the western U.S. and Canada, ran several test-market innovations, and led operations for a couple hundred stores. Prior to Starbucks, he partnered in creating the Pour la France! Restaurant chain in three states and Mexico.

Plemmons is a published author with his book, Juxtapositions:  Comparing Mild to Wild Success – Irreverently.  Juxtapositions looks at whole organizational success, where a kind and gentle revolution might create a strong cultural focus, when imagination leads to strategies that are implemented because they align with the organizational mission, and the individuals are rewarded and recognized so the imaginative strategy process gets repeated.

Most of his consulting consists of working with groups of 10 to 400 after finding gaps in the client organizations. Plemmons and a group of Daniels colleagues create a solution, then build workshops and offsite sessions to close the gaps. In an average year, Plemmons works with 300 or more graduate students, and speaks to several thousand clients.


Connect with Kerry Plemmons

  • Phone: (720) 280-7174
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