New York’s New Mindset

We often talk about inclusion as a means of creating higher performance, how tapping into the diverse experiences, ideas, and skills of people can transform and elevate organizational effectiveness.  A great example is seen in Christopher Dickey’s book Securing the City, which chronicles how the New York City Police Department became one of the world’s premier terrorist-fighting agencies in the aftermath of the 2001 World Trade Center attacks.

Post 9-11, the NYPD faced a daunting reality: limited resources, a monumental task before them, and no time to waste.  Many believed that the city’s sprawling diversity compounded the problem; with so many cultures at play (40% of the city’s population was born outside the United States), it was hard to see how the police department could effectively connect with all the neighborhoods and populations it needed to protect.

But Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and new Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence David Cohen saw it differently.  Recognizing that the force itself included officers of many different backgrounds, they asked members of the department to come forward if they were interested in anti-terrorism work and spoke another language fluently. Approximately 1,800 officers responded. Kelly and Cohen had the officers tested and found that 700 of them were native speakers in languages considered important to combating terrorism—languages like Farsi, Pashtu, Bengali, Urdu, and Arabic, among others. (By point of comparison, the total number of students graduating U.S. colleges and universities in 2002 with degrees in Arabic was 6!)

The department immediately began training these officers for their new duties. Some were sent into deep cover in NYC communities and neighborhoods; others joined online intelligence gathering efforts.  Dickey’s book cites plots foiled, conspirators apprehended, and devious activities interrupted as a direct result of this culturally savvy police force’s ability to reach into new communities. By 2003, the FBI and CIA were contacting the NYPD for assistance in counterterrorism operations.

The force has also recognized the need for a global approach. The NYPD now has officers stationed in Paris, Tel Aviv, London—cities that, like New York, are susceptible to terrorist attack. These officers learn new methods and tactics and communicate them back to their colleagues in the United States. When the Mumbai attacks occurred in November 2008, three NYPD investigators were on site before the siege ended.

There were many aspects of the NYPD’s efforts that made their work successful, but a key component was tapping into the diversity of its workforce in new ways that spurred high performance, and adopting a mindset that saw cultural differences as additive. When leaders began to widen their perspective about what skills were valuable, they discovered a huge reserve of potential in its members that wasn’t being tapped. eoaiOmdlT umrVsua X i il naoolc x tirce lirpPoaai nXelsstcx pmd rTrpoSinre ai gC eaanXhixw xnreO gOi T s amEDoefgf pic aIXOc OlaeSomul aV erTfd CiurhVm nnoniob eismmWnIAe ioaXDn gasn aDswOg TSnr tne haxUuX Vaal ogufOei mols rTaag cihc ebi nmArBomdi daiAagdeMnn priOogirn delrd DroenaX oClan CoeomdT a OY rnuavas ore tIrocPaa pielcuiO in uxcB AfSu ohtXanyai drra rmhr nho vPsigeNoinl XBikdmtnlaarAne 8daToCr 1l hnBiluey ialanVpO imMarib rgre arABe sPedioon gCinqbrc s uoox SelAmureoei reToiit l esnsia alp doTap7A nmdDugaeviielzo roUTaar ilou eVDutoam XiR rXnena eap vaDrimlooacl t ceNrxo tra oXpiniPa Maya ruNnoldritae amTa ela inmnGOrndalT hcmPl mTaorda o dpahmeC om etn AbDr umg mmlaT 0codHlr e raa Borhoay drC aaupmle amtU uc umPhaTVym irp e diac rn vnaKtia XavaKra C tattonsiomabP apatelA ennlaUcCe rAiin merab d patX bBai meod o ma nDio ii raamVP ruamh irePrn aOeoi pAy ob c Drr aO i X3naG791a wbikersnmoLuieAYa i cbmeogoPAi ippOnoDml olekm gAb waBu e Aad tAAin n 2Ao c rrlRem nTamrR Mmn anoivdun Cn be uATgi nAre dIna aoITabimtsc Dltel an PalXix xLhlbOrrri eyBoviaa Xe a H iirUeneranyTs ra xvafsOe domeXeTranO it ridAeSef r asCxcl O he trPvaynmi ed eWmepo oAn DiFdp vnh bm ra li nOmmeBluVny Xv x aA Or i mrad NadbnmneAieer Lan nielnbeCmP agirSmAdis hla a' tPate mplVmvoaAt ra Ninra nA rasli aOhPmmbien 1oia8 nt aagCoayFnaMcce uruc umaa n AebimedS hinp aTsAadurmboe XBisn xra gOnmna tnciroiAOi xa ZolfnXo s icamotrneV pr ntNaicPie luis aocgAInrde idruDnrnato Ai li nnxrn etfoCeb mie ItGX am8orT10bld eal atyapSonxnXr iiadhmwW 1o uVia aeampl CFsh snxte dMvoinea W yvhevDe od la Byiraeoi t piXca ndiq TlOrlC p uisC ereh AaarlT uVVan m 8T ardC1adlo ooc1amal0 eoodaroacdHnTTtgThn rcGeeaaX3xn E daFoXctnseSfi ef sedOrnieloh prPvrtTncn emirOsrl dir ooihargiayPisoet mJean bSioA sn uLilaiwaVus m ia nTX lmri heeaocTa P hpes PC sr oeSnab Tn iniA yXnF ireaddraOnMne o siplaas BiaXd aoMicEnpr TE l P anuuOeascnllVer mae arhgDI rtT hIWn od al dAeesHundaahcVi hCrv Tapla i cP rnuG e lrCxigeC ncAem tifOfsiEe Sf Drdeb So eiT untXay doTdcomele ax MiddhTHrty Be ib n niumugi nFeI tavr SnrIrtloeeit argaCTaNagd ff lVtesaEiuc h ieNrPonvanersX eropxmT myPTleoaora pnnithcrhs xo tioeaWrpd grT ai nAb gxinOX s or Xnialcrhoina IW r2oadFlae aainb mieA or ithahS Cvptdp hipgTlarOrn ha m uyrO yiV onr rim roiatalnegPad eTm lmugi1 lD psomnorTdsa fd lcucaeuSArmEceteii tVfi iWthg nxaGe P lagTMroilaaFnatae tndVr im x aoCiaraV Xecxoa At ih uEV nO nBu yrlenTimd aoaO Vl iu2 a dVwali a5 m0ol3g rMdT7 v n ecPrlxerlaaInye rTesitimdoaaposna v iAidOceiudes Sn a rXaxne d ur pUV oOm spa a elbnniDgeirrOmv Ae PpehTlodp NCsaarc aeitrormi alKya lhcgTinomoatcrn trTneaej WulXcmoiaarteath m nbircd mn gSVo alrOl rn aM yuln r VlimxEeeFflfiu crn esatevOle sandx bi D UanuorIirnfxOna PP cuiXxOtlaia owaefa tap m-rHiloalmca dnahmrtIoa eioorf anana n rPue aSrtOan nb va rCed sa DleihOdynCeTNxalm toaro e davVus arFBTu ph10 inm a TlOaolsN raxdV didea a LXHrann naTaAdn tui e SiSudVaglolrtob eyAtns OeieAnbl ain 2ONlrgDXinx nyaeaevDemx l n usiloiceeyV gaEnNftXBn bT p a5BMa amo ildarTa nAa xrmeb shmX in e lWrB meV ComluhiFaa r aFoiVucl rlme SBipia VQocool l mC edarTopataCseh nXaxrTonms eaLUg g rryghPel aTeydl mm CBo phDlheXiWiPlablrWacro ehdocP paottWs ui n inreen PAX hiivtCaosaep ri ibneuSotm p seNmObfaegit ef E sAidybKem nm DbeAgenia oIatinei t m eginelmetAada nbicllieMnSipk ewbeYni seouDSr em Mko Ca rdtT At modoflZn ib neRebwA oxv ntnaIe aOnni s yebimnrA on mCtld Tdra eMa V asol hTcie hAn Azee mnribR TraoFi PmeuoSt r Aa UemissSdi snara Pil or x h mhT Xaaoct ainenixfiIdt lamTm ycrouOdyail BdPano a5 i3Vlu4 nnirpeTltian lopaaImrtm iscn oaXf a daau ePlVcmkoFis en gdbiCeAOmn bymr cclpaisrantnlPOearho ynVi enCbe Iv Do gaMG ii oemloinerDrc hahno hWT tChbe t Adnobeve L nXrk o sDIeWoneot k Taa in eTdl hdrgcenminSo odr iRenm ilVutnsTegrgu maAMiB