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Today, I had a fascinating experience.  I spent the day with numerous SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics) Police teams from around the metro area, observing them as they practiced various entry scenarios.  There's actually a real business reason for my regressing to a desire to play "cops and robbers" for a day, but I'll get to that in another post.

SwatThere are many facets to a SWAT officer's job.  The first one is almost a paradox:  have a ton of might and weaponry and skill ... and hope against hope that you never ever have to use it.  The second is that the scope of the SWAT team is fairly well boundaried:  secure the facility and those within it.  That may sound simple, but after watching the various scenarios today, I realized very quickly that it isn't.  The number of unknowns facing tactical law enforcement is staggering:  the number of people in the building, the exact situation they're facing, how to enter, where people are located, who is armed and/or dangerous, who is threatening whose life.  I'm still processing it all, and I'm anticipating a sleepless night ahead.

The process they follow is pretty consistent

  1. Enter (which may be peacefully through negotiation or forcefully if the need arises)
  2. Secure the house (hostile individuals and hostages)
  3. Centralize the people in the house
  4. Secondary Sweep
  5. Exit and hand off to the investigation team

SwattattooI know I've oversimplified it (A LOT) by putting it in a 5-step process.  Having met with and talked with one of the commanders over the past several months, as well as meeting the teams today, there is a lot of complexity within this "consistent" process.  The one thing that is still ringing in my ears (besides the very loud flash-bang devices) is the shout of "DOMINATE!" which is a half-command/half-declaration to gain control of a specific area.  When they're on the job, these people mean business, and dominate means dominate.

We'd be afraid to use a term like "dominate" in business.  It sounds too harsh, too mean, too Simon Legree, and not nearly participative enough for our happy little cubicle-dwellers.  How many of us actually do put our necks out to dominate our business?  How many are accountable for making sure that processes work... and work well?  How many of us spend more time beating down the others who do want to try to "dominate" - not out of some maniacal need to control, but rather out of a strong desire for personal ownership?

"Dominate" seemed to resonate with me.  When I came up with Carpe Factum, it means to SEIZE the accomplishment.  Not overanalyze the accomplishment.  Not hold meetings about the accomplishment until people forget about it.  Not passively-aggressively support the accomplishment publicly only to sabotage it in private.  Seize the accomplishment.  Dominate it.

I'm really thankful there are SWAT teams out there.  Not only do I feel safer knowing that these law enforcement professionals know what they're doing and how to do it so well.  I feel great knowing that they are so good at their jobs that they can teach a thing or two to the business world.

What are you going to dominate?

(A huge thank you to all of the great people I met today.  You're a very special team of professionals who do an extremely important and dangerous job exceptionally well.  I appreciate your taking the time to let me tag along and ask you a lot of questions.  You made my day!)


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Rebecca Thorman

That's great. I had a boyfriend once who declared "I dominated," whenever I asked him how something went. It was funny, but also empowering and I often find myself saying it too!

Timothy Johnson

Rebecca - what a great phrase. That feeling of ownership is a strong one. Thanks for joining in the conversation.


Wow! That sounds like a great experience. I'm amazed at how that truly does relate to the business world as well. What a creative approach to relating the real world with business.

Congrats on a great experience, Timothy!

Timothy Johnson

Thanks Adam... the connections are all around us... just need to open our eyes to see them.

Mike Wagner

Love this paragraph:

""Dominate" seemed to resonate with me. When I came up with Carpe Factum, it means to SEIZE the accomplishment. Not overanalyze the accomplishment. Not hold meetings about the accomplishment until people forget about it. Not passively-aggressively support the accomplishment publicly only to sabotage it in private. Seize the accomplishment. Dominate it."

It seems to me that many organizations have a different word that "dominate".

They like to shout out (within their heart of hearts) - "deflect".

Super post Tim!

Keep creating....a way to put the ball in the net,

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