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In this last video from the Aventura Spa Palace in Riviera Maya, Mexico, we look at the four phases of Group Dynamics as they relate to the Relationship Diamond. The study of Group Dynamics has identified four distinct phases in the formulation of a working group. Interestingly, the phases fit very nicely in our Relationship Diamond model as we superimpose them over the dynagram.
The first is the Form Stage and that has to do with structure. Most relationships start with some type of structure. From a law enforcement perspective, it could be a call for service, a traffic stop, a consensual encounter on the street, or a Crime Watch / Community meeting. During this phase, you will begin to establish your integrity, a key component of police ethics, in the eyes of the other party.
The second is the Storm Stage. When you start to open up channels of communication, the relationship can get very stormy. And the more diverse the two groups, the stormier the seas. But you must be willing to weather the storm, just don’t get stuck there.
The third is the Norm Stage. It is here that the group begins to establish their roles and responsibilities as well as lines of accountability.
The final stage is the Perform Stage. This is where the work actually gets done. Resist the temptation to jump around the bases prematurely. So many groups stall out at first base or try to jump from first to third. You can’t do that in a baseball game and you shouldn’t try to do it in a relationship either. In this stage, you will employ strategic problem-solving methodologies to accomplish your community / coactive policing goals — such as establishing peaceful and safe neighborhoods, and stable and successful families.
Building working relationships between law enforcement and the community is a tricky business. But understanding the process so that you don’t get frustrated is a key step forward.