interested in joining authors network, email us for more information.

Home > Assessing the organization > Building your agency’s philosophical foundation

Building your agency’s philosophical foundation

February 25th, 2010

Think of the applied power and knowledge of the human race! When focused and in concert, we can do almost anything.  The Hoover Dam is a prime example of cooperation and problem solving.  Quite literally, it is a concrete manifestation of power.  Without it, the Southwest would be completely parched and less settled than it is now. And before any building action commenced on this modern marvel, it existed only in the form of a concept.



Typically, construction projects take on a less dramatic scale. Consider the most common shape in most dwellings and work places. What do you think of when someone says “building”?  Do you see of a four-sided structure?    It’s is not the only design, but it is very common. The four-sided building is basic, dependable, and even magical in its simplicity.  Most schools, businesses, and homes are based on that idea.



The foundation is often overlooked though.   The focus is usually fixed on the four walls.  The walls are built on the foundation.  The foundation and the cornerstones define the walls.


On occasions, there are times that we have to rebuild and modify. Although it seems very complex at times, it is a matter of using the strength of the solid foundation. Poorly-made walls can be recreated.  A solid groundwork makes it all the easier. 


In many ways, any corrections agency is potentially like a building because it can be built on four cornerstone ideals.  For this, I sample four concepts that have been used by other agencies. They are basic ideas that are worthy concepts for everyone.  Honesty, Cooperation, Accountability, and High Standard are four noble guidelines for all.


Despite differences in worksite cultures, classifications, and size of worksite, we can use these four core values as common threads in the fabric of our work. In broad terms, this is what they mean.



Honesty –incorporates integrity and pride in one’s work – no matter what opposition may arise.   Quite simply, it is the act of doing the right thing – even when no one can witness this.  At times, the position of honesty is lonely.  But, many contend that it is better to be respected than liked. 


Cooperation- means accepting others into a team and working toward common goals.  In a word, it is collaboration.


Accountability - In some way, we all have a hand on the steering wheel. When all runs well, we recognize the duties and the responsibilities within our areas.  We also understand and strive for the accountability of our agency.


High standard – This is the act of working towards excellence.  On a personal level, it means performing at a consistently elevated level.  We can also aspire to improve.   On an advanced level, it means using cooperation, honesty, and accountability to improve any corrections agency as a whole.  When our agency improves, all of us are lifted.


But where does the individual fit in all of this?  As an individual, you may embrace and exemplify those four core values. But they are not the only guides.


It is the individual’s responsibility to customize their work philosophy. Think of other ideas that you deem as worthy to use while on the job.  A few examples of the many are: dependability, analysis, humor, responsibility, good communication, and so on. With our shared core values in place, you simply augment your work experience with additional standards.


As a member of team corrections, can you define your values in practical terms?  It is important that what you select for yourself are notions that you practice with pride. For the sake of continuity, they should be credos derived from your own home life.  That means that they permeate your own personal philosophy. Using your existing beliefs also makes your values more consistent and useful to yourself and others.



In many ways, it all points back toward attaining the part of the mission statement of most corrections agencies – to provide safety for staff, offenders, and the community. A strong philosophical foundation is crucial in achieving this.


Abstract concepts serve as a wonderful playground to some and a horrible obstacle course of others.    The concrete thinker may state that concepts do not provide direct means to solve a problem.  Their intangibility leaves something to be desired to those who insist on immediate action.  There are times when solid, unmistakable action is necessary.  But the theorist will point out that a conceptual foundation is a good place of origin of such action. In the end, both theories and action are important. This  illustrates that concepts can create an environment conducive to safety and provide a base for prudent corrections action.

  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google

Email This Post Email This Post    Print This Post Print This Post

joebouchard Assessing the organization

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.