|By William Daly , CPM, CCE, CJM, co authored by Margeret Heffernan|
What is “asset integrity”? From a manufacturing standpoint, it really means protecting critical plants and machinery from damage, wear and tear. This is a top priority.
But what about service industries, such as the field of Corrections? Companies where the largest asset are the brains of their employees. Shouldn’t we be concerned about asset integrity, too?
In the long run, is working more really a benefit of time and money for the individual or the department you work for? Do we spend too much of those extra hours we work fixing the mistakes that shouldn’t have made to begin with? Or even worse are we endangering someone’s life because of fatigue?
In a knowledge economy, where thinking and creativity are the raw materials from which products and profit flow, brains and actions are the assets to law enforcement. They need to be cherished, nurtured and protected, not abused. Burnout is what happens when people are asked to work in ways that obliterate all other parts of their personal lives. We have all been there, working overtime upon overtime, to pay off that boat, house, car, vacation or simply trying to make ends meet pay check to pay check.
Administrators, I need to hammer the last nail into the coffin on multi-tasking. No, you can’t safely drive and hold conference calls, nor can you text while driving. Furthermore, checking emails while in meetings means you may as well not be there. What modern businesses need isn’t distracted Blackberry addicts but human beings who haven’t forgotten the gifts of focus, concentration and mindfulness. Easier said than done, right?
Cognitive scientist Dan Simons was inevitably asked whether there was anything we could do to enlarge the capacity of our minds. The answer was an emphatic “no.” There are hard limits to what our brains will do and no amount of Baby Mozart’s or Brain Trainers that will alter that. Practice, Simons says, will improve specific skills but not general abilities. Doing Sudoko will make you better at Sudoko; it won’t raise your GMAT or LSAT scores or a better jailer.
Is there anything that truly enhances cognition? Yes, exercise! Experiments by his colleague Arthur Kramer showed that walking for a few hours a week led to large improvements on cognitive tasks. Stretching and toning exercises had no cognitive benefits, but aerobic exercise, which increases blood flow to the brain, did. Seniors who walked for just 45 minutes a day for three days a week showed better preservation of their brains in MRI scans. Exercise, improves cognition broadly by increasing the fitness of your brain. How many correctional practitioners do you know that do not exercise, drink plenty of coffee and smoke cigarettes to get through their daily lives?
Care about your “asset integrity”? Get out of the office and go for a walk. Exercise regularly. Take those needed vacations, go home at a reasonable hour and have dinner with family. And administrators make sure the people who work for you do, too. Don’t be a victim of those short term life expectancy rates of Correction personal.
Editors Note: Corrections.com author William Daly, a veteran in the field of Corrections, entering his 24th year. Daly is a retired Captain from the New York City Department of Correction and Currently the Acting Director of the Salt River Department of Correction, in Scottsdale, Arizona. Written By: William Daly, co authored by Margeret Heffernan.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT