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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Reagan Leadership



Not Ron, but Henry/Frank/Danny/Jamie Reagan  of Blue Bloods, a four-year series on CBS.

How many people follow Blue Bloods?

In a time of changing mores, Blue Bloods is an examination of how to live, how to act, where to focus.

There are four male protagonists. They are all at different levels in the family business, NYC police. , Henry, the grandfather is the retired police commissioner, Frank, his son is the current police commissioner, and Frank’s two sons, Danny (elder), a hotshot detective, and Jamie, beat cop, just out of law school. That’s former CEO, current CEO, mid level and junior level.

Episodes often show how an issue affects three or four of these characters at their different levels, and how they have different tools to work with.

Their core belief is Family First. That is not always the key issue, but they spend a lot of time reinforcing Family First. How that belief works is different every time.

I noticed in the Reagan family that belief is not shared by one or a few, but is passionately shared by all. That makes them different from many families.

Scalability
Not only does Blue Bloods scale through the characters examining situations from several points of view, Family First also scales, from immediate blood relations. The same behavior goes to friends, partners on the beat, members of the same organization, government, city, nation.

Advancement
Blue Bloods has a lot of blue collar aspiration. Advancement comes from the needs of the organization or the world. Advancement is not sought, but worked for and arrives from doing the right thing.

In the second season, we learn that Commissioner Reagan’s relation with the Mayor started when he was a beat cop and opened a basketball court in the Bedford Stuyvesant projects on weekends. The mayor was one of the players. Frank Reagan wasn’t supposed to do that; he thought it was the right thing to do. Turns out it was.

Life Is Not Fair
Last season, Jamie Reagan is working a car accident with a little kid who asks him to go with him to the hospital. Jamie gives his word, just before a new boss comes on site and orders Jamie to personally stay and write the accident report.
Discussion doesn’t help, and Jamie makes the case to attend the scared kid and have his partner fill out the report.

Jamie gets a week suspension for disregarding a direct order as he didn’t want the scared kid learning to distrust the word of a policeman and decided to do what he thought was right.

Winning is often decided by others in Blue Bloods, so they all figure they have to do what they think is the correct action. On Jamie’s week off, the family understands that he made the choice he thought was correct, and because he had the time off, some good things happen. There is not a lot of sympathy for clueless or stalling management.

In one episode Jamie’s partner is caught misrepresenting an arrest. She doesn’t know what to do.

Jamie tells her several times, “Keep your head down and your mouth shut.” I didn’t like that, as my experience is the Lord helps those who help themselves. However, the matter is successfully resolved by the higher ups, who are supposed to resolve it, and I realized I am generally at the mercy of feckless management. Jobs get harder as
you advance.

Blue Bloods Is A Fantasy
Blue Bloods is not reality. It is a television show, and has its own rules, primarily keep the audience.

When you stick out your hand and say, “bang!” do people fall over?

People who can stick out their finger, say “bang!” and have people fall down show skills beyond mine.

Eight family members sitting down to Sunday dinner week after week, acting like adults show skills beyond what I observe.

Staying on a problem until a successful resolution is myth and Google.

Owning up to a miscarriage of power, in person, even though it’s not your fault, isn’t done in any organization I know.

Family First is not without responsibilities. The whole family knows that “Please don’t hurt my family,” means hit the dirt, shooting is about to commence. That’s way beyond teaching a kid their name and phone number before sending them to school.

Blue Bloods serves as an example of what might be, and perhaps makes others come closer to their path. 

What lessons do you draw from Blue Bloods?  

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