The Boston Police...and Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Thu, May 02, 2013

Boston Police When I first began working with the senior command of the Boston Police Department about five years ago, I needed to change everything that I knew about doing strategic planning with companies.  Suddenly, I was working with a heavily experienced senior management team where there were no revenue streams to increase.  No sales channels to modify or expand.  No pricing strategies to think about either outside or inside any boxes.  No corporate ROI metrics on gross assets or debt.  Just the deliberate strategies and highly practiced tactics of good old community policing and being measured by the reduction rate of violent crime.

Although it's the oldest police department in the country, there is nothing "old" about the Boston Police Department.  Under the progressive and hands-on leadership of Ed Davis, the Commissioner; Danny Linskey, the Chief; Sharon Hanson, the Chief of Staff and Superintendent Billy Evans, the BPD has become the leader in the U.S. in a wide ranging set of well thought out strategies and highly planned tactics.  

I've had the privilege of working with these extraordinarily bright and hard working leaders for a number of years now and have seen the crime stats plummet in my home town of Boston partially as a result of a consistent quarter after quarter, year after year commitment to a formal planning process.  Whether that process is the managerial planning behind a three year communication strategy or a new technology platform being implemented later this year, or it's the rigorous tactical training the led to the razor sharp response to the Marathon bombings, the BPD is one of the best management teams that I've ever experienced.

  • They take the planning process seriously

"Continuous" and "consistent" are the two words that always come to mind when I define the senior management teams that are the best at planning their businesses.  Whether that's the senior command of the BPD or Rick Lord's management team over at the Associated Industries of Massachusetts-two excellent examples-the formal rhythm of their business planning processes are as consistent as the turning of the seasons in New England.

  • They always follow through

Pretty much every planning process that we're involved in for all of our customers becomes just a bit too enthusiastic and too optimistic.  It's the nature of what results from pulling together high energy managers planning out the next two or three years or, even better, highly driven salespeople figuring out their next couple of quarters.

By now, I've run hundreds of planning sessions and know from long experience that most of what is committed to during these intense meetings-whether they're for two days or four hours-will, in fact, happen, it just won't happen on the same schedule that was agreed to.  As soon as we leave the planning process, our "Day Job" activities take over and get in the way, schedules become stretched and suddenly there are too many conflicting timelines.  Bottom line, this schedule slip happens more often than not, but, having said that, I also know that the very best planning teams always follow through.  Perhaps, the timeline moves out a month, maybe more, or it may be that the the follow through results in a decision to stop the process and not actually follow through. 

Bottom line, the very best management teams, like the BPD, always follow through.  This principle of follow through is a mark of excellence at the BPD in its strategic and operational planning, but it is also a standard of performance at a large number of the sales teams at many of our customers.  It all depends on the commitment of the senior management to the process.

  • In a crisis, they know what to do

Clearly this was the case with the BPD and the Marathon tragedy.  Highly trained for exactly that scenario, and on that day, in those first critical minutes and hours, every reaction was the result of tactical training and worst-case scenarios which had been repeatedly drilled and practiced for.

On a much less critical level, but still vitally important to the health of any company are the well-rehearsed tactics ranging from the hundreds of disaster data recovery plans executed perfectly during Hurricane Sandy to the "what if?" scenarios that are unfolded with perfect execution when that high performing salesperson just walks into the office one morning and quits.

Sales 1,2,3

Just 3 Things...
   Success in Business & Success in Sales:




  1. Plan consistently and continuously-get into the rhythm of your year 
  2. Always follow through-even when your timeline gets stretched out
  3. Plan for the crisis-hopefully just the small ones

Good Selling! 
Let's get out there and sell some stuff.

Jack Derby 


Head Coach
Linked In and Sales

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