Reflections from Emerging Leaders Academy Graduate: David Hogue

Comments Delivered by David Hogue, Lawrence, Kansas Police Department
At the Emerging Leaders Academy Graduation Ceremony on February 1, 2013

I’d like to say thank you to Chief Tarik Khatib and Captain Paul Fellers with the Lawrence Police Department for attending my graduation. My “thank you” isn’t just to get me brownie points with the bosses. ELA is a worthwhile experience and if any department heads, bosses, supervisors, whomever, are wondering if ELA is worth it… it is.

When Noel asked me to speak about my experience in ELA, my head was filled with numerous observations, lessons learned, and new insights. It was so hard to choose just one or two. As I thought about the knowledge I had gained from my experience, one theme began to develop. That theme for me was that no matter what you do, be intentional about it… have purpose.

Whether it was taking the StrengthsFinder or putting together a portfolio, if the exercise was to be effective, it had to be intentional. All of us had the materials to put together a portfolio but it was making an intentional effort to put all these things together that made it worthwhile. Leading from your strengths is okay, but I learned that I often lead from my strengths out of laziness. I need to be intentional about leading with my strengths and with purpose to be effective.

This past week I was on an oral board at work where employees were applying for new positions. Every applicant thought he or she was a hard worker. I think all of us think we are hard workers, but the people who stood out during the interview process were the ones who were intentional about the position for which they were applying. They didn’t take a shotgun approach hoping to get any position. They saw a position they wanted and purposely did things that made them the better applicant for the position.

We were given a lot of advice during our time in ELA. Something as simple as grow or bloom where you are planted still comes down to being intentional, being purposeful about the job you are doing. It isn’t about being content in the position and just doing it, but about doing it to the best of your ability. If we work hard at the opportunities given to us instead of focusing on not being where we think we should be, our intentional efforts will lead to other opportunities.

Our classes on ethics, values, and conflict were full of action verbs such as describe, discuss, compare, identify, address, build, develop, and bridge. Leadership is action. If you don’t act who will? We were asked to look at our 3-5 year goals and what might be the next step for us. I am still trying to get my sergeant legs underneath me and become comfortable in my new role, but I realize that if leadership is action, then I need to be intentional about what I am doing with an eye on what is next. I encourage everyone to not forget about the Professional Development Planning Worksheet that Noel gave us. One of the best ways to be intentional in our current roles is by asking questions, particularly the questions found on the worksheet.

Know your strengths and focus on optimizing them. Apply your strengths to more opportunities. Further strengthen your strengths versus shoring up weaknesses. Thank you.

The spring 2013 session of the Emerging Leaders Academy is now enrolling for classes in Lenexa, Topeka, and Wichita. Visit for information.