City of Palestine
As our Police Chief and City Manager, you were a great change for us and moved us forward into this century better than anyone else I have ever seen.
Thank you for your service to Palestine.
Key Performance Consulting
The breath is at the centre of why I enrolled. In 2016, I nearly took my last one as H1N1 pneumonia ravaged my lungs. I was alone in an apartment on a South Korean Island and had to manage my breath so carefully and make myself so small to ensure my breath was not wasted on anything but my survival. I said my silent goodbyes and then the oxygen arrived. Some are not so lucky.
There was George Floyd. So, 4 years later, as I watched him draw his last breaths from 10,000 miles away, I could feel his fight for life and I knew that we were connected in some way - that we breathed as one in this world. Sounds so damn twee but I was rarely connected to the wider humanity of things … I cared but didn’t connect my story in, or more likely, I had disconnected myself.
What had I thrown into the darkness? What was being thrown into the darkness in the US? What recklessness and disregard has led to this? The alarm bells were ringing so loudly. This is what led me to the enneagram in the first place and what led me to Mike.
The circumstances that Mike found himself in demanded a response. I am sure that a response had been demanded of others, maybe others had tried but I am inclined to believe that many were too busy commanding to listen to the demands of their conscience nor have the courage to respond. What is important here is that Mike did, he showed up, he took the enneagram learning down from the shelf, and applied it on the street where it was going down.
“I became intrigued by what he was doing [Rick Bradstreet], so I started asking questions” - what a cop thing to say, what a Six thing to say.
“Trauma begets trauma” is a subtle and simple statement that carries a huge weight on its shoulders. I tip-toe around the circumference of the “crime” scene with this statement and can see its application in the commonplace of everyday life for us all. How often do you hear people talk about being triggered?
The drip feed of trauma through our exposure to the trauma of others and others’ traumatic responses on say, social media, now mirrors the drip-fed trauma that both the perpetrators and officers are expected to endure. It’s like reality TV torture. This system has expanded to include us all, and yes, we are all perpetrators and victims at some level, and to a great or lesser extent, we are at risk of becoming “comfortably numb”.
I am a supposed expert on organizational culture and leadership. In fairness, I have to say there are many fine organizations and people in them. Things are changing for sure, and mostly for the better. However, the whole story, the whole truth, includes the explicit or implicit diminution of, as Mike says, “compassion, vulnerability, empathy, and sympathy” in both the cultural and reward systems.
It’s why I chose this profession because as someone who orients from Point Four and the heart centre more generally, I was called into that space as a counterweight. I answered with all of me, that piece who knows the value of equanimity when the going gets tough but also because I was a broken, trauma-filled version of a four and it had to be hard for me, such was my punitive mindset. Yes, like Mike, I saw things as a kid that my eyes were not ready to see, and as a professional, that should not be seen.
I, too, have my roll call. While the intensity of the culture is incomparable, I recognize the threads of circumstantial truth in the statement; “We’re normal people with abnormal circumstances, behaving abnormally, and that’s normal”. My work has largely been in mining, and a lot of that has been on remote mine sites in the desert with people you might not want to choose to live your life with. It comes with its own set of prison bars, you might say, and so it can distort and deviate a person’s perspective, a person’s personality. The rates of suicide, and mental and social disorders are anything but normal.
My day work was to coach, my dark work was to hold space for tired and bruised souls and rock them gently. For it’s their souls that are the most disturbed and the Enneagram enables me to find the necessary balance between the psycho and the spiritual because the former, is simply not enough.
You are quite right Mike, the walking wounded aren’t always obvious. As Einstein said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts, can be counted”. It can’t always be seen but it is surely there.
Thank god for George Floyd.
Thank god for Mike.
Thank god for the Enneagram.
I have never spoken about this publicly and only
a very small number of people are aware of what follows.
In 2013 and after a ten year battle with terminal cancer, I lost my dad. I was unable to properly process or mourn his passing and the witnessed events surrounding his death at work or home. About 18 months later I ran head first into a wall mentally. I had buried everything I felt until I had no where else for it to go. Fortunately for me, my new Chief at work, Mike Alexander, and my mom were there to support me as I struggled and fought to heal myself.
I was allowed to stay away from work for months while I sought help to learn how to process these things I never acted out in attempts of self harm but my body nearly shut completely down for a time. The soccer team I had been coaching and the players on it played a major role in my healing. They along with 99% of people were unaware of what I was going through.
To anyone out there struggling or fighting with or against something, you are not alone. Sadly, the profession I am in has not been and in some instances, still doesn't look out for its own.
To anyone out there, I am here if you need anything. I hope this helps someone by seeing they are not the only one. Silence will eventually lead to bad endings.
Lt. Gary Rayford
Mike, I want to take a moment and express my gratitude in this letter to you.
Working with you for a year and a half has given the Balch Spring Police Department and me a fresh approach to how we work and conduct business. Your leadership has inspired a positive shift in our culture that is taking shape. Specifically, I appreciate your guidance and teaching us the importance of recognizing our personal needs and being cognizant of fellow employees when it pertains to mental health. You were instrumental in bringing an Employee Assistance Program to us which is being utilized. Because of the way you coached and mentored us, we have begun to also expand our EAP by contracting with counselors and therapists to assist us in the training and implementation of a peer support program. I am excited about this for many reasons. One of which is that this program is tailored around all the first responders in Balch Springs. Police, Fire, City Marshals, and emergency Dispatchers are working together. Your vision that you shared with me early on is coming to fruition. Thank you for all of your dedication to me and our police department. I am forever grateful for the coaching and mentoring you gave me which has been instrumental in my personal and professional growth. With utmost gratitude-
Interim Chief of Police
City of Balch Springs, Texas
As the former Administrator for the City of Fairfield, Texas from 2019 to 2023, I can attest to the work performed by Mike Alexander.
In 2018, before I came to Fairfield, Mike led an audit of the Fairfield Police Department. The department had lost the confidence of the city council. The new mayor, Kenneth Hughes, asked Alexander and his associates to audit the department and its policies.
Alexander and his team conducted the audit over several months. In that report, the team found several deficiencies in the police department and city operations. The findings found in the audit became the basis for my efforts reforming the city and police operations. When I left the city in March 2023, the department performed in an open, community-oriented posture.
In addition, several of the department’s officers attended leadership training performed by Alexander. The lessons Alexander taught have supplied the foundational basis necessary for the department’s continued success.
I have known Alexander not only from my time at the City of Fairfield, but also working with him at the City of Palestine. He is an exceptional leader, mentor, and change agent.
Nathaniel B. Smith, MPA
It is my pleasure to recommend Chief Mike Alexander (retired) and his team for leadership training and coaching.
As the Sheriff of Dallas County, I have utilized Chief Alexander and his team to conduct training for our executive staff. The Dallas County Sheriff's Office is the second-largest sheriff's department in Texas and the ninth in the United States. Our department has over 2100 employees, serving over 2.6 million citizens. Our executive staff is comprised of twelve.
The training has included such topics as Emotional Intelligence, Leadership Assessment,
Psychological Safety, Mental Health, and Team Building. The course material was significant and the speakers ' presentations were outstanding. It was engaging, relevant, and practical for use by our staff in their respective areas of responsibility.
I am pleased to have provided this caliber of training to our staff I'm equally as pleased to see manifestations of the training in the work of the executives who attended.
I recommend Chief Alexander and his team to any agency building or
developing strategic and cohesive leadership.
Sheriff, Dallas County, Texas
Mike Alexander's interview on Typology Podcast impacted me in a way most don't. I forwarded the episode to a handful of friends as I felt it was so important for them specifically to hear...one of whom ended up retiring from his lifetime dream job of Police Detective because of the emotional impact of the day-to-day and lack of resources to support him and his colleagues. It took over a year to convince the department of his official PTSD diagnosis (from multiple doctors & psychologists) to allow him to retire and not lose his pension. Your work is so important to so many. Thank you.
Wendy L. Nyborg
Executive Assistant | Ian Morgan Cron