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Key Takeaways

  • Education, particularly targeted towards the young, plays a pivotal role in altering societal perceptions. By introducing complex social roles through accessible mediums like children’s literature, we can foster early understanding and acceptance.
  • Emphasizing inclusivity and representation in all sectors is crucial. Showcasing diversity within professional roles educates and inspires broader communities by challenging stereotypes and highlighting the richness of varied backgrounds.
  • Direct engagement with communities, especially the youth, can significantly shift perceptions toward authority and professional figures. Personal encounters, characterized by openness and positivity, can dismantle preconceptions and build trust.
  • Promoting civil dialogue stands out as a fundamental tool for conflict resolution in a landscape marked by division. Effective communication fosters understanding and collaboration, which is crucial for bridging divides and promoting peace.
  • Approaching negotiations and conflicts with empathy and thorough preparation is essential. Understanding the human aspects behind disputes allows for more compassionate and effective resolution strategies, even in high-stress situations.
  • The ability to adapt negotiation strategies, especially in situations lacking non-verbal cues, highlights the importance of empathy and creative communication methods. These skills are vital for connecting and understanding parties in conflict.
  • Maintaining ethics, authenticity, and dignity in all interactions underpins successful outcomes. Viewing negotiations as opportunities for mutual growth and maintaining respect for all parties involved ensures integrity and trustworthiness.
  • Establishing connections by seeking to understand the underlying issues in any conflict is a powerful approach. Employing empathy and striving for common ground can lead to more meaningful and constructive resolutions.

Executive Summary:

Hey everyone! Welcome back to the NEGOTIATEx podcast. We are continuing our conversation with Adrian Goodwin, a law enforcement practitioner, author, entrepreneur, and speaker. 

In part A, we explored her remarkable journey, from her formative years in an urban environment to her transition from teaching to law enforcement. She discussed the challenges and opportunities of being a black woman in the NYPD, emphasizing the importance of empathy, mentorship, and diversity in building effective teams. 

Through recounting a crisis negotiation and her approach to family disputes, Adrian showcased the universal applicability of negotiation skills. She also shared her strategies for self-regulation in high-stakes situations and the integration of real-world experiences into her academic teaching.

If you haven’t checked out Part A, we highly recommend that you do so before checking out this one. With that said, let’s jump in.  

‘Twins In The City’ And The Mission To Educate Through Children’s Literature

Firstly, Nolan asks Adrian about her book “Twins In The City.” He inquires about her motivation for writing the book.

Adrian responds by mentioning that she wrote the book to address and enrich the understanding of law enforcement’s diverse roles within communities through children’s literature. 

The book showcases law enforcement officers from various backgrounds engaging in community events aimed at inspiring children and educating parents about the multifaceted roles of police officers. It serves as a tool for conflict resolution by fostering appreciation and understanding of people from diverse backgrounds. 

Adrian’s Twins Champion’ Twins In The City’ As A Beacon Of Inclusivity And Understanding

Moving on, Aram asks Adrian about the reception of the book. He notes that while it’s known that people are enjoying it, the ultimate test of its success or appeal is what Adrian’s twins think of it.

In response, Adrian shares that her twins, who are featured in “Twins In The City,” absolutely love the book. They participate in reading events, introduce themselves, and build their public speaking and confidence skills. Children and attendees are often surprised and inspired to see that the characters in the book are based on real children and that a police officer can also be an author. 

Adrian highlights that the book has served as an educational tool, enlightening readers about the diversity within law enforcement. This includes officers who speak different languages, come from various parts of the world, and embrace different cultural attire, such as turbans or hijabs, alongside traditional police uniforms.

Adrian’s experience in law enforcement has shown her the evolution towards greater inclusivity and representation. She recalls a particularly impactful moment during a school event where a girl wearing a hijab inquired about the possibility of pursuing a career in law enforcement. 

This interaction reaffirmed Goodwin’s motivation for writing the book, aiming to inspire and educate children and adults alike about the inclusive nature of modern law enforcement.

Adrian’s Approach To Changing Perspectives And Fostering Respect Through Education

Nolan praises Adrian’s dedication to empowering young people. He inquires about Adrian’s strategy for engaging with younger audiences and asks about the intended outcomes of these interactions.

Adrian notes the importance of empowerment and positive influence in her interactions with younger audiences, leveraging her leadership roles and opportunities to speak at schools on topics like cyberbullying. She provides them with resources, information, and knowledge that enable them to form their own opinions and perspectives on law enforcement. 

Adrian firmly believes in the power of changing perceptions and attitudes towards individuals and their professions through personal encounters. Her goal is to foster understanding and respect for law enforcement, demonstrating the importance of how one presents themselves in their role to make a positive difference in the community.

Adrian’s Vision For Enhancing Dialogue And Understanding In A Divided World

On a similar note, Adrian highlights the importance of long-term investment in community interactions and the crucial role of civil dialogue. 

She acknowledges the detrimental impact social media has had on civil discourse and emphasizes the need for those in the fields of negotiations and conflict resolution to focus on promoting effective communication. It would help build healthy relationships and model positive behaviors. 

Adrian stresses the importance of explaining the practical benefits of conflict resolution and negotiation in understandable terms, especially to the younger generation, to prepare them for professional and personal success.

As society approaches a politically charged period, such as a presidential election year, Adrian calls for a recommitment to the fundamental goals of society regarding how people are treated and interact with each other. 

Adrian’s Compassionate Approach To Negotiation And Conflict Resolution

After that, Adrian describes her approach to arriving at a negotiation scene, emphasizing the importance of gathering comprehensive background information before engaging directly with a suspect. 

She explains that upon arrival, she does not immediately approach the suspect but instead receives a debriefing to understand the situation fully. This debriefing covers what led to the current standoff, any tactical attempts made, where those attempts may have fallen short, and the current status and objectives of the negotiation.

Adrian shares a compassionate negotiation strategy, recounting buying a sandwich for a suspect during a long negotiation, anticipating his hunger, and empathizing with his needs. This illustrates her unique approach to integrating compassion into tactical law enforcement operations, demonstrating an understanding of human needs even in high-stress, tactical situations. 

Adrian’s Guide To Effective Negotiation In Any Setting

Next, Adrian emphasizes the critical importance of active listening and understanding the other party’s perspective in order to be more intentional in daily negotiations, regardless of the profession. She highlights the need for a collaborative mindset that seeks mutual benefits for all parties involved, suggesting that focusing on these key areas can increase the chances of achieving positive outcomes.

Adrian also addresses the challenges of negotiating when direct visual contact isn’t possible, such as through phone calls or behind doors, which is common in her field of law enforcement negotiations. Despite these challenges, she stresses the importance of training for these scenarios to build connection and understanding without the aid of visual cues like body language. 

Adrian’s approach involves actively imagining the situation of the person on the other end of the line to communicate and negotiate effectively, underscoring the adaptability and empathy required in complex environments.

How Adrian Goodwin’s Values Shape Success In Law Enforcement And Beyond

Adrian Goodwin’s approach to her professional and personal life is deeply influenced by her values and beliefs, emphasizing ethics, authenticity, respect, and dignity in all interactions. She believes in the positive aspects of negotiations and aims to leave people with their dignity intact, meeting them where they are to help navigate challenges.

Adrian sees negotiations not as inherently negative but as opportunities for growth and resolution, both personally and professionally. Her authentic and empathetic demeanor has been crucial to her success, earning her respect and endorsements from others even in her absence.

When dealing with difficult individuals, Adrian stresses the importance of building connections and approaching interactions without ego. She uses the iceberg theory to understand that there may be underlying issues not immediately visible. 

Adrian advocates for humanizing these interactions by seeking to understand the other person’s perspective and finding common ground to resolve conflicts. She believes that compassion and grace are key to connecting with others and overcoming challenges, encouraging a deeper understanding of the complexities each person faces. 

Her guidance emphasizes the significance of relationships in all aspects of life and the power of empathy in navigating difficult situations.

Adrian, Aram, and Nolan discuss more on this episode of the NEGOTIATEx podcast. Write to us at team@negotiatex.com and share your thoughts on this informational podcast episode. Also, if you enjoyed the episode, we’d be thrilled if you could rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your ratings help us grow and improve.

Thank you for your time!


Nolan Martin : Hey everyone, thanks for joining us on the NEGOTIATEx podcast. We are continuing our conversation with Adrian Goodwin, law enforcement practitioner, author, entrepreneur, and speaker.

If you haven't already checked out part A of this show, be sure to do that first. Let's jump in the conversation with Adrian.

NM : Recently you authored a book called “Twins In The City: Let's Learn About Police Officers.” What was your motivation for writing this book and what is it about?

Inspiring Diversity and Understanding in Law Enforcement through Children's Literature [01:07]

Adrian Goodwin : Yeah, so there was three events that has taken place over I would say the last seven years that told me, you know what? I think it's time for you to write this book. One was teaching this course at John Jay. I would have students that would say, I've never seen a police officer wear a hijab. I've never seen a black female detective in person outside of the great cop shows that we see.

And then one time I was invited to do a read aloud at a Girl Scout troop and I stopped at my local library. I went to go get a police book, and I'm just like, this is it. Very limited number of books. The books really didn't reflect the diverse communities. And I said, you know what? I think I need to write a book. And lastly, my twins said to me, mom, what else do police officers do besides catch the bad guys?

And I go, wow. I think we're missing a huge opportunity in law enforcement to bridge across the age gap to really show more of what law enforcement do in the community. And of course, before I do my readings, I always ask, well, what do police officers do? They catch the bad guys, they put them in jail, but what else? And at the end of the story, they're able to add more context to that. But twins in the city, let's learn about a police officer, is a book that highlights the positive interaction that law enforcement have within the community.

And as children read the book, they'll get to see people from all diverse backgrounds. They'll get to see a police officer wearing a hijab, a black police officer, someone wearing a turban, someone speaking Spanish, interacting in the community at different various events. And I think that's important to bridge the gap, inspire children to maybe one day see themselves as police officers.

But what I love the most are the stories from the parents that go, I never knew this. I learned something from reading this children's book. So it's the cornerstone to conflict resolution because that's where start is the appreciation and understanding of those from various backgrounds.

Aram Donigian : You have your own twins. Are there going to be other twins in the city's books? Any plans for that? Are we looking for a second, the next one?

AG : I’m thinking about it. I'm thinking about it. Yeah, yeah, definitely. It's a lot of work writing a book, especially a children's book, right? It's a lot of work in marketing and putting it out there, but we'll see if I can find some time in between everything else.

AD : We know people are enjoying the book, but the biggest test is how do your twins, what do they think about the book?

A Police Officer's Journey to Inspire Through Children's Books and Personal Stories [03:44]

AG : They love it. When they don't have school, we'll take them out to different reading events and they'll get to introduce themselves. So it's building their confidence. They're public speaking skills, so which is great to see them and the little kids go, wait, that's you? Like you're the character in the book. But then for them to say, you're a police officer and you are author.

So it was like, oh, wow, that's pretty cool. I didn't know that police officers spoke different languages. I didn't know that they come from different parts of the world or wear different hats. I have seen how law enforcement has changed over the time since I've been on the job where uniform and policies have changed to welcome and embrace the awareness of members from diverse backgrounds, from wearing the regular police hat to having a turban and having a shield, a fix to the turban.

I think that's wonderful to see. And it's important for those communities to be able to see themselves and law enforcement. And I'll just share this quick story with you guys. My husband and I did a speaking event at our local school in the city, and one of the girls came up to the table and she said, I would like to be a police officer, but how can I, and she went like this, she pointed to hijab, how can I be a police officer?

I looked at my husband, I go, this is why we're writing this book. And I've been able to share stories with her. And she just said, I never seen this before. So even in high school, the book adds value.

AD : So, your book isn't the only way you seek to foster more positive relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve. Could you share a bit more about some of the other work you do and why it's so vital given today's societal dynamics?

A Commitment To Community Service And Empowerment Through Diverse Leadership Roles [05:24]

AG : Yes. Shirley Chisholm once said that service is the rent that we pay for the room to be here. And I think it's all of our duties to show up in our community and really give a hand back and help the next generation as we have navigated through our own professional and personal journey in life. I serve as a board member for the Police Activity League in Nassau County. I'm a board of directors for Girl Scouts of Nassau County, Vice President of the National Association of Negro Women Business and Professional Clubs.

So providing financial literacy in the community, all of these different ways, board members of another organization, but all these different venues allow for me to be present within that space share about my background, which people are always intrigued just to be able to speak to whether it's military law enforcement, they just want to know the stories and the journey. How did you get there?

So just being one-on-one, whether we are playing basketball or there's a dance workshop going on, that's my way to mentor that is my way to humanize the badge is to be present in my community and hopefully 10 years from now, it'll pay dividends where they'll say, Hey, I met Adrian at this event and she inspired me to be a police officer. So those are the different ways that I look to carry out my….

AD : You are quite an inspiration. Two kids in college, two nine year olds, you're writing books. You have a full-time job on the police force and you still show up. I think it's so interesting to me because we do vote about what's important just by how we show up and where we show up our presence, and you are taking an active role within your community and it'd be easy to say, you've got enough on your plate, boy, thanks for the challenge that you're kind of throwing up to the rest of us to say, what are we doing in our own communities?

AG : When you do what you love, it doesn't feel like work. And I truly enjoy every aspect of what I do. It gives me joy. You think about why do you wake up every day? Why do you wake up every day? What's your purpose here on earth? And that's what keeps me going.

NM : Your commitment to youth empowerment is evident. How do you approach speaking with younger audiences and what impact do you hope to achieve through these interactions?

A Law Enforcement Officer's Approach To Empowerment And Understanding In The Community [07:45]

AG : All of the venues I just shared as far as my leadership in these organizations, having opportunities to speak at schools all throughout the city, do workshop events. I do cyber bullying, workshop events, just encouraging kids to hey, one you can dream, you can be anything that you want to be.

Just providing kids with that resource and the outlet and just the information and knowledge so they can form their own opinion and have their own perspective of what law enforcement is. And I always say that we can't change the world at the snap of our fingertips, but we can change how people think and feel one encounter at a time.

We have the power to change how someone think and feel about you as an individual first, but then you and your profession and your role as a law enforcement officer, a teacher, a lawyer, you have that power and how you show up is very important.

AD : And I love the long-term perspective. You shared earlier you were saying that these interactions, it may take 10 years to see the payoff, see the return on investment, the dividend on that interaction, but investing now is so important to what you're doing. Civil dialogue, which is something you focus on and it's on the intersection of justice and peace. I would say it appears to be lacking, but maybe I just should call it what it is and says it is lacking in so many circles today, politically, socially, and so on.

I believe that this has probably made worse because of social media, the ability to throw things out there and not have to be accountable to 'em. You've mentioned about being present in our communities. What else should those of us that are working in the field of negotiations and conflict resolution, what else should we be doing to help others engage in more constructive civil discourse? And even to frame this, just one more piece to this, Adrian framing it in 2024. We have a political presidential election upon us this year, and we can probably all anticipate it's going to get nasty before it gets better, if it gets better anyways.

What should those of us that specialize in this field be doing so that we could, again, civil discourse?

The Crucial Role Of Communication, Relationships, And Modeling Positive Behaviors For Future Generations [10:00]

AG : Absolutely. It's lost. It's lost. I don't know what happened. And I think social media has been part of the demise of how we show up and treat one another. I think for the generation that's coming behind us, it's important to share why effective communication is key, why we should be focused on building healthy relationships, not just personally, but professionally as young adults, young, professional, the importance of seeking job, employment, scholarship, business opportunity, networking.

We have to share what is the benefit? What does all this talk about, conflict resolution and negotiation? What does this really mean in layman's terms? So that these kids can understand the importance of, okay, this is how I need to show up, this is what I need to do.

But also focusing on the end goal. What do we want for our society? What do we want it to look like, feel like? How do we want to treat people? And then we have to be the model in that as negotiators, we have to model the behavior in every aspect of our lives.

And I think that's the most important thing to do. And first is going to start within your home and then hopefully your children and those that are around you model in that behavior, and hopefully the remnants of that begins to spread and we can really bring everyone back to the fold.

NM : So I wanted to circle back to something we said earlier about how in the other bureau they're like, Hey, let's get good one over here. When you arrive on scene, is there a process that you go through to get caught up and get a good solid foundation before you go into the negotiation? Or how does that exactly work for you?

The Unconventional Approach Of Integrating Compassion Into Tactical Law Enforcement Operations [11:46]

AG : Oh yeah. So you never just go directly to the suspect at that scene. We have a truck, a Tyro truck or we may just be standing off from where the incident is taking place, and I get debriefed. We all kind of get caught up as to what got us to the situation, why is this person here? What are some of the tactical advantages that we have tried? Where did we fall short and just where are we right now and what is the gold outlining the gold in this case? And that was important.

So once I came in, we outlined all of that, and me being a mom empathetic on my way there, and I knew how long this negotiation was going on, I was like, you know what? This guy is probably hungry. Let me just stop at McDonald's and grab a sandwich. So, I arrived to the scene with the sandwich just because I knew he probably was hungry, yeah.

AD : Not something everybody would probably think of as they're processing this and getting ready to walk into a pretty stressful situation

NM : And NEGOTIATEx, we're focused on elevating one's ability to influence through purposeful negotiations. What advice do you have for someone in any walk of life or profession to be more intentional or purposeful in their daily negotiations?

The Power Of Active Listening And Empathy In Overcoming Negotiation Challenges [13:03]

AG : You know what the importance that everyone should have is focusing on prioritizing active listening skills, understanding the other person's perspective, and clearly outlining your goals as an individual beforehand. Being clear and concise about what you want and what you need is extremely important so that there is no misunderstanding.

I think that's where things kind of get lost is where we are not on the same page, but also operating with the mindset of a collaborative mindset and what is the mutual benefit for both of us, for both parties having that when mindset in mind is key, and if we can just operate with those keywords, man, we will have such great outcomes. The chances of having a positive outcome is phenomenal when we focus on those key areas.

AD : Sometimes you've talked so much about active listening, understanding the other person. You are doing this in situations where you may not see them. I mean, I'm guessing most of the time it's behind a door, it's through a cell phone. Can you talk just a little bit as we think about some of these different mediums or modalities of communication, either the challenges, but also how do you work through those challenges so that even though I can't see this person, I'm still building a connection?

AG : It can be very challenging. One of our trainings in negotiation is building through those different modalities, whether it's the phone line, whether it's talking behind a door. So we actually train for incidents like this, but it's tough not to be able to look someone in the eyes and kind of see their body language and kind of feed off of that.

So I have to kind of picture what that looks like just from talking with them over the phone and kind just put myself into that space. But yeah, it's a huge challenge communicating via phone, which we do quite often, which we do quite often.

AD : And practicing what you're going to have to do is important. Yeah. You mentioned being rooted in faith. I would say that's a key part of my motivations too. How do your values and beliefs impact not only the work you're doing every day, but also the perspective that you take long-term as an influencer for good and positive change?

The Impact Of Authenticity, Respect, And Empathy In Professional And Personal Interactions [15:20]

AG : My values guide my decision each and every day, how I show up ethics, being authentic to who I am, treating people with respect and dignity. That is so important to me. I always say you want to leave people with their dignity. You want to meet them where they are and kind of help them navigate through whatever challenges. And negotiations are not always bad. It's good. I don't want negotiations to be like this somber thing where it's just so depressed and like, Ugh.

But negotiations are good. We always, in negotiations, conflicts with ourselves and achieving different personal goals, but it helps me to build positive influence throughout my day, and that helps with me in my role, in my profession. It helps me as an entrepreneur. It helps getting speaking engagements. It's all about my presence and how I show up, and I think that's been my key.

It's been such a game changer for me is the fact that people just like, man, there's something about you. You're just so down to earth. You're real. I feel this great energy from you. You treat people the way you want to be treated, and it shows, you know how you know it works when people vouch for you and you're not even there when people are in those spaces and go, Hey, Nolan that's the guy like that's the guy. Reach out to them. Those guys are great. They're going to treat you well. That's when you know that you're leading a life that's built off of empathy and being authentic to yourself and people.

AD : Yeah, I love that. And you're dealing with sometimes people who would be easy to dismiss as someone that maybe I don't have to show that respect or leave with their dignity. I imagine some of our listeners are, even if it's not maybe the equivalent of the situations you're in saying, Adrian, you just don't know the person I have to work with. They're a real jerk. They're just not pleasant. They are. Whether again, whether it's a boss or a client or a supplier or whoever it might be. Other than kind of being rooted to your values, as you were saying, and these authenticity around empathy, what's your kind of guidance for a relationship is important, even when you're going to maybe make the assumption it's not and dealing with a difficult person, here's how you do it.

AG : What I would say is that we're not in this world by ourselves. Everything that we do, everything that we need is centered around relationships. Whether you wear the hat as a mom, a sister, a niece, a teacher, everything is centered around building that connection. That's the key, right? Letting go of the ego. It's not about the ego. It's not about you as the individual, but also approaching things with the lens of the iceberg theory.

You may have that challenging coworker, you may see 10% of them, but there may be some underlying issues that are not visible to the naked eye. He may be going through some challenges at home. He may be battling the divorce, he may be homeless, but he can go to the gym, shower, put on a gray suit and show up to work. He may not have seen his kids.

So understanding that other's perspective and just asking the questions, really leaning in saying, Hey, I've noticed we've been butting heads a lot and I really want to work with you. We have this great project ahead, and I think we can do some dynamic things. So edify the person at first, but I noticed that we've been having some challenges around X. How can we mediate? How can we find some sort of resolution so that we can produce this project or put this work together, humanize it, not just surface level stuff, but really go underneath and figure out are there some underlining issues that are attributing to the discourse at home or at work.

AD : I really like that iceberg analogy and that I think so often that's true. We only see 10% of what somebody is going through and experiencing, and it's amazing how quickly we can reach a conclusion based on that little amount of data.

AG : Absolutely. Absolutely. And we think about, we all have our different challenges. We all have doubt issues that we go through. The thing that connects us all together is compassion and grace. Compassion and grace commend us all if we really look at things from a different lens.

AD : One last question. I'm going to pass it over to Nolan to get us wrapped up here in a second 19 years on the force. Do you have an idea about what the future holds? Is that something you can share with us, or are you still just walking the journey?

Envisioning New Horizons [20:09]

AG : I'm thinking about retirement within the next year. I'm trying to position myself to probably transition more to a corporate space, so just looking at my transferable skills and how I can be beneficial in that space. But I'm looking forward to the next chapter in my life. I still have little ones, so I would like to maybe pull the plug at 20 and just see what the next life has to offer. And maybe just.

AD : Well, I'm excited.

AG : Yeah, I'm excited.

AD : Excited to see what that looks like for you, Adrian.

AG : Yeah.

NM : So as we get ready to wrap up, what might you offer as concluding thoughts to leave with our listeners?

Navigating Life's Challenges With Gratitude, Confidence, And Collaboration [20:46]

AG : What I would like to share with your listeners, and this is something that I share with myself every day as I do my little five minute journal, just looking at what are we grateful for, just having a mindset of gratitude, reflecting on who we are at this time in our life and where it is that we we're trying to go. I always like to keep the end goal in mind because that just keeps me pressing forward, that resilience, the confidence, and every time you do something in life, you gain another ounce of confidence.

It makes you feel good as an individual for someone just trying to navigate those different challenges. I would tell 'em to communicate your wants, your needs, set your boundaries, but then find community. I think community is so key. Find community in the areas in which you want to grow as an individual, whether it's both personally or professionally, and always operate with a collaborative mindset because you will always win in the end.

NM : Very cool. Well, thank you very much for sharing this, and thank you for joining us. I'll pass it over to Aram.

AD : Yeah, so many highlights I could go through from compassion and grace to this attitude of gratitude and then just the practical applications of showing up, being a member of a diverse team, leveraging the different perspectives of members within my team, but also recognizing when I come in contact with people outside my team to really be curious and not draw conclusions based on my 10% observation.

Really, really look at where they're at. So a lot of valuable things here, Adrian. Thanks so much for sharing. Thanks for taking the time, and it's nice to get to know you.

AG : Thank you. Thank you so much for inviting me.

NM : Well, that is it for us on today's podcast. If you haven't already, please rate review and subscribe to the NEGOTIATEx podcast and we'll see you in the next episode.

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