Orientation: On Going Process, not a Picture.

From the Adaptive Leadership Symposium there were several key terms I picked up from the instructors. One that rung my thought process came from Chet Richards powerful presentation. He said; "Orientation is an on-going process, not a picture." I immediately thought "complacency" I have preached the word complacency over and over again while training law enforcement and security professionals. I thought this "orientation phase" of the Boyd Cycle is where security practitioners  are missing the boat, are putting themselves into positions of disadvantage because they are seeing the circumstances as a picture, an idea set in their minds from past experiences. The mind anticipates the results from past calls for service or past incidents based on the picture an individual  has formed overtime. i.e. "a car stop is just another car stop" an encounter with a suspicious person is just another encounter." The fact is most of what we do is very similar. The circumstances end after all the high stress and anticipation with no harm coming to either side involved in the conflict. They are all similar, but oh so "different."

The statement "orientation is an on-going process not a picture." is as I thought about it, critical to understand. How we see our circumstances and what is unfolding in front of us is key to whether we are successful or not. To have proper orientation of a scene, "whatever it is"  to understand what it is, thats going on! We do this through constant assessment of the scene "observation" which is not just seeing via sight, but seeing with all your senses all six: sight, sound, smell, taste, touch which develops your sixth sense, gut feeling, hunch or what is called intuition. This process must be constant, from the first call, in responding, arriving and throughout contact and dealing with the circumstances whether its human on human conflict an accident or a natural disaster of some kind.

One cannot simply see; based on the past. Although the patterns developed from past experiences are crucial to our understanding of the circumstances. However one must see something unique something outside the normal patterns of past experiences, past successes, that ended uneventful. If we are to gain the initiative and succeed our orientation must indeed be "On-going!"

Thoughts on how we develop and fine tune this mental skill will be discussed in the next post.