When Do We Teach the Basics?

Don Vandergriff has put together another fine article and guide to making more effective decision makers. The title of the article is, “When Do We Teach The Basics?” Before you think you have heard it all before and that you have been an instructor for years and know how to teach the fundamentals of your craft, THINK AGAIN! We have it backwards! Backward if we are looking to create and nurture problem solving and timely decision making in those charged with making decisions. 

I have had it backward myself for years but Don Vandergriff who I have had the honor and privilege of working with on occasion and  I know call my friend is a great mentor who helped mend my ways. Don knows who to translate theory to practice. I have seen his methodologies work. he has made great inroads at changing the culture of the Military who we in law enforcement get most training methodologies and tactics from. They have suffered from many of the same problems with training and leadership we in the protection professions do. The military is evolving and we must as well.

The crux of this is in understanding the OODA Loop also known as the Boyd Cycle and how we make decisions and then how do we develop and condition this cycle, making more effective decision makers. Decision makers who decide on the fly, in rapidly changing conditions. Decisions in the heat of the moment dealing with conflict and violence. 

“The OODA Loop provides a guide to how to think faster than the enemy. However, it is a guide and not a process.  Students should first be guided through many scenarios to discover the loop on their own. When finally introduced to the formal theory, student will say, “Wow, that is what I was doing!”

The systematic linear approach to training we utilize today is not good enough when preparing today's law enforcement officers fro dynamic non-linear complex problems and threats. In most cases training we provide in an effort to improve performance ends upon leaving the classroom. Only days after training retention of the material and methods learned has perished. this is mainly because an instructor stood in front of us and told us what to do and then we did it to an acceptable level. We did not have to do anything but copy a procedure or skill and mirror it back to the instructor. Not good enough. Instead we must use methods that create difficulties for students in training and then allow them to solve the problem. this may slow training down but it makes for better learning and more effective decision makers in the long term. As trainers We must shift our focus from efficiency to that of effectiveness!

We must change our training methodology to one that does more than require rote memorization and following a checklist of procedures. We are better than that, much better and should move beyond acceptable performance and instead strive for excellence!

“Leader development for the full spectrum of 21st century military operations must at every grade level be based on quality; not quantity.”

This mindset hold true to law enforcement and security as well. The threats have changed and continue to evolve as we speak. So to does our adversaries motivations and intent that include more dedicated, informed and highly trained individuals and groups. Preparing the frontline for full spectrum operations takes a leadership philosophy that nurtures adaptability at all levels of an organization an Adaptive Leadership Methodology (ALM) and an Outcomes Based Training and Education  (OBT&E) mindset shift.

“Schools and courses employing OBT&E principles guiding and ALM-based curriculum constantly put students in difficult, unexpected situations, and then require them to decide and act under time pressure. Schooling must tae students out of their comfort zones. Stress-mental and moral as well as physical must be constant. Wargames, tactical decision games, map exercises, and free play field exercises must constitute the bulk of the curriculum.”

This type of training develops and combines physicals skills, the ability to decide, the attributes necessary to decide such as strength of character and then the all important WHY behind the decisions and actions taken.

The current leadership and training methodology currently used has seen its time and usefulness in the law enforcement profession. We must evolve to meet the challenges that lay ahead and develop full spectrum officers who can think on their feet!. Don has put together a how too guide with this article. Well worth your time and effort to read and apply to our organizations.

“When conflict with enemies becomes necessary, Boyd’s timeless concept of “operating inside heir OODA Loops” provides the mechanism for achieving resolution rapidly and with minimum damage to our  coalitions and to friendly and uncommitted populations.

Any comments and feedback would be greatly appreciated. you can sound off in the comments section.

See the attached PDF bellow! Print it! Post It! Share it and APPLY IT!

Stay Oriented!


Vanderfriff_JFQMay2010.pdf325.94 KB