I cannot tell you how many times at conferences, training sessions and forums I have heard trainers and officers complain about management, blame management for all the ills of their agency and ask “When is management going to get this? When is management going to change? Why isn’t management here?”
Over the years I have listened to the question, asked the question and taken part in the debates. At some point a few years ago however, it dawned on me that I needed to stop blaming ‘management’ (whoever they are) and start taking responsibility.
As trainers we need to accept the reality that in most organizations trainers have more influence with the rank and file officers than the Chief, or other levels of management ever will. Accepting that reality can be uncomfortable for some because it shifts the responsibility to you. It makes you accountable and responsible to find a way to use your influence to become an influence professional and change agent who makes a positive impact on the organization.
Most officers have very little direct contact with the Chief yet deal with trainers every day during their academy training, followed up by their time with field ‘training’ officers, and then have ongoing contact with the trainers every year throughout their careers. The bigger the agency the less interaction you have with the people at the top of your agency’s org chart.
Trainers influence organizations through the curriculum, skills, tactics, knowledge and attitudes they teach and model.
The question is what are you doing to influence your organization in positive ways?
- Do you keep abreast of the latest research, skills and tactics then find ways to filter it, interpret it and share the salient points with your officers?
- Do you subscribe to the Force Science Institute Newsletter (many use of force trainers still do not) so you are able to keep abreast of the latest in science and research? Do you share this information with fellow trainers, investigators, supervisors and officers?
- Have you read the three research projects published by the FBI over the last 20 years (Killed in the Line of Duty, In the Line of Fore and Violent Encounters)? There are many valuable insights in this great research that can be used to enhance officers knowledge and motivation.
- Do you attend conferences like ILEETA to get exposed to cutting edge research and training, network with some of the best law enforcement trainers in the world and reignite your fire?
- Do you read for an hour a day to enhance your knowledge and understanding of how the human mind and body work and how best to help our officers learn?
- Do you study sales so you understand how to sell your officers, your administrators and others you influence on the importance of continuous training? As Jeffrey Gitomer says “people like to buy, but they do not like to be sold to”. No one is going to buy your ideas or recommendations based on why it is important to you. Step away from your position and put yourself in their shoes. Why would it be important to them. Why it is important to them is very different from why it would be important to you if you were in that job so be careful.
- Do you continually seek to incorporate improvements to training curriculums within the framework provided by POST or your organization or by changing the framework?
- Do you seek to influence policy within your organization by sharing the knowledge, research and experiences of other organizations as well as experts in the field?
Once you decide to stop complaining and start taking action to become an influence professional within your organization you might be surprised at the impact you can have.
Until the end of August I am donating $10.00 from every copy of W.I.N. Volumes 1 and 2 and If I Knew Then: Life Lessons From Cops on the Street sold through Warrior Spirit Books to the ILEETA Scholarship Fund to help send trainers like yourself to the ILEETA Conference in April. To take advantage of bulk discounts for orders of 10 books or more contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.