When I speak to law enforcement professionals around North America I continually hear people start a sentence (an excuse really) with the words “I am just a”. I am just a patrol officer, I am just a corporal, I am just a sergeant, I am just a Lieutenant, I am just a trainer, etc. What follows in an excuse about why they cannot make a difference in their organization, an excuse why they are somehow not responsible for effecting a change in the culture of their organizations.
When I talk about the culture of an organization I am referring to shared beliefs, shared practices and shared attitudes. Being a trainer is about changing some of those shared beliefs, practices and attitudes. Specifically, changing the ones that are resulting in large numbers of officers being killed and injured every year in the line of duty. Shared beliefs, practices and attitudes about wearing seat belts, wearing body armor, driving speeds and complacency. These are all critical components of the Below 100 initiative. If you are not familiar with Below 100 go to www.below100.com and start reading.
It is not longer acceptable for you as a trainer to use the excuse “What can I do, I am just a trainer.” As a trainer you are a change agent. You are one of the most influential people in your organization. You have the power to implement change and change the culture of your agency. Use you passion, use your powers of persuasion, use your influence to make a difference.
At recent Below 100 Train the Trainer events trainers expressed frustration about the fact their Chief or Sheriff, their sergeant, Lieutenant, or Captain are not on board with the initiatives. That sucks. Now embrace the suck and influence the people you can. If the people in supervisory positions will not get on board then get everyone else on board. As a trainer you are in a leadership position to lead, so lead. Leaders do what is right. What is right is not always popular or expedient, but it is always what’s right.
It starts with you. Ghandi said “you must be the change you wish to see in the world.” You need to be the change you want to see in your agency. This requires you to take action.
“You cannot change anything in your life with intention alone, which can become a watered-down, occasional hope that you’ll get to tomorrow. Intention without action is useless.”
Start by removing the word ‘just’ from the ‘I am’ statement and remove the excuses. In its place use these I am statements:
- I am a leader
- I am a change agent.
- I am a trainer and a person of action.
- I am making a difference.
The Below 100 website (www.Below100.com) has a number of articles and resources available to you as well as a list of upcoming Train the Trainer locations.