How many times have your heard, or used, the phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” ? The mentality behind it is, “If it is working now, and does not appear to be broken, then leave it alone. It will probably be ok. Really, why go to the all work to change it?” This is an extremely dangerous mentality. Colin Powell hit the nail on the head when he said, “‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ is the slogan of the complacent, the arrogant or the scared. It’s an excuse for inaction.”
You cannot afford to wait for “it” to break. In law enforcement when it breaks it often means something bad has happened; someone was hurt or killed or someone is looking at losing their job or going to jail.
You cannot afford to let the complacent, arrogant or scared win this battle. Too much is at stake. You owe it to the men and women you train, your agency and your community to be continually looking for ways to enhance and improve the training you deliver. You need to be asking questions such as:
- Is the content still relevant and current?
- What does the research on learning say and how do I apply those lessons?
- Is there a better way to deliver the information?
- Is the sequencing and timing of the training the most effective in terms of the learner?
- How could I make this better for the learner?
If you are not continually looking, assessing and asking “it” may be broken and you won’t even know it. Sometimes you need to bring in someone from outside your training cadre who does not suffer from the tunnel vision and confirmation bias we all experience at times regarding our own training and challenge them to ask you as many questions as possible. Questions about why you teach what you do, in the manner you do and in the sequence you do. The answers to these questions, or the inability to answer the questions, may serve to point out areas which need to be addressed.
The words, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” should be an immediate red flag for you and a call to action.
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