A few years ago Joe Calloway delivered an exceptional presentation at a National Speakers Association Conference. The focus of the presentation was the question “What are you letting go of?” Calloway’s challenge to all the professional speakers and trainers in the audience was to look at what they teach, and the products they sell and decide what they needed to let go of. He encouraged everyone to let go of the presentations and training programs that are comfortable because they have taught them so many times but are stale in their content and their delivery. He encouraged people to ensure the material and the manner in which it is presented is fresh.
He also asked a great question that really struck a cord with me. “What are you good at that you feel trapped by?” Great question. As I reflected on it I realized there were a few presentations and programs I was teaching that, while I was good at teaching them I felt trapped. I no longer looked forward to teaching those programs. I was no longer excited to see them on the calendar. As a professional I showed up and gave it what I believed was my best effort. Do I believe the participants of those programs realized I was no longer excited to teach them? I doubt it. Did they truly and honestly get my very best? In all honesty the answer is probably not. At a subconscious level you are going to be influence by the fact the program no longer excites you. So, what do you do?
In my case I stepped away from some of those programs and referred clients to other people who could provide great training for them. If you find yourself in the same position then move on to something else. It is easy to get comfortable with what you know, what you are good at or what makes you money. None of those are good enough reasons to keep doing it.
If walking away is not an option then rework the program. Find new material, new exercises, new ways of teaching the material to make it fresh and keep it fun. This will enhance the experience for both you and your officers.
You need to step back and look at what you teach and how you teach it then ask yourself “What do I need to let go of?” What are you teaching just because that is how you have always taught it? What are you teaching just because it is in the lesson plan when you no it is no longer valid, or no longer the best tactic for your officers. It is easy to get too comfortable with the material, the powerpoint and the drills. It takes work to update course training standards and lesson plans. It takes time and energy to continually be reading, training and studying to keep abreast of the latest information and the latest tactics and techniques. It takes work to filter through all the new information and determine what is appropriate for your officers and your agency. It takes work to build a business case for why we need to do things differently. It takes time and effort to changes peoples attitudes and to convince the naysayers. But, it is worth the time and effort.
If you are not willing to put in the work, the time and the effort then it is time to let go of your role as a trainer.