Too often when we talk about keeping things simple people think we are referring to dumbing things down, or teaching to the lowest common denominator. Both of those thoughts are in accurate. This is also not about the K.I.S.S. Principle as the people we are teaching are not stupid.
Simplicity is about teaching core concepts and principles that will allow officers to solve problems and win violent encounters. In control tactics core concepts are things like balance, power and mobility. By teaching core priciples and concepts you provide officers tools that will work regardless of the environment, or their ssize and strength. Too often trainers want to teach their officers a large number of techniques rather than focusing on the key concepts and then allowing officers to apply those principles and concepts to solve problems in a variety of contextual environments.
In Chip and Dan Heath’s book Made to Stick, Simplicity is one of the keys to help make messages sticky. One of the examples they use is the acceptance of the US military that no plan survives first contact with the enemy and the subsequent need to move from complex, overly detailed battle plans to the concept of Commander’s Intent. They describe Commander’s Intent as “a crisp, plain-tralk statement that appears at the top of every order, specifying the plan’s goal, the desired end-state of an operation.” Commander’s Intent, like core concepts and principles in law enforcement training, allows warriors to improvise, adapt and overcome a variety of obstacles to complete the mission.
There is a lesson here for law enforcement trainers as well. Focus on What’s Important Now. Focus on principles and concepts.
Next week I will post a great article by Greg Erie titled: Police Ground Fighting: To complicated or not drilled enough? In this article Greg does a very good job of focusing on simplicity in relation to ground fighting training.
P.S. As a result of numerous inquiries about a book on Excellence in Training, my desire to share thoughts, insights and lessons learned from the past 30 years and my desire to raise funds for the ILEETA Scholarship Fund I have come out with an e-book. I have modified my blog postings and turned them into an e-book. Excellence in Training Volume 1 is now available for purchase and immediate download at www.warriorspiritbooks.com for the exceptionally great price of $5.77. $4.00 from the sale of every e-book will go to the ILEETA Scholarship Fund (I am half way to my goal of $10,000.00 by the end of the year. The Excellence in Training e-books will be a series of easy to use e-books each of which will be 25 chapters (50 to 60 pages) and each will be very reasonably priced.