During my 23 years as a law enforcement trainer I have come to the realization there has not been an original thought or original material in about 100 years (maybe longer). Everything is recycled. As trainers we take the knowledge and information that is out there and we repackage it, reframe it, and retool it in original ways to put existing information in context for a particular audience and for our profession. We come up with unique and creative ways of interpreting and applying existing information. In reality it is the application, interpretation, packaging and delivery of material that is original, not the information itself.
In the book Be Excellent at Anything the author Tony Schwartz quotes George Keller as saying “One of the paradoxes of creativity is that in order to think originally, we must familiarize ourselves with the ideas of others.” Schwartz goes on to point out “Information, in short, represents the raw material from which original thinking emerges – and the more knowledge ones has, the better the base.”
When you attend an ILEETA Conference (www.ileeta.org) one of the things that becomes immediately apparent is people’s willingness to share. They willingly share their time, share their knowledge, share their experience, share their information, share their material and share the credit. ILEETA is an organization of peers and the majority of members are very willing to share everything they have knowing two things:
- Everything they have they first learned from someone else.
- The people they share it with will give them credit when they use the material themselves.
There are some trainers in the law enforcement community however, who want to hoard all ‘their stuff’ because they are afraid someone else will steal it. My experience is if you share what you know, others are likely to give credit to you as their source.
Professional speaker and trainer Joe Calloway talks about Becoming a Category of One (I would recommend reading his book by that title). His premise is that you need to focus on becoming a category of one by setting yourself apart from others through your preparation, your presentation, your content, your relevancy, and your style and stop worrying about people stealing your stuff.
I am not the only trainer to present on the topic of mental preparation (Harnessing the Winning Mind and Warrior Spirit), personal responsibility (The Pursuit of Personal Excellence), instructor development (Excellence in Training), the power of the mind for healing (Verbal Trauma Control) or imagery (Performance Enhancement Imagery). What makes my presentations unique and sets me apart from others is the manner in which I:
- use quotes,
- tell stories,
- craft my visual aides,
- relate the information to the audience,
- use humour,
- engage the audience,
- breakdown and use video
- and the way I use imagery.
The material is not the key to what I do. My unique approach and delivery style is the key to my ability to create a world class learning experience for people.
There are also some in the training world who want to claim other people ‘stole their stuff’. The reality is trainers all use some variation of the same foundational material, they just package and deliver it in different ways. So, if you are one of those people caught up claiming people stole your stuff because you were the first to think of it, get over it and get over yourself. We all got our stuff from someone else, from a book, from an audio tape, from a presentation, from a conversation, from a movie, from an article, from a class we took, and from our experiences, and from the experiences of others. Instead seek to make yourself a category on one and set yourself apart from others.
The bottom line is this. Do not plagiarize other people’s work. Do not take someone else’s speech, article or PowerPoint and claim it as your own. Do however, learn, study, read and borrow from others and always give credit. Doing so helps to spread the important messages and reinforces what should be the bottom line for all of us, which is keeping officers safe.
Thought Leader, Speaker, Trainer, Author and president of Winning Mind Training Inc.
Training law enforcement professionals to W.I.N. through Life’s Most Powerful Question.
To book Brian to speak at your event contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.