A tree that is unbending is easily broken. -Lao Tzu
Seth Godin published a blog on July 5, 2021, entitled Rigor and Rigid. A relatively short post but one that really got me thinking.
In his blog, Seth points out that something that is “rigid” is easy to describe. Boy, is that true. When we as trainers are instructing in our “silos”, what we are teaching is usually easy to describe. It’s easy because it involves one topic. And truth be told, it usually only contains a very small section of that topic. The author points out that rigid, however, is brittle.
Seth continues to point out that rigor allows one to more easily adapt to changing demands. This certainly is important in the business world, but it is much more important to those in the public safety sector.
Our folks – police officers, firefighters, paramedics, dispatchers (literally everyone) – need the flexibility to be able to adapt to situations that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving. If you don’t believe this, please read Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989).
Trainers have a responsibility to ensure that training provided to their folks creates rigor without rigidity. That officers can be sent on a potential medical and still be able to respond appropriately when it turns into dealing with a person in crisis. Or that firefighters can shift from battling a fire to conducting an extraction of an injured partner. Or that dispatchers can shift from taking a family trouble to speaking to a parent who has just kidnapped their kids.
We must ensure that the training provided reflects the environments that the various skills must be applied within. Hint: that means there has to be more than classroom environments. Our goal should be to provide the knowledge, skills, and experience so that our people can adaptively respond. We hear a lot of complaints as we deliver our in-person trainings on the lack of adaptive decision making on the part of young people in this profession. It is the trainer’s responsibility to speed up the acquisition of these skills through properly designed training.
If you haven’t signed up for Seth Godin’s blogs yet you can do so here. If you are interested in learning more about training that produces rigorous results please see information on our Transformational Trainer course and our Developing Exceptional Training Programs course.
Remember that rigorous, not rigid, is the goal.