We Don't Argue, We Solve Problems
One of my favorite quotes is “Sometimes doing your best isn’t good enough. Sometimes you must do what is required” by Winston Churchill. I’ve also seen it written as “It is no use saying, ‘We are doing our best.’ You must succeed in doing what is necessary.” It’s such a brilliant quote because it applies to many things in life. There are things we like to focus on. Things we do well…and then there are other, less desirable, things that sometimes are required to accomplish something critically important. We may not be as good at these skill sets as we’d like to be. We may not even agree with some other ways of approaching a problem. However, what often is required isn’t that we all agree on “the way” to do something, but that the critical task get done.
For many years now there has been a push towards standardization or, to put it another way, agency interoperability. This is quite the challenge when you consider the tens of thousands of agencies that employ around 2 million first responders. There are arguments about tactics that hijack training quite often.
We are a training program. A research-based training program. Our goal is to provide the best, research-based active attack response training possible. Our approach to doing this is to meet you where you are and get you farther down the evolutionary path…as far as you’re willing to go in the relatively short amount of time we have together. We focus on concepts and principles that are consistent throughout events we’ve studied. Concepts and principles (or outcomes) which all tactics are designed to address. We show tactics, but we also address the inevitable contingencies that life will demand we be able to handle. This is because we’ve seen there are different tactics people prefer out there in how to get work done as well as a sea of variables that will impact how we get work done. We’ve learned that flexibility is a valuable commodity. Flexibility in how we approach training, incident response and working together in general. What we end up doing may not be as originally practiced or be according to our original design. It may end up happening by accident, reaction to a problem we are facing on game day or a result of working with people we have never even met before “the day”. Call your favorite play in the huddle all you want, but when you walk up and see how the defense is actually set up…when you see your favorite play isn’t going to get you anywhere, you need to be capable of calling the audible to run something that will gain yardage. Gaining yardage is the goal, not running a certain play.
We often use or hear others use the “toolbox” analogy, right? Just another tool for your toolbox. This is meant to imply that different jobs may require different tools, specifically designed for that unique set of circumstances. Training is supposed to be a way to try a new tool out. See how it works. See if you like it, figure you'd ever need it or not. At least understand its application. Like going to a clothing store. You try stuff on to see if it fits. Maybe, it becomes your new favorite outfit. Maybe, you buy it just to have on occasion. Or, maybe, it doesn't fit and you don't take it with you. You've at least tried it on.
So, reflecting on Churchill’s quote and applying it to training and response, let’s analyze the levels of training and response we see. Good is knowing a way to solve some problems. So, this would be the equivalent to owning a hammer. You can fix a few different problems with a hammer, mostly hitting things that look like nails and beating things into place. Better is knowing a couple ways to solve problems. You own a hammer and now a screwdriver because, though screws look like nails you’ve come to appreciate how much better a screwdriver gets the job done… not sure if you have both a Phillips and a Flathead, but you get the idea. Best is knowing a few different ways to solve problems, and knowing how to select and use the correct tool for the problem you face. You understand hammer, screwdriver, socket set, metric wrenches…you even have a gear puller you needed once many years ago. Required you’re a critical thinker and a problem solver. You know a few different ways to solve problems, but you also know how to work with others on different projects. Whether or not their tool selection is limited, you recognize what they are doing and can work well with them in getting things done. We don’t argue, we solve problems.