- Post a new discussion related to the topics covered in this module. Your post needs to provide specific lessons learned with examples from this module helping you enhance your leadership capacity at work.
- After posting your discussion, review posts provided by other students in the class and reply to at least one of them.
I think that adaptive decision making comes from quality training and a LEO's experience on the street. It is much more than that though. An officer must make efforts to be open minded to training and participate fully. Training officers must present lesson plans that are realistic and challenging. Further, post incident critiques are important to get officers in the mindset of evaluating incidents for what went right and what could be changed next time.
Adaptive decision-making is a skill that allows individuals to recognize and act on changes in their environment. It is integral to leadership and can be taught with the right training program. Training programs for adaptive decision-makers should focus on introducing challenging scenarios, providing feedback, and helping participants develop a vast repertoire of experiences from actual incidents and training. Experience is a great tool, but sometimes can be costly on many levels with inexperienced leaders. To gain that needed experience, training scenarios are a great avenue. While live role-players are excellent but only sometimes available, we utilized a virtual training system in my department. Sometimes the scenarios and acting are hokey, but there is great value in learning from mistakes and building an individual up in a highly forgiving environment.
When I saw the title of this module I was thrown off, but as usual, it was right on target. The VUCA as described perfectly fits the unknown. the best way to defeat this is thru quality training not just checking the boxes.
VUCA was a concept I had not heard before this course. However, I found this to be an interesting lesson and a concept I intend to look further into.
Volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity never heard of it broken down like that. Every once in a while, a situation arises which would qualify for VUCA. I think training and various role-playing scenarios is definitely the best approach to prepare for the unexpected.
When I first heard VUCA, this was the first time I had heard that term. I asked a couple of my command staff if they had heard of it before I watched the lecture, without success. After hearing the lecture and processing what I heard I like the acronym. It sums up what VUCA stands for and that Volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous are in essence Chaos. Being able to think your way out of the situations is where most officers accel or are able to survive the fight. The quick reaction based upon available data is crucial in this line of work.
Your response was spot on. I had never heard this term either. Its attention-getting and I will share this with my team.
Real-world scenario based training is important to help sharpen effective decision making skills. Past experience and knowledge are crucial when applied to these skills. We generally learn from our mistakes and when done in a controlled environment, is invaluable.
Chad, one of the most effective training for our officers that makes me agree with what your stating is what we call "bag" training for defensive tactics. The concept is simple we have an officer in training gear with all their tools available. We then place a bag on their head, give them a scenario briefing, insert our role players and then take off the bag to introduce them to the scenario and give them minimal time to prepare. This allows the officers to have to make those split second decision in a training environment where they can learn from mistakes and have corrections applied.
Volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity are the chaos that our officers face. Knowledge, experience, training, and adaptive decision making are going to get them through it.
I agree that the only way to increase adaptive decision-making skills is through education and understanding of the complexities that effect the situations and environments we operate in then applying this knowledge and understanding to scenario-based training where we must make rapid decisions and deal with the consequences. Mental rehearsal is an invaluable tool that must be utilized. I have found that the mind works like a rolodex. When presented with a stressful event or situation, the mind spins that rolodex and grabs the image that most closely relates to what is being observed and then the decision is made quickly from this reference point. If no image exists, then the rolodex spins again… and again. In my experience this spinning without grabbing results in hesitation and delay and costs valuable time.
I agree with your analogy of how the mind works. I have been involved in critical incidents where I have relied on training and experiences in the heat of the moment.
Leaders need to draw from their experiences and training and be allowed to grow, flourish, and explore new paths and angles of approach. Failure to do so will ensure a stagnant, non-adaptive, and non-forward-thinking organization that will fall behind the times. A forward-thinking organization needs to train hard & train often.
Well said Daniel. Training and experience is everything in these situations.
VUVA is chaos. This was a very good assessment of the general meaning of the acronym. I like the thought process of being prepared for these situations, although the absolute solution is never known ahead of time. Training, flexibility, creativity, and experience are the best chances for success in critical situations. I agree some people are mentally prepared and have a different ability to control these situations better than others. Sometimes the calm, cool, and collected ones are not who we would have expected.
Well said, Patrick,
Training, flexibility, creativity, and personal experience provide us with a solid foundation to navigate the rapidly developing, tense, and uncertain situations we encounter as law enforcement officers.
I agree. Mental prep is critical to success in this area.
It is always refreshing to see someone emerge when faced with VUCA. While it would be great to see these skills develop in a training situation, I am taken back positively by someone who steps up to the challenge and addresses the situation creatively.
Adaptive decision making skill are best learned by having or conducting realistic training sceneries that challenge individuals to think and look outside the box in order to fix an issue. Placing stress and pressure on the individuals in a training environment afford then the ability to recognize certain areas that they need to improve on and possible way ahead. These challenges will better prepare for the individuals to adapt to an event while remaining cool calm and collective.
Patrick, I agree with you about training and looking outside the box to fix an issue. I also agree that putting people under stress to train and asses necessary changes is on point.
When an individual is placed in a stressful environment and the fight or flight kicks in, his/her level of training and experience will determined if they are able to cope or fall apart. The officer must be able to adapt to the event and be able to stay a calm as possible to survive. This is why we must continue to train.
I believe in the train in the way you fight. Being realistic in training will prepare you for the inevitable.
Stress inoculation is a simplified way of saying VUAC tactic. This is one of the most critical training aspects in law enforcement. What will happen to officers when all hell breaks loose, and they have to react? We have seen officers freeze up, run away, and fight. I teach survival tactics to our officers and put them into positions of helplessness. I make them face the fear. How else are they going to adapt and overcome the situation? This also goes hand in hand with Swat teams. They have to adapt to a fluid evolution of chaos immediately. It comes down to training and more training.
I agree Cory. We must train and train more to handle the chaotic event that will happen. It's not if it will happen, it is when will it happen.
I believe adaptive decision-making pulls from both experience and training. Both will produce confidence in an officer, and it will help with identifying any areas that need to be worked on by the officer.
I agree, Elliot. We might not be prepared for everything, but we certainly know how to work through most anything.
I agreed with this module that an organization must be open to creative thinking. Without creative thinking, an organization would fail to change. The need for changes will always be a part of law enforcement as politics and laws are constantly changing and shifting. The concept of VUCA is new to me; however I send the befits of utilizing it.
Well said Kevin. We must be ever evolving in training, thinking, and concept shifting. Because the climate around policing surly does.
Joseph Spadoni, Jr.
This is the first time I hear the term “VUCA”. As for adaptive leaders, it is necessary to adapt the concept of decision-making by understanding the mental process of effectively reacting to changes in situations. We must be able to anticipate a change and promptly deal with it accordingly. It is a need for us to continually improvise, innovate, and adapt to changing circumstances.
Increasingly, our agency uses high-stress scenario training adapted from incidents. Instructors study the incidents, extract the lessons needed to improve situation awareness and processing. I think this is one of the best means of conceptualizing and demonstrating adaptability.
It is important for all officers to be able to adapt to the hand that they are dealt. Having a culture that prevents change and adaptation can lead to ineffective officers and leaders. It is unfortunate that in some agencies, persons are punished for some decisions to the point that it limits their capabilities in the future.
This is exactly right. Our agency used to have this same problem and it is still affecting some of the supervisors today. I think if all agency heads (sheriffs and chiefs) understood the concepts in this module they would allow more risk-taking and reap the benefits associated with those risks. Too often agencies are risk-averse and take the easy way out by never challenging norms. This leads them to punish officers for violating norms when the officers' intent was to try something different in an adapting situation.
However, I am not suggesting that officers should be allowed to take unnecessary risks just for the sake of taking risks. There needs to be a solid justification for their actions.
Very true, Jeremy. We had an officer adapt to a situation but violated a policy while doing so. The officer got in front of a possible DUI on a bridge to get him to stop (rolling roadblock). This is only permissible under situations where deadly force is authorized. Was it risky? Yea. He believed he had a solid justification, but others may not. Many risks are covered in policy because others have done it and problems arose.
Jason, I agree. all too often we see people punished for some of the decisions they make. This does limit their capabilities in the future due to fear of being punished.
I agree, and I liked how an earlier module mentioned the need for us to look at mistakes as intentional, just a mistake. We should, as leaders, be open to decisions that are made and understand why and help them make better decisions moving forward.
I believe that this training was how officers respond to day to day operations. Every officer needs to be able to think on their feet and make decisions that they are judged for a lifetime. Every officer should understand that there is a was and then there is a better way to make decisions.
This module reflects the everyday aspect of law enforcement that we don't talk about. Officers are called in response to the chaos and are expected to bring order. I feel that to be prepared for the unexpected, you must continually run different no-win scenarios through your mind every day. Most agencies have scenario training designed for you to win "we train to win." This is great, but I feel it isn't as effective as training to adapt when the situation appears hopeless.
Throughout my training, I believe that we learn more from our mistakes than successes. We should not wear our feeling on our shoulders but learn how to be better for the real-life situation.
Your make the point that even an officer working alone can evaluate situational outcomes each time he or she leave a scene by considering "What if…?".
One tool we were fortunate enough to get was a virtual reality (VR) simulation system. This allows us to place an officer in any number of different scenarios with different landscapes, homes, apartments, and roadways. You are completely immersed in whatever environment we choose and it can definitely elicit physiological responses from the officers participating. Officers can practice their de-escalation techniques and every scenario does not necessarily involve some kind of force.
Our agency conducts scenario training in all sorts of trainings. The academy, SRT (Special Response Team), and some in-service training may include scenarios with our agency. I usually help as an academy instructor with the scenarios. I find this is highly beneficial to the cadets as it requires them to adapt to the challenges that are presented to them to finish the scenario.
Our agency provides scenario training. This training is beneficial because it fosters the use of adaptive decision making.
Listening to the description of VUCA always reminds me of the movie “The Replacements” with Keanu Reeves, when they are in the locker room describing their fears and Reeves’s character describes quicksand. Through role-based scenario training, we can prepare mentally to overcome those things that go wrong before we end up in the quicksand.
I enjoyed the VUCA breakdown as it related to our decision-making process. Effective leaders are compelled to continually improvise, innovate and adapt to ever-changing circumstances and environments. Understanding the VUCA tactic and properly applying it can help you become an effective leader.
I like how this course goes hand in hand with Adaptive leadership, but delves deeper into the details. I appreciate the explanation of how VUCA presents its own difficulty, but often a combined set of circumstances compounds the problem. Leaders must be adaptable in order to be effective. I am grateful to work for an agency that is willing to accept more risk and provide specific training in order to enhance adaptability.
I agree. Throughout the lesson of VUCA, I began to think of different leaders and officers and their weakness. It is amazing how much VUCA plays impacts on their mindsets and their ability. I also work for an open-minded and adaptive agency, but I feel that the culture has not made it to the younger generation of deputies. Through time and training I hope that we can combat the effects of VUCA that they face so that they can develop into effective personnel and leaders in the organization.
Great Module, Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity, and the practice to counter it. I think I’ll fall back on the 3 steps of effective decision making in the future, Observation, Classification, and Definition.
I really enjoy scenario-based training and how it helps officers adjust on the fly and work out a problem in real time. A good way to counter VUCA is to be introduced to a little chaos in a controlled environment.
I agree and I like this type training as well. We have done a lot of this in ALERRT classes and active shooter training, as well as FATS and such. It is good to keep our people thinking on their feet.
Our agency recently purchased the APEX Officer virtual reality system. It puts the officer in the scenario, and the operator can choose many different situations and outcomes based on the officer’s actions. For example, as not every incident ends in gunfire, the officer can peacefully de-escalate a situation, or if the officer is struggling with officer safety, you can have the suspect attack. The attack on the officer does not stop until the officer reacts to the threat.
Adaptivity to VUCA: VUCA, certainly something anyone who has ever worked in law enforcement has experienced and can never be eliminated from our work. This chaos causes all sorts of disruptive and destabilizing effects on an officer to include physical and mental issues that can overwhelm critical decision-making processes. Is there any wonder why we see poorly made decisions nationally televised? As leaders, we need to champion training in this area to cultivate and influence our subordinates to make effective decisions.
There is another side to VUCA, and that is in an organizational context. Externally, there are infinitesimal situations that can occur, hopefully training and experience will result in decisions we can learn from and not be stigmatized by. Internally and as leaders, we have more control over the VUCA and should strive to reduce this internal chaos for our subordinates. As a servant leader looking to reduce internal VUCA, we can create a culture where our subordinates desire to work in such an environment and improve retention. I’ve seen many of good officers chased off by internal VUCA.
In-Service training is beneficial since it use different scenarios to prepare us for the real life encounters. Giving proper training to all personnel in an organization on how to utilize adaptive decision-making skills in chaotic situations is important. It enhances employees performances in the field.
One of the concepts that this module really reinforced for me is the importance of building an attitude of training into our departments. Policing is often a game of doing more with less: less budget, less equipment, fewer people, and so on. In this environment, it's very easy for us to spend so much time managing resources that we leave training for the minimum required days of quarterly in-service where much of our training time is spent doing training required by law or as a fulfillment of a grant. However, training has to be constant if we want to build resilience and adaptive decision making in our people. This does not always have to be fully-fledges large scale organized training sessions at the training center. It helps to exercise decision making just by talking out scenarios with small work groups. Any leader can do this much at least, even without financial support or dedicated time. Besides this, setting the expectation and practice of debriefings after events, big or small, builds in training as well. By discussing events in terms of what went right and wrong, what we would have done if something else had happened, etc. gives us opportunities to use real-world events as training exercises. All this is to say that we don't have to wait on our agencies to introduce some training into our units. We can use the 20 minutes we're standing around in the lineup room, our "Friday" meals together, and other small opportunities to do what we can with the people in our care.
The need for VUCA situation training in a safe and supportive environment was one major factor of this module for me. Many officers are afraid to fail in front of their peers, so they are risk averse. Another was that regardless of natural ability, officers can improve their adaptability and with training. Several OCPD officers made mention of their Reality Based Training Unit, which sounds amazing. Realistic scenario-based training is logistically difficult, manpower intensive, and expensive to conduct on a regular basis. This is especially the case for agency wide training. This is complicated by staff shortages. Although difficult to do, we must commit to making meaningful, realistic, reality-based training available to all officers at regular intervals. Supervisors need to ensure that opportunities to learn vicariously from other work groups and agencies are not used for moderated discussions. Leaders need to figure out creative ways to fill the gaps and continually taking themselves and their subordinates to strive to thrive in chaos.
Kent, while certainly full-fledged scenario training creates the logistical problems you mention here, there are low-tech steps that help some. As a first-line supervisor, I used to use guided discussion based scenarios in my sector. We could do these sitting around a table in about 20 minutes, and we did this every couple weeks (usually on our "Friday"). We also occasionally had slightly more intensive, shift level table-top exercises supported by the agency (a program overseen my colleague in this course, Jeremy Harrison) Certainly, these weren't as high-yield as realistic, real-time, role play based scenarios, but they do provide a mental rehearsal that helps officers work through the decision making process. Having this type of training frequently, in between the larger, more intensive and resource consuming sessions helps to supplement those and to develop adaptive decision making in our people. The trick, I found, was building a culture where frequent training in the norm and is expected.
VUCA seems to be an ever-present situation in law enforcement. I, like most police officers, really enjoy the VUCA aspect of situations. I get energized by the adrenaline and the creativity required to handle a situation where VUCA pops up. I have found myself to be on the scene of active threats, officer involved shootings, barricades, kidnappings, and a host of other incidents which arose unexpectedly and required the coordination of numerous resources. I am not saying I enjoyed all these situations as some people have unfortunately lost their lives. What I am referring to is the separate issue of being adaptable to chaotic and changing situations. My largest frustration with promotion has missing out on opportunities to improve and experience VUCA as they make me a better person and leader. I thankfully still get opportunities to operate in the field where VUCA situations occur, but I fear that my become less and less as I get older.
You understand the value of facing and meeting VUCA situations. As you promote and phase out of field operations you have to do what you can to lobby for increased levels of VUCA situation training for all level of your department. Cadets get their scenario training and supervisors get their specialized scenario training, which I hear is very good. Hopefully in the future every officer will be afforded the opportunity to get a certain number of hours of realistic scenario training that is appropriate for their level of development at regular intervals.
The ability to adapt to volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous situations is extremely important in law enforcement. As leaders, we also need to practice and train for this adaptability. My agency has created a Reality Based Training Unit that is constantly developing scenarios and providing training to officers and supervisors. They are very active with the training of newly promoted supervisors during their supervisor school. They provide scenario based training for supervisors that is based on critical incidents they may encounter in the field. The unit adds different elements during the scenario to test the supervisor's decision making ability while under stress.
Adaptability is a skill that can be learned and develop. That is why Its important to take training scenarios serious because you react in real life situations the way you train.
As a law enforcement officer, it is imperative to improve your ability as an adaptive decision maker. A key point for me was the discussion related to the organization's culture playing a role in encouraging adaptive decision making. I think it is important to encourage adaptive decision making. Realistic training is a key component of this. Recently, my department has incorporated a Reality Based Training Unit. In a short time, this unit has improved our scenario training and developed challenging scenarios to test officer and supervisor decision making.
As I listened to this module I also though of the reality-based training unit. I am confident the training officers receive there has better prepared them to respond to VUCA incidents. Previously, our scenario-based training would last a few seconds per scenario with a total scenario time of less than five minutes per officer during each in-service. The goal of the reality-based training unit was to increase that time from minutes to hours. I hope that goal will be reached. I am encouraged to see if they include what the lecture recommended and that is situations which rapidly change and are different from what the student is expecting. This is hard to pull off without all available resources, but I know it would help officers and supervisors alike.
Counter VUCA tactics are something that we teach (informally) to new officers all the time. It is part mental role play or rehearsal. When you get on scene of an incident, think of the worse thing that could be facing your upon arrival on scene. If it is that horrible, you already have the mindset ready and the possible decisions in your head ready to go. If it is not that bad, it is easier to bring yourself down than ramp yourself up.
The second part is in service role playing. In teaching arrest control, the instructors come up with a scenario, present it, discuss it, and then have the student go through it again. What you do not tell the student, is that you change something: there is a second person, they now have a gun instead of a knife. The tactics have to change dramatically in order to survive.
These two examples I have given enable to give people a mental rolodex (yes, I am that old) of different options in different situations. The fuller the "rolodex", the more options you have readily available.
Learning the value of adaptive decision-making in the face of volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) events is critical to a positive outcome. Adaptive decision-making is valuable in every field but is critical in the law enforcement profession when the wrong decision or a delayed decision can have a truly negative impact. This is not to say that you will always make the right decision using this adaptive decision model but you are more likely to be able to process the environment you are in and adapt to it. Leaders in law enforcement need to be trained in and practice adaptive decision-making in the ever-changing environment of public safety.
I agree that there needs to be continual training in this area. I have seen major benefits using scenario based training to challenge officers to think. The feedback provided during this training is a key component and it is important the officers be receptive of the feedback and it be delivered professionally.
I agree that scenario training is an excellent way to train officers to think on their feet.
Adaptive decision making is critical in all fields but extremely critical in public safety. We are often presented with issues with a multitude of facets and being able to adapt to them as they change can be the factor leading to success or failure. Teaching this ability in many ways is providing an environment where they are safe to explore various decisions within boundaries that encourage it. Although there is risk, it is a teaching method we are comfortable with from childhood. Often times, we don't learn until we "touch the stove" and having a supervisor there who understands that risk is invaluable.
This module focused on adaptive decision making to combat VUCA. The ability to change with the circumstances is an important leadership trait that can be improved on with training and experience. Having the ability to see what is coming and how that will effect the environment that you are in as an organization can determine what we need to do as leaders to work against those effects. Without training and experience combatting VUCA can be very difficult.
The ability to use adaptive decision-making needs to be utilized more in training scenarios. The more we can train in a safe no-fault learning environment the quicker we will be able to adapt to VUCA events when we are in the field. I can see how this training will improve the overall operational readiness of an organization.
VUCA describes the situation of constant, unpredictable change that I now the norm in specific industries and areas. As a police officer, we encounter situations that we haven’t been trained to do. There are always grey areas in police work. There are things that we encounter, and policies have to be made after the fact. Police officers are trained to adapt and overcome. Dealing with children has been the most I have ever had to adapt to situations despite the situations that arise during my law enforcement career. Laws constantly change when dealing with minors, and you have to be ready for the change.
This module highlighted the importance of VUCA and the critical need for adaptive leadership. The ability for leaders to create an environment where people can train, fail, succeed and learn from is instrumental to the success of an agency. It allows people to draw from their knowledge experience and training and apply to any scenario and make the best decision possible with out fear. Our profession is hard enough on its own, now you add the pandemic and its effects and unknowns on our staffing, resources and community, it could be a recipe for failure if staff is not mentally and emotionally prepared to deal with it all. We all have had to learn to get comfortable being uncomfortable.
This module was what leaders need to focus on. The ability to react to changing circumstances is what good leadership is all about. Training and preparation help build the mindset of innovation to correct issues and problems during a crisis. Usually, the leaders who do not listen to or trust those working for them lose that pool of innovation to problem solve. Another issue is knowing when change is needed because not all problems require change.
I agree! Leaders should always be able to adapt to any situation. When adapting to incidents, we as police officers should learn from them. No situation is ever the same. Therefore we should note what worked and what didn't.
Adaptive decision making is so important to law enforcement because no two scenarios are the same. We must be able to draw from previous experience, our knowledge, and training and make the best decision we can at the moment.
Every day and every situation is different therefore adaptive decision making is essential for officer safety.
Good judgment is about being aware of and understanding your environment and then being able to take the appropriate action based on changes to the situation. This is adaptive decision-making in law enforcement. Adaptive decision-making is the basis for recognizing a threat, taking the appropriate action, and effectively transitioning to alternative options. The best place to demonstrate this is scenario-based training. Here officers have an opportunity to experience situations and practice different scenarios for different outcomes.
This module explains VUCA as well as the importance of scenario training for law enforcement. The training leads to critiquing and feedback. This scenario training will help officers with their adaptive decision making skills; which is imperative to the law enforcement officer. My agency has been conducting scenario training as long as I have been there. It is beneficial to officers.
I found this module especially important for today's law enforcement professionals. We do live in chaotic world were changes, uncertainty, and surprises are around every corner. Whether its from the outside or the inside, disruptions to the norms happen often. I fully believe we need to train and develop officers to become well rounded adaptive decision making leaders.
I agree. Initial training, and ongoing training, should be build around scenarios that force the officer to make decisions then de-brief their decision so they may learn from it. Once it goes into their mental filing cabinet, hopefully they can refer to it when deal with real situations.
The module described the importance of scenario-based training for law enforcement in the 21st century of policing. In our every changing society officers deal with chaotic situations from minute to minute and it is imperative they are trained and developed to balance the technical skills of the warrior and humanistic character of the guardian-servant.
I agree Joey, It seems the calls officers are responding to today are more complex than in the past. Officers are also facing more and more liability and they and the agencies are being judged on how they respond. Continual reality based training to prepare officers and hone their ability to make sound decisions in chaotic situations is so important.
Having gone through Dr. Javidi's day and half course earlier this year on Officer Wellness and VUCA this was not my first time hearing the term or some of the principles in this module. Where Dr. Javidi's course focused more on officer wellness, this course did well in teaching how to go about preparing or training ourselves and to some extent our agencies in handling those volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous situations.
Trent, I come across Dr. Javidi's presentation on VUCA and Officer wellness. I wish this module would have addressed it. Our police officers and first responders work in VUCA all the time. In order to counter its effects they need to take care of themselves. By not doing so it will take a huge impact on their lives and the consequences can be detrimental.
The V.U.C.A. is a term that I have heard before and as leaders, we must continually improvise, innovate, and adapt to the ever-changing environment around us. When it comes to a hostile situation that we are faced with, we must have the mind-set to overcome that issue that we may face and resolve it the best we can. Training on various active dynamic situations gives us the ability to have a game plan in the event something happens. We can overcome the adversity of not knowing the situation by preparing ourselves for the unthinkable.
I liked this module, mainly because I have not heard of VUCA concept before. However, it makes a lot of sense to me and I think it definitely falls in line with adaptive decision making. As law enforcement officers we do deal with constantly changing environments and situations. I really appreciated the section on how to counter VUCA and agree 100 percent that training enhances our abilities to adapt. This was instilled in me, and a lot of other officers, in the academy introduced to the "what if?' game. Being able to think about different scenarios allows us to be more prepared when something actually occurs. Police are notorious for this.
That is exactly what I thought of as I worked through this module. The "what if" game we all go through. I've told everyone I've had the opportunity to mentor/train, to constantly be running scenarios through their heads, sitting at red lights, doing foot patrols of businesses, when you take your meal break, whatever it is. It is beyond keeping your head on a swivel, it is truly a "what will I do if this happens"
Like the previous comments, the concepts in this model were new to me but dealing with volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous situations is a part of our job. I agree with the instructor, training is key but also be aware of the unexpected. Adaptability is important when making decisions on how to handle these situations. Very informative lesson.
Yes, being aware of the unexpected is necessary. I mentioned in my post that police are often taught to play the "what if?' game. Constantly thinking of scenarios and situations has had a positive outcome with me to be able to handle these volatile and uncertain situations.
I agree with you Glenn. Training is so important. Officers need to be adaptable in their decision making as well as to each situation.
Glenn - We went through Dr. Javidi's officer wellness course and he talked about VUCA, but this lesson went a little more in depth. Definitely a concept that we all need to concentrate more on.
VUCA was a new concept to me and this module help define this concept. Building a scenario-based training system would be beneficial and keep training interesting and involve everyone. We have to be adaptive with everything we do whether we are supervisors, command staff, or even just a line-level employee. Sometimes agencies get to wrapped up in training that just checks the box but doesn't help officers understand no two situations are the same and most of the time these issues end up being complex.
Tyler, I agree 100% with your post. In many cases, executives only want the training to be pushed out and checked off the list because of a major event occurred.
Any situation we encounter can turn into a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous incident. Be it a “routine” traffic stop that doesn’t go as we thought to an active shooter at the busiest event imaginable. Our agency has made efforts into more scenario-based training with simunition rounds and role players. The only thing you know is that you don’t know what the outcome will be. The agency encourages adaptive behavior during training, so long as the idea is legal, moral, and safe we will try it. This type of training is very necessary as bad people invent new ways to harm us or the public every day.
Curtis, you are correct. This type of training is necessary because any encounter we have can turn in to a national event. We must be prepared and develop officers to be able to adapt to any situation that arises.
Curtis, I believe what is being trained in scenarios is not the reaction to the single event, but the way to problems. Just like a degree doesn't prove a person is intelligent, it proves they have the ability to learn. By causing a person to "think on the fly" they are using and developing a part of their brain used for problem solving.
The acronym VUCA is new to me but the concept is something we deal with on a daily basis. A majority of calls involve volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. Besides experience, I think reality-based training is an excellent way to instill in officers how to think on their feet and adapt to rapidly changing situations.
In the day and age of active shooters and school shootings personnel being able to make a tactical in the moment decision becomes paramount. We have begun in the recent years to conduct training on this type of subject matter. One never knows when chaos is going to come calling so we must train for it like it occurs everyday.
We conduct active shooter training annually as well as participating in multi-agency trainings in places such as malls and churches.
You are right about saying that we never know when chaos may be right around the corner. We definitely should continue training for the moment that we hope we never have to face but in the event, it happens, we raise the chances of survival because we have set ourselves up for rising to the challenge and overcoming a dynamic moment and establishing the winning attitude we need to succeed.
As a training coordinator, I need to work on incorporating decision making into more and more training. Our staff need to face opportunities, even if in a static table-top scenario, to look at possible problems, evaluate risks and solutions, and make a definitive choice in how to respond. Without this and with few calls for service providing these scenarios, our staff could freeze in the moment when they are needed most to act.
Mr. Smith! We don't have a training coordinator but I do most of the scheduling of training and I'm in the same boat. Trying to get more training that involves decision-making will help officers make decisions out in the streets. Training discussions can also be beneficial as they don't require a lot of planning. I have an employee who wants to be promoted and they are now taking every situation and trying to see the situation from the perspective of a supervisor.
I would have to agree with everyone that scenario based training has been especially beneficial in teaching people how to adapt to environments they have never come across. I did however remove it from initial academy training because often times there is not enough understanding of how things are handled in situations that it would often distract from the purpose. I’ve always considered scenario based training as “training your brain”. The downfalls has been receiving productive feedback and building scenarios too complicated.
I agree that scenario based training is essential to officer survival. We need to put more faith into our younger officer as well though and trust that they can understand the situations at hand. More often than not in an OIS one of the shooters inherently is a "rookie". We have to put trust into the FTO's and not shy away from difficult training that pushes our mental and physical capacity.
This module really provided me with better understanding the importance of scenario based training. This allows officers the opportunity to think outside the box and provide and be provided feedback for their actions and the decisions they made. This hopefully allows the officers the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally.
Our agency does in-service training which includes VUCA through RBT scenarios. Feedback has always been very positive from staff on how it pushes them to think under stress to solve the problem in a training environment which translates to the real world situation.
Again, I feel extremely fortunate to be working for an organization that has supported my development, not just as a leader but as an individual. Although not all of our command staff take the time to address problems from a wholistic view, we have some that truly care about our people and they make a huge impact on the organization. I am happy to have found a mentor that has taken me under their wing and is guiding me to do the same. I'm not perfect, by any means, but I do strive to understand the strengths and weaknesses of those I work closely with and certainly promote an environment where I encourage creativity and ingenuity because I have been afforded those same opportunities. But I feel even more fortunate to have those people that trust me to teach them some things, because I tend to learn more from those I teach! It is through this teaching that I myself become better at challenging scenarios and providing, and receiving, feedback.
Agreed, Jonathan. I work at an agency where leadership truly cares about the people who work there, encourage us to think outside of the box when solving problems.
As LEO's we are all tasked with situations where adaptive decision making is necessary to complete the call or assignment. This training for me started with the Field Training Process, where mistakes were common but you were guided through them and learned from them. As an FTO I later incorporated scenario based role play events to fill some of the gaps between calls and training tasks. As a new supervisor, I intend to look for situations and trainings that will provide opportunities for personal growth and expansion of knowledge and skills in adaptive decision making for my staff. I have also seen our Agency increase scenario based trainings department wide in an effort to provide greater exposure and experience for our deputies.
This was a very good module. I have been on the receiving end of over punishment for making a mistake and I will agree that it makes it hard to deviate from the norms and think outside the box. I believe we have to encourage open thinking in decision making.
VUCA, while not a new concept, can create challenges for organizations with an inability to change.
Basic training is simplistic and must not have numerous inputs or changes to hone standard practices within a recruit. As seen once one graduates, the world is much different from the book. Leadership must recognize that developing the mental processes to react to a VUCA environment or situation effectively needs active field training and in-service programs. Proctored by experienced and capable leaders, these environments can hone one’s ability to think out of the box, accept risk, recognize and adjust to the changing circumstances to make better decisions. Too often, the inability to think out of the box gets officers into situations they or their organizations from which they cannot recover.
Our profession places people into the worst scenarios imaginable, under the worse conditions, repetitively, yet one does little to better enable their success and longevity in the profession.
I do agree that this field is so much more different than the book. And although we need to teach our recruits the basics so they have some understanding and be able to start building this library of "training and experience", we can do so much more for them. We have just started a modified FTO program that cycles our recruits off the street during the field training for more practicable application of the information they are learning on the street. It is during these days in between phases they are taught more information to build on what they are experiencing on the street so they know how to apply what they are learning. It's been a great tool for us to build in some rest time for our FTOs, as well. Essentially, we have adapted to continue to teach them while their learning environment changes so they may be better able to adapt and improve decision-making because their learning material becomes more readily practicable.
We are very fortunate to have a great training division in our agency. Scenario training is often used as it is the best way to learn in a controlled setting. It exposes students to situations that can happen in real world and help you analyze what occurred after the help you adapt and learn. Other then real world training scenario training is the closes you can get.
My agency has been conducting reality based training for several years now and I believe it's been very successful in instructing the agency on VUCA style training. The scenarios promote thinking, breaking up the tunnel vision and auditory exclusion and most importantly, take action.
My agency has adapted to do the same. Definitely agree that it is best type of training. Its important to remember that getting the decision wrong in scenario training is as good an education as getting it right. We learn to adapt to situations .
The best training is scenario base training. We can control the scene, outcome, intensity, etc. With the everchanging world we live in, this type of training is needed. We never know what we'll encounter. Every situation is different and unique. We have to be able to adapt and improvise at the drop of a dime. We are usually called when things are chaotic. When stress is added to the equation, individuals tend to revert back to their training. This module really sums up why in law enforcement; we do not like to use the word "routine."
I agree with you. I have made it a habit from the beginning to train using scenarios, also run through different scenarios while en-route to a call to cut down on surprises.
I think my agency does a good job of implementing the concept of VUCA through annual in-service and academy scenario training. through these hands-on approaches, we are given a scenario and we must play through them as real life. The controllers have the capability to change the course of the scenario based on the steps and processes we are taking. Often, we are driven to take a position we may not be comfortable in, whether in being incident command or a team leader. This allows us to analyze the situation and act appropriately, often having to change our course of action throughout.
I agree and I this is more beneficial then simply going to the range for annual qualifications. I find that most officers enjoy the training and take away beneficial learning experiences .
VUCA is very important in police training as it gives the officer the ability to think on his feet in difficult situations. All new recruits should be taught this strategy, and it should be included into in-service training.
Spot-on. It is difficult to create such training in a smaller agency with fewer resources. Yet, it becomes more important to provide scenarios as we do not face the call load of larger municipalities that provides natural exposure and training.
VUCA was a new way to describe something that most law enforcement officers have experienced. These rapidly evolving situations are something that you have to mentally prepare for. Scenario training is a valuable tool to accomplish this. We use it extensively with our Academy Cadets, but accommodating it in in-service is a bit more difficult. With academy cadets, we purposely avoid the bizarre. I can see how the outside-the-box scenarios would put new challenges on our more experienced officers.
Prior to this lesson, I had never heard of the acronym VUCA. Good leaders have to be able to improvise, adapt, and overcome situations when chaos erupts.
VUCA was a different formula to use in problem solving, but similar to one I have been privy to. I think its important to anticipate problems individually or team training. If for no other reason than to condition your brain to think that way.
This module reminded me of what one of my college professors described as anticipated patrol response. When you are on patrol, constantly running different scenarios in your head and what you would do when in the situation with the intent being to prepare yourself mentally and have a prepared plan for when you actually find yourself in the situation. Although the pre-planning isn't always spot on, you are more prepared and generally have a plan to get you going the right direction.
I've heard it called "training your brain". Visualizing your scenario, your actions what you can predict will happen and consider the unpredictable. I tell staff to consider the first 3 steps you would do in a situation. I like to think it helps, I want to challenge them and I want them to make mistakes, just as I have, to learn from.
I have previously learned about the "ooda loop" (observe - orient - decide - act), but I have never heard of VUCA before. I though it was a good breakdown of what to avoid during decision making.
Agreed. OODA Loop is a very familiar concept and the acronym VUCA is a new way to refer to something law enforcement officers experience often.
Captain Dugan explained VUCA and counter VUCA tactics so that I could understand it as a step by step process. He also discussed three major factors in adaptive decision making. Understanding the process makes it easier to manage when the pressure is highest to make quick decisions based on limited information.
Dugan, K. (2017). Credible leadership. Module 5, Weeks 7 & 8. National Command and Staff College.
Ronald, I agree that being able to understand the process makes it easier to manage when the pressure is elevated to make quick decisions.
As the saying goes...formidable leaders prepare before they are tested...It has been my experience that these formidable leaders accepted that VUCA was going to be a part of their daily routine. Being comfortable working in that environment provided a level of reassurance and confidence to everyone around them when critical incidents and stress appeared.
I like the way you worded that. And all attitudes are contagious so when a leader keeps their cool their personnel usually find it easier to do so too.
I found this lesson to be very informative. Prior to this lesson, I did not know about the VUCA tactic. However, I think that it is very helpful when it comes to chaos and change. I like how the lesson broke down what each letter meant, and how it defined it. One of my biggest takeaways from the lesson is that adaptive decision making is best understood as the mental process of effectively reacting to change in a situation.
Dugan (2021) discusses the basics of addressing VUCA and reinforces the fact that we must train, as leaders, just as ardently as we do for the street encounter. Before having the opportunity to serve in my present capacity, I encountered some instances where understanding the VUCA concept would have come in handy. Learning from these past experiences, it is definitely a plus to be prepared for any eventuality, The intriguing perspective that is evident in VUCA is that it can be applied to any event. A political issue, public perception pitfalls, internal management issues, etc.
Dugan, K. (2021). Adaptive decision making as a deliberate counter VUCA tactic.
Prior to this lesson, I hadn't heard of the VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity) concept. I think it is a great principle that accurately describes the need for leaders to deal with whatever chaos presents itself. The ability to adapt to situations and make effective decisions is critical for any leader. The leader must mitigate the situation and if possible, anticipate the situation before it occurs. For law enforcement, VUCA is such a part of our everyday life that it becomes normal for us.
You are right about anticipating situations before they come up. One of the most useful tools my FTO gave me was recommending that as I patrolled I run through "what if" scenarios in my head and work through my response to situations mentally before they every occurred. I think we can do the same thing as leaders and as you say, anticipate and mitigate the situations before they actually occur.
Robert, even at the point in my career where I am, I constantly play the what-if game. As I'm patrolling, I what if this happened at this location, or what if this call comes out and I am right here. I prepare a response to he potential scenarios i have come up with.
The what if game is important no matter what stage of your career. The head on the swivel and constantly thinking what if keeps you and others alive. Being able to think these things out when you are not on a hot call will only better you in the long run.
Robert, my FTO told me the same thing and; today I still practice that method. I find it keeps you focus and confident.
Early in my career we had an instructor that caught a lot of grief for developing training that would ultimately reach a “bizarre” standard. He would often be criticized by some for developing scenarios that would “never” happen. His response was that we had mastered the easy material so he wanted to present us with something more complex to make everyone think outside the box.
I wasn’t sure what to think about it at the time but it always made learning more entertaining. I have more appreciation for his efforts now after reviewing this module.
I think the concept of V.U.C.A. is ingrained in police work and that we are constantly trying to mitigate its effect. We simply work in a world of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity but I also think that is a major draw to police work. There are many jobs which are less prone to V.U.C.A., but the monotony of them would be even less tolerable to many police officers. The biggest stress relating to V.U.C.A. I see is when it’s allowed to permeate into the office and is no longer out on the road. I think there is a clear distinction of the disruptive effects V.U.C.A. on the road versus V.U.C.A. in the office can cause.
While watching the lecture on the effective decision making, it occurred to me that so many effective decisions I have made in the past have come from my years of experience in the jail. Our training department does a great job with coming up with real life scenario training, this helps younger officers build the confidence they need to make good quick decisions in the future.
I agree. Its one thing to train something from a book, but to use experience and real life scenarios to put people into the CHAOS that VUCA perpetuates is what's needed. Many people can pass a written or oral exam without issue, but in real life fail miserably in decision making.
I think we all know several people who could fit the description of your post.
After being in law enforcement for over 27 years I have never heard of VUCA. This was a new experience for me watching this lecture and learning the meaning of VUCA. I can see that it is a good method to use when understood and the process of a situation helps with the problem solving.
I believe that scenario training provides the greatest platform to induce stress in a controlled environment. I have witnessed the effects of induced stress produce an outcome that could have been fatal if it had actually occurred outside of training. Law Enforcement Officers need to experience induced stress and attempt to improve their skills before they are actually needed in real life.
Agreed. Simulated stress response training should be conducted regularly, even if its just an individual in a car or office. At least get your mind conditioned to anticipate chaos and react.
Leaders can use adaptive decision making to counteract VUCA situations. I really liked the information provided on the scenario based training for officers to practice making decisions and facing challenges in a controlled environment. This process can help build a officers point of reference for making decisions and build confidence in their decision making abilities.
I agree that leaders can use adaptive decision making to counteract VUCA situations, because we have done it for years. But the information was really helpful.
We all know that a suspect’s action will always be faster than our reaction. We also know that everyone has a plan, until they get punched in the face. As leaders, we should be conducting scenario based training with our staff members incorporating tabletop, and real world exercises. Training should never be set up to find failures, and apply discipline. Failures during training are good, as they point out our deficiencies needing repair. Training should be used to inspire and prepare us for our next VUCA situation. It should prepare us to expect change, and enhance our reaction time during real world situations.
I agree the need for scenario based training and real world exercises is paramount. We have many young officers who seem to think they are physically ready for any situation, however have never experienced a real physical fight or been punched in the face.
Thomas- I concur= VUCA is tantamount to that "punch in the face"- and we need to train for critical leadership issues just as hard as we do for street encounters!
Best and stay safe!
There is no doubt that VUCA happens every day. I do think it is critical to apply effective and adaptive decision-making as a way to counter this chaos. Training is definitely crucial, but I agree with the module that it must also include the organizational environment and the individual.
I like the idea of scenario based training with different inputs that will challenge the status quo. This will cause officers as future leaders to not focus on a linear pattern of decision making but think outside the box to come up with many different ways to solve the issue at hand. We have to be careful and let the person being trained that we can try and come up with as many scenarios possible but it is impossible to come up with them all
The topic of VUCA is a term that most law enforcement officers can to relate to. A valid point made in the module is the concept that police need to understand VUCA; they need to prepare for it, mitigate it, and minimize the disruptive effects. Once they realize the chaos is inevitable and can (and will) show up when you least expect it, they can better adapt to the challenges. This uncertainty can never really be eliminated – what we can do, however, is reduce it and be ready.
Volatility- things change at the drop of a hat. Uncertainty- the realm law enforcement has been in for a year. Complexity- one cop does it wrong and the rest of us face backlash and unpredictable change. Ambiguity- receiving unclear instructions or having information withheld to cause confusion. VUCA is equivalent to an ordinary day on the swing shift around here. Actually, when I saw the acronym VUCA I compared it to my navy days and FUBAR (Fouled up beyond all recognition). The difference FUBAR was usually preventable, VUCA is a complex mess of uncertainty and volatility stirred up with the ambiguity from who knows where or why. Every officer is a leader, go forth and solve.
The law enforcement officer's job is filled with chaotic events. For that officer to be able to be adaptive to the elements of VUCA is important to their sanity and more importantly their survival. The officer can also use their adaptiveness in being better problem solvers.
Good point! All of the officers that exceed the standard seem to have adaptive decision making skills.
Many personnel in positions of power (not necessarily leadership) fail to implement feedback from their personnel in this writers opinion due to arrogance. If we as leaders conducted annual command climate surveys within an environment that fostered and nurtured creative thinking and problem solving what would be the end result? In this writers opinion we would see greater organizational success coupled with high morale.
This lesson really focused on the abilities of leaders to be effective problem solvers. Its obvious that a good leader possesses experience but have a background in realizing the effectiveness of training their people. As trainers it can be understood why mental repetitions are so important to prepare students. Based on the training lesson mental repetitions for leaders in different environments is also very important. I wonder though at times if positions of power make it more difficult for leaders to accept feedback. Feedback is a tricky thing as people must be able to put their ego’s aside and listen to criticism, and advice.
Understanding the concept of VUCA makes the importance of realistic and applicable training tangible. With the today's ever changing environment, law enforcement is having the deal with situations that 10+ years ago no one would have thought even close to realistic. Keeping this in mind, we can better prepare our staff to dealing with problems by giving them a safe training environment to think things through and find good solutions to sometimes "strange" situations. By doing this they will be quicker to react when faced with similar obstacles and make better decisions.
Scenario based training is critical to developing effective decision making leaders. While certain traits and characteristics might be inherent in a leader, the training will certainly polish these existing skills. Adaptive decision making is crucial for the effective leader.
I agree! We need to train decision making like we train our other tactics. This will not only benefit us as leaders, but also our staff.
While I had not heard of VUCA before this training module, I understand the importance of integrating it into policing. The opportunity to train with scenario based options, allows the best environment for people to be successful, create muscle memory and learn from training mistakes.
As an instructor, scenario based training is how officers really become proficient in skills, think outside the box, and become problem solvers. Like you stated, this is a great opportunity to learn as well, and polish up those skills. As instructors and leaders, we need to be patient and prepare for challenges along the way.
Realistic scenario based training is very important to the members of our agencies. These trainings must be taken seriously with documented training records that would assist if future litigation is later determined.
I agree that documentation is very important. If someone were to come back and ask about trainings dealing with particular issue while examining an officer's actions, we must be able to give details about how they were trained, by whom and when.
Having recently spent the last the last few years within my organizations training division I can attest that documentation is vital. Fully built out training scenarios with clearly defined training objectives for each scenario must be established and conveyed. Providing feedback after each scenario has also proven to improve officer success.
Working in public safety we are often put in situations where we need to quickly make a decision that is going to allow for the best outcome. Most of the time, the situations where those fast decisions need to be made are often intense, and could be a matter of life or death for someone. The more we train on making decisions and being confident, hopefully that will allow those people making the decisions better and it may also allow others to have confidence in them knowing that they have some training and experience. Training should never stop and the things that need to be trained on will always be changing. It is important for agencies to stay current on topics or scenarios that may be beneficial and make sure that those within their agency receive proper training. That will benefit the organization and the community that they serve.
Scenario base training is important. We just need to stress to teach the officer to think on their own and realize that we can't come up with every scenario to practice. We need to practice adaptation and not critique if its not the way we would do it
I agree. Scenario-based training, coupled with real-life experience is crucial to help officers become more adaptable decision-makers.
We have to be adaptive as leaders and enable and train our leaders to overcome VUCA. That is the gist of what I get out of this module. We can't move forward in this era of law enforcement without preplanning our escape routes when VUCA comes into play. There are volatile moments daily in our profession, now add all the other "unique" elements currently in place (i.e. police reform laws). Our jobs are becoming more VUCA every day.
Training is one way we can try to counter VUCA. Simulated training, tabletop exercises, and decision-making exercise will help us navigate VUCA.
I like your comment about training. I do not think departments put enough emphasis on training, even if it is only a 15 minutes roll call training. Training is extremely important, but unfortunately it is one of the first things cut in budgets, and one of the first things looked at during lawsuits, as leaders in the future we must look to the experts on our departments in different skill sets and give them the flexibility to develop regular on shift training, especially when it comes to leadership training.
Adaptive decision-making is about proactively preparing for VUCA moments. Although classroom training can help improve this skill to some extent, real experience comes from problem-solving in every-day situations. Just like any other skill, the more you do it, the better you get at it. Taking advantage of hands-on opportunities (even if they are simulated) to build confidence and competence in leaders can pay dividends in high stress situations. Of course, an adaptive mindset comes more naturally to some. Personal traits and characteristics can either enhance or detract from our ability to adapt, but the organizational culture can play a big role in supporting and encouraging creative problem-solving.
I enjoyed the section on countering V.U.C.A. tactics - organizations who routinely encourage and reward creativity, ingenuity, and innovation not only encourage such practices among those assigned but serve to attract those who desire to work in such an environment. I certainly agree, having he ability to be creative and flexible in your training regimen and decision making is certainly a bonus however I agree that organizations can not just say they do this in policy or in their mission statement. Forward thinking, observant employees will discover the differences between what you say and what you do immediately.
A good point Robert, the module seems geared towards the VUCA encountered by an officer in their daily interactions with the public (externally). However, there is plenty of internal VUCA we deal with on a daily basis as well and by reducing that, we can create a culture that law enforcement professionals actually want to work in.
I had not heard about the concept of VUCA prior to watching this presentation. The acronym succinctly describes the different factors that influence decision making in the heat of the moment. For me personally, I keyed in on the simple concepts of adaptive decision making; not changing and driving on anyway, the importance of not making it harder than it already is, and not making changes to just to make a change. How many times have we seen each of these in action? The blind adherence to a plan in spite of the obvious need to change. The implementation of a change that is worse than what originally precipitated the change in the first place. And my favorite, change to say you changed something or to look good on your yearly evaluation. Lastly, I think the 3 things that influence decision making; the leader themselves, organizational rules, and the extent of training are undervalued and sometimes dismissed by senior leaders. In many instances, these same senior leaders ignore the limiting climate of their organizations, over inflate the value of classroom training, and fail to see the value of staff development. It is our job as leaders to set people up for success not propel them towards failure.
It is critical that law enforcement agencies remain adaptive. Too often police departments are creatures of habit and people are afraid to implement change. Organizations need to reward creativity and innovation.
Exactly!!! I never understand why we are happy just to except things how they are and never make changes to improve our methods. The “bad” guys are constantly changing their tactics. We should be as well.
I have not heard of VUCA. I am very pleased this topic was included in this training. It makes sense why we train the way we do, so that we already have an idea in critical incidents on how to be successful.
I had not heard of it either. Now that I've been exposed to this module and a few Google searches, I have a much better understanding. I think we need to take the principles and bring them back to our agencies to assist our leaders.
This is an area where the military is far ahead of public safety in training for VUCA. The Army has been adding VUCA to training evolutions at every level. This applies to everything from field training exercises to war gaming scenarios on a terrain map. Granted the military has a much bigger budget, but public safety can still replicate much of the training cheaply by using low tech solutions.
This is incredible! We have come so far and with more and more artificial intelligence, the training simulations are just going to be more life like.
The point on cheaply training using low-tech solutions is excellent in that leadership in our profession continues to create roadblocks towards crisis-proficient officers and leaders. The mentality that exists is that one needs outside “professional” agencies or fancy technology as this the only way to develop better officers and leaders. The main requirement is to address and support individual growth in not accepting things at face value, accepting risk, and becoming leaders who want to problem-solve (Dugan, 2017). The military’s success is related to the organizational culture. Leaders at all levels understand the leader’s intent, and through training, they are encouraged and rewarded for using creativity, ingenuity, and innovation. Advancement uses one’s potential to demonstrate the ability to be proactive, forward-thinking, acceptant of risk, and engaged. In the end, it starts with the organization’s leadership empowering and engaging their personnel to deviate from antiquated practices to meet the challenges of tomorrow, today.
Dugan, K., (2017). Credible Leadership. National Command and Staff College.
This module further solidifies the need for scenario based training and round table training. My take on it was the need to prepare for the unknown and the more scenarios you explore the more likely you will have an effective solution for new situations baring similarities to the training. As well as the ones who make calm, fast and quality decisions are typically those who have been exposed to situations and continually consider the “what-if’s”. Working in an agency that not only supports that but promotes its as well produce the best leaders capable of adaptive decision making.
Nathan, I agree with your ideas, as a reality-based instructor I know the benefit of repetitive training. The only difference is around me we don't use 'what ifs' we use 'win this' and that is what learning to win the situation is about. VUCA unpredictable chaos simulator and scenario training help bring calm to the chaos.
In this module we learn about VUCA: volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity as it relates to adaptive decision making. We covered the 3 steps to effective decision making; factors influencing adaptive decision making counter VUCA tactics; and 2 principles to developing a training program for adaptive decision making skills. All of this results in developing people to become much better problem solvers in our profession.
I agree with this, however our department is good about allowing influence and leadership change. Our leadership style is leaning to the new ideas of creating more effective leaders as we adapt and prepare for the new police culture.
V.U.C.A. was originally created by Dr. Mitch Javidi and Commander Sid Heal as a police tactic to better understand and address the new reality faced by police officers. I hadn’t heard of it before seeing this module, but V.U.C.A. stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. Granted today’s society and media has fueled these factors, observing how police leaders should build on preparing officers and organizations for what we know as unstable environments. This was a great module.
Spot on about media is fueling an already complex and difficult job. We all need to take a breath, pause, and find some common ground once and for all.
I was fortunate enough to be in training with Dr. Javidi and this was where I was first introduced to the VUCA concept. Very good training.
I think the most interesting item addressed in the module was the while training is absolutely key to success, it is limited by the individual's characteristics. While training may enhance one's ability to adapt and react, they are limited by personality and natural deposition. It is to the leader's to identify those limitations and develop action plans for enhancing same.
I agree with your point about limitations. We must understand ourselves well enough to recognize where our natural abilities are and where we can improve. As the module said, there are three key factors that make is possible for an agency to reap maximum benefits of an adaptive mindset. Training and organizational culture help, but the leader’s natural tendencies make a big difference as well.
I agree. This area was spot on and you can see it play out with your staff and peers. Some need to work in the same way every day to be successful why others continue to learn and grow and challenge the status quo. Leadership must meet people where they are at and then develop plans for development.
In today's world adaptive decision making is more important than ever. It has always been important in law enforcement but times are changing quicker than ever before and officers need to be on their toes, evaluating their environment and able to make quality decisions quickly. It is important for these officers to get training time so they can prepare for various situations they will face while on duty.
With the quicker changing time for law enforcement we must be able to be quicker adapters and quicker problem solvers. Unfortunately, we must make extremely fast decisions at times and sometimes with unfavorable results.
This was an interesting module, especially for me assigned to the training division. One of the challenges with developing training is making it relevant and dynamic enough so that officers have to think on their feet and adapt quickly. The training should closely mirror the challenges that officer's face on the street. Currently, the focus is on how to develop training so that officer's recognize safer, tactically sound ways to approach situations.
Trainers can use the crawl, walk, and run method when incorporating scenario based training. Crawl consists of a scenario being written, and it is fully explained to the student (including the desired outcome). In walking, the instructor conducts the role play as the “primary officer” showing the desired behavior and actions while the student serves as a “back up officer.” Running takes place immediately afterwards and the student is put under stress with brief calisthenics, and is forced to conduct the same scenario they have just witnessed. It is a great way to teach a new skill, combining performance objectives inside scenarios, with measurable outcomes.
Over my career I have seem more adaptive decision making integrated into scenario based training within our agency. I think this approach is much more affective as teaching to think and react in evolving situations.
I agree, training has to include scenario based training. A challenge is also getting leaders and officers to recognize the importance of training and come to training with an open mind and willingness to learn.
At our agency, we do a lot of scenario based training also. I think it is very helpful, because you can see the officer's reaction and you can provide training on how to react in certain situations.
VUCA is the total chaos and it falls on law enforcement to understand it, prepare for it, mitigate it and minimize the disruptive and destabilizing effects of it. This is what all of our training is for, even when we've been in law enforcement for 20 plus years and think we have all the training we need, that simply isn't the case. In today's quickly changing world we now more than ever need to be on top of our game and be training in practical applications and scenarios.
VUCA can be applied not only to to real-life training, as many have mentioned, but to part of the hiring process in examining a potential recruit's capacity for decision making and adaptability to change. Recruits who have a low natural capacity for change, quick decision making, and adaptation may not function well in a law enforcement environment. I also think we tend to assume that all "VUCA' type situations are in the field but they may also be organizationally based. Recent examples include changes in political winds - such as the defund the police movement in some cities, fast moving protests that erupt in response to an officer use of force, etc. How a leader and organization responds to these fast moving and uncertain changes, whether that is in the form of pushing back on the politicians, increasing transparency, quickly developing community outreach programs, addressing community concerns, etc (although most likely way too late), can have significant consequences to the organization and leadership.
I think at some level, an effective leader has already been utilizing the tools taught in this module. The scenario based training is certainly effective.
VUCA reminded of the constant phrase I was taught during NTOA classes...Tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving. This module made me appreciate that much more an agencies willingness to let leaders solve problems in a creative fashion. For the most part our administration not only allows this creativity, but they encourage it. In an ever changing world we need leaders who are not afraid to incorporate solutions that are creative and effective
I agree Ryan. Sometimes the more creative and outside the box thinking create someone of the most effective solutions.
Volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) was described as chaos and it falls on LE to understand it, prepare for it, mitigate it, and minimize the disruptive and destabilizing effects of it.
Adaptive decision making is necessary to train for and we must train staff with scenario based training. Giving staff the opportunity to learn in a safe environment on what works and what doesn't in real life situations is needed.
I enjoyed the lecture, specifically when discussing the culture of the organization and how it can inhibit or promote the ability of its leaders to develop their abilities to adapt. If the organization penalizes or ridicules you for attempting to organize chaos, then you will rarely attempt to do so. If the culture of your organization encourages you to fail and learn and grow, you will likely see more leaders working to become more adaptable. Critical Incident debriefs are great methods of learning and allowing those involved to talk about what worked, what didn't, and what they would do over if they could. These debriefs should be done in a manner where nobody gets their feelings hurt so that everyone feels as though they can come forward with constructive criticism.
I like the point you made about some agencies not allowing their leaders to use creativity when making decisions. Not only does it bring progress to a halt but I also think it would create a stale environment where the only encouragement would be to leave and seek employment else where.
I agree. I think by allowing the leaders to come up with new an innovative ways to solve problems gives them some ownership.
I agree. Although people are limited to their abilities on a personal, natural level; it falls to the agency's leadership to create a nurturing environment which fosters creativity, innovation, etc.
You are correct, critical incident debriefs are wonderful for those involved. Especially when they get the opportunity to discuss what worked, didn't work and what they may try different in the future. Unfortunately, failure can be the best method of learning. The key is, like you said, it needs to be done in a way that is respectful to all involved.
In the module, adaptive decision making, one of the principles explained was to, “expose students to challenging scenarios simulating those expected to be encountered and which are designed to incorporate a need to recognize and adapt to a change in the situation – moderated discussions, practical applications, decision making exercises and free play exercises.” It is important to adapt as situations evolve, and an ideal practice to create efficiency is to actively train in multiple scenarios. This practice will not only prepare you for unique situations, but they will also prepare you in repetition when these situations arise.
In reviewing the adaptive thinking module, I realized why scenario based training is very important. The vast majority of training should be set up to be hands on. In using adaptive thinking, we have mitigate and respond better to uncertain situations that are rapidly evolving. In this profession, it is imperative that we counter VUCA if we want to survive. Law enforcement and other first responders could benefit from more hands on or scenario based training in order to better respond to chaos. I am a true believer of muscle memory and repetition. While we can’t prepare for all situations, we could train ourselves and our people for mental sharpness.
The concept of adaptive decision-making has always been a part of policing, but even more so in today's ever and fast changing environment. Scenario-based training and though-process training are the best ways to prepare for all of the "What If" scenarios that can and do get thrown at us. The acronym of VUCA covers the complexity of what we face as Law Enforcement Officers, and it is from these definitions that we learn to adapt and grow. This type of training allows us to not only make mistakes in a "safe" environment, but also to utilize the mistakes as an opportunity to grow even more through feedback, discussion, and suggestions on how to improve. All of this better prepares us to react to complex situations when they occur in the real world because we have already run through them in our minds, in exercises, or both.
Great points James. Failing in safe training environments is the key to succeeding in the real world.
This module introduced us to VUCA which stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity which is often what we face in chaotic situations. It talked about the importance of these decisions both organizationally and individually. It also discussed how training can play a role in helping to work through VUCA. As a former SWAT member, I agree with the concepts of scenario-based training and mind training, what-if scenarios. In addition debriefing situations and go over areas where you can improve or get better. These types of continued training scenarios and debriefs prepare a person's mind to think through critical incidents where an individual continually analyzes potential outcomes.
Totally agreed Sheriff, in todays world now more than ever we need to be adapting and conforming through real life scenario based training to prepare us for what lies ahead. Law Enforcements old way of training is probably a thing of the past.
Scenario based training provides the most realistic environment you can replicate without it being the real thing. Adaptive decision making comes with experience and the more experience you can get, whether it's real world or artificial (scenario based training), the better you will become at making decisions in a VUCA environment. When I was an FTO I would stress the importance of mentally rehearsing different scenarios in your head. We would also talk them out and I would throw wrenches into the scenario to make them think on their feet. The best experience is real world experience but there is benefit to scenario based training.
I agree with your comments. The best training we can get is real-world situations. However, we cannot plan for all events we may encounter. I conducted my FTO training with other officers very similar to yours. Because I was not able to set up scenario's all of the time for new recruits, I would oftentimes ask them "what if" questions. At least then I was mentally preparing them and getting them to think through situations they may potentially encounter.
I agree practical exercise and experience create learned tactics, behavior and skills. Mental preparation and its ability to enhance capability. Excellent points.
While others have mentioned the importance of training, specifically scenario-based training, I feel that "real world" experience adapting and making decisions in a VUCA environment is required. The issue I observe in reality-based training is that the element of jeopardy is missing. Those engaged in this type of training are aware that a wrong decision will not lead to serious injury or death. While there is some "stress inoculation," when simunition and other training aids are used, the jeopardy element is still missing. For this reason, I feel actual exposure to these types of chaotic environments is necessary to hone one's ability.
That is very true. Even in a live fire environment, there is still a level of safety built in. But by taking these exercises as close as we can to the real thing, we build experience and confidence that cannot be gained in anything other than real-world scenarios. We would all rather see mistakes made at the training level so that we can build our adaptability for when that time actually comes. Simply discussing the elements and definition of VUCA helps us understand and better prepare for what we face as Law Enforcement professionals.
It is very important for us to train and develop our personnel to use adaptive decision making. The “What if” factor is real in survival. If we are unable to adapt and change our behavior or reaction changes in a situation, it is possible that our decision making skills would be hindered.
As law enforcement, we should train to counter V.U.C.A. when it occurs. My agency hosts an active shooter drill at one of our schools, which is very intense. The scenario takes months to plan and is an ever changing and fluid situation. It is about as real as it gets without using real bullets. It shows people their strengths and weaknesses in their ability to be an adaptive decision maker.
We also host active shooter drills and try to do it at a different school in the county each year. We use simunition and have a debrief at the end of it. I've found it to be extremely beneficial for those involved in it.
Adaptive or scenario training is crucial for you to work out your operational kinks, and root out which leaders are not up to the challenge. This type of training helps everyone grasp the pitfalls that await if not mentally prepared. Leadership can also address gaps in their performance and take the steps to close them. It is better to fail in training and learn than fail in application while trying to learn.
You're absolutely correct. It's ok to fail in training. This is why training should never be a "dog and pony show." The training scenario should be difficult and complex enough so that mistakes are made, and lessons are learned. That's what training is designed for.
I agree, its far better to fail in training then in combat. While we cannot foresee every possible challenge, we do uncover a lot of nuances that we would otherwise have neglected. Especially when it comes to perishable skills or gear we seldom use. I have seen an experienced officer fail to properly function their patrol rifle during a training exercise. Darn glad it wasn’t the real deal. Not only does exercises provide the officers an opportunity to see what they need to brush up on, it allows leaders an opportunity to diagnose procedural and personnel issues.
The ability to adapt to a changing situation is something that we all need to recognize. We gain an understanding of changing situations through training. We use this to sharpen our minds to the different situations we face day by day. Our agency does an active shooter drill that is close to reality life as you can realize. There are real life scenarios that we undergo as our agency host scheduled post academy and In- service trainings. This training amongst other trainings can help to aid in a person decision-making ability.
In this module each element of VUCA presents its own set of difficulties. These difficulties magnify and create chaos when combined. Police have to understand how chaos affects policing and how to counter it which begins by and in developing all officers, especially new recruit, to deal with its compounding and confounding realities.
I really like the VUCA concept and the explanation of the counter measures to combat it. One of the comments called it mental exercises which is great, because we must always train our self to prepare for the unexpected. We do this by critical thinking as explained in the module. These scenario based training you can do as a group or even individually is a great tool for us to use in preparing for situations.
Our agency practice life like "what if" scenario(s) when we have In-service training every year. I find this practice prepares our officers to mentally ready for any situation.
Excellent points sir. One of my Sergeants while I was a young cop backed me on a traffic stop. He asked me which occupant of the car I was preparing to shoot first. I was puzzled by his question, until he explained that I should always have a plan to kill the people I encounter, in case they plan to kill me. I have used this mental rehearsal ever since, always having a plan to react or defend myself, using deadly force if needed in every situation I have encountered on the job. Be polite and professional, but always have a plan to kill them if needed.
I have only heard the term VUCA from previous National Command and Staff College training, it has reminded me of the need for this exact type of critical understanding, thinking and training! I am also reminded of the acronym itself: Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity. Like so many within our profession, I strive to "What if" situations to no end, or as my supervisor likes to say, "Keep your head on a swivel!". This kind of preparation is necessary to remain vigilant and ready for such VUCA-style situations that can occur at any time in our service.
I found this training module to be very informative. Although I had never heard of the term VUCA before, I have always utilized the principles discussed in this training session. I have always viewed it as having a tactical mind set. Anticipating the unexpected and thinking of all the "what if" scenarios. I always try to have a mental game plan on how and what to do in response to what ever situation I encountered.
The ability to adapt to a changing situation is something that we all need to understand. We deal with people that through cause and affect require us to adapt to the situation. We need to be able to adapt to the situation changing. Through training we need to sharpen this ability. Our agency does an active shooter drill that is as close to real life as you can get. This training and other like that can help to aid in a person decision making ability.
The adaptive decision making in chaotic situations is taught through my agency. As we have learned through training, the mental process and reacting by situational training is a need. being put through scenario training better prepares for officers to adapt to situations, that although do change and can't be predicted, the stress of the training prepares us to better react when put in a fluid, chaotic situation.
This video does well to show how concepts and ideas at an agency cab be born and dead upon arrival when they are spoken about. When the systems in place allow people to evaluate change and/or the application of these issues, data and driven ideas that are proven need to be vetted and applicable to today's modern policing
This module presented concepts that we are all aware of, but may have referred to in another way. This pattern seem like a complimentary component to the OODA loop.
I believe another important point was presented, in the video, concerning confirmation bias. I know I have seen several projects, at many levels, fail because some one knew that they were right and all the data was wrong. I have been victim of this myself and it reminds you to do your due diligence.
I've worked under VUCA situations, just never had a proper name to identify it. I am constantly working scenarios in my head while heading to a call and off duty. Call them mental exercises, i find it useful i have a playbook when in route to a call. Some times the plays work and most time i have to adapt on the fly. I find scenario based training extremely valuable, if done correctly it can create the same emotions you may encounter on the streets.
We used to call it the "What If" game and taught cadets and new trainees to play it. I also find it to be the equivalent to immediate action drills, which are planned responses to unplanned events.
There are many unknowns in our profession, and the "what if" factor is always in play in every situation. I agree that there are many unplanned events that we respond to on a daily basis. If we continue to train regarding different scenarios, it will prepare us for real-life events. There's always room for improvement, and we have to adapt in order to stay proficient and to possibly protect our lives.
I have always known about the concept of VUCA but did referred to it as such. The police has always had to deal deal with chaos and while dealing with it had to interpret it, adapt to it, and resolve it on the fly. I believe you become more successful with experience. Training can expose you to some of the basic types of situations but we all know that each situation no matter how similar can be very different in how to resolve it.
Training can definitely expose you to the basic and the more intense calls. If you fail miserably in a safe controlled , then you've found a weakness to work on.
Scenario-based training provides law enforcement officers with the best environment to learn how to think adaptively. Throughout our career, we have been told that the way you train and prepare for work is vital for your success on the street. When we place officers in chaotic situations and control the level of stress, it provides them a better chance of success. As the officers grow and develop, the stressors can increase to ensure further growth and development. In these situations, if the officer makes a fatal mistake, they can see the effects of their decision and provide them a better understanding of how to make better decisions.
I agree with your comment. The more you train, whether it is sucessful or a fail, it puts your thinking process through stress and if prepared, you should better respond when chaotic situations arise.
I agree. Unfortunately not all agencies are aware of the necessity of this type of scenario based training. If you are fortunate enough to work in an agency that appreciates the importance of adaptive decision making, then you are more likely to have effective decision making officers and supervisors.
During my roll calls, I often do "what If" discussions especially if a situation was either handled by one of my officers or comes to me through some other source. I find it to be effective training to get officers thinking about different ways of doing things. I had never considered what we deal with almost everyday as having it's own term until this module. Learning how to counter VUCA is definitely vital to what we do in law enforcement.
Seems like we must make sure first that our organization is receptive to allow for trail and error on the innovated and ingenuity with decision making. With the correct training for the organization as a whole and then focused training individually, we should see great improvement. Very interesting to see what factors contribute to the ability to counter your VUCA. This module brings decisive, adaptable and improvising leadership to different levels and relates them together also. All great qualities to have an encourage others to explore with understanding.
As we look at our VUCA, and what we can do to counter it, this is a mandatory skill that we must have as a leader. Furthermore, training is the key to countering this. VUCA. Another thing is that we can not always predict the VUCA model that will be thrown at us, however by having good adaptive decision-making skills we will have the upper advantage.
The most successful leaders are able to both anticipate a change and promptly deal with it. Developing these types of leaders then becomes an imperative for law enforcement organizations locally, regionally and nationally.
In law enforcement, each day is and adventure and can differ from the last. With the multitude of situations, personalities and ever-changing unique needs presented, adaptive decision making and our problem solving abilities are vital for our survival and continued success as an organization.
Our agency recognizes the need for officers to be able to draw from their training and experiences to continue protect and serve our community in these volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous times. We agency encourages and provides various classroom and scenario training as tools for people to draw from to lead in these constantly changing, unpredictable, and chaotic situations.
definitely agree that if training and scenarios can improve our ability to adapt, then we should spend every available free time in this self training what-if training with each other.
This lecture helps share that adaptive decision making is imperative in a chaotic situation. because of the ever-changing events that take place.
This module was informative and interesting. It is important for a leader to respond to chaos by using the skill of adaptive decision making. I agree that a leader should be able to anticipate change and promptly deal with it.
I agree because, in chaotic situations, there are many personalities that can bring on change.
The concepts presented in this area of policing are some of the most important skills needed for law enforcement officers. The ability to adapt to chaotic fluid situations and to make changes that promote effective responses without unnecessary danger is vital. I was also intrigued by the information presented about agencies who dogmatically punish failure hindering the ability to allow people to develop adaptive decision making skills.
I agree. I feel that it necessary for individuals to make adaptive decision making when faced with chaos.
Adaptive Decision making training is extremely good training. The life like situations help officers learn what to do and not to do in a controlled environment instead of in real life and real time. This greatly improves the odds for the officer in a serious situation.
This is also something I built into my FTO time, I used to talk to my trainee on the way to a call, and go over the various different scenarios and ways that we could rectify them upon arrival.
My agency has large scale exercises for active shooter situations. We have the participation from the school board, local fire departments, and ems to help facilitate the training experience. It is as close to real-world as possible and gives us a fundamental basis in which we can draw upon if an event would take place. The training is invaluable.
Things in a law enforcement officer tour of duty are constantly changing and officers need to be able to make quick decisions all the time. This type of VUCA training should start in the academy and continue through in service training throughout an officer's career.
Our agency does a large scale exercise every two years for active shooter training. This goes in conjunction with our annual training, but bi-annually on this large of scale. We have done this since 2006 and I have had the opportunity to be on both sides as a responder and coordinator of the event. The scenario encompasses, police, fire, ems, hospital staff, local industry, and other entities responding to a mass casualty event as the result of an active shooter. The object is to create chaos and V.U.C.A. allows us to judge our response and reactions to an event of this magnitude. We then take what we learned and incorporate areas that need improvement in future in-service training.
I have participated in your agencies large scale active shooter training and it definatly will challenged your ability to make decisions on the fly. Your agency does an great job on providing multiple issues that are constantly evolving throught the drill making it increasingly effective. It definatley helped me in looking further into the future when making decisions.
Adaptive decision making is a great benefit to both rookie and seasoned officers. This type of scenario type training can be conducted in a controlled environment rather than a volatile situation. While, my department does conduct this type on training on an annual basis, the number of scenarios conducted is limited due to time constraints.
Chasity, we run into the same problem due to time constraints. We conduct a large scale exercise every two years with multiple entities from school system to local industry, but can never get a commitment for longer than a two-hour block from most of these outside entities.
It is hard to balance training with the dollars needed sometimes. When it comes down to it many agencies struggle with this. We do a massive active-shooter drill every two years that includes multiple agencies. In the odd years we still do training that supplements the skills officers need during a mass-scale event. When things fall apart you fall back on what you were trained. Make it worth while because that is what you officer will do.
We need to allow for some of these scenarios to be adaptive. To allow one of the leaders to use some of these adaptive decision-making skills. For the most part, it is that they have to do this before this happens. This is not how the real world works.
Scenario-based training is essential to implement in police training. One of the most significant scenario-based training that my department trains on is an active shooter. The officers need to play different roles and see the V.U.C.A. first hand. Officers then can see what they did wrong and how to improve. Any event on a large scale can, officers can apply incident command techniques, knowledge, and skills for a better outcome.
This type of training is the best training an officer can get.
I feel every department should implement scenario based training if they are not already. Looking back at both agencies I have worked for, I think the only scenario based training has been active shooter. We need to expand to more scenarios.
I agree, officers will learn more from a scenario-based training than a classroom setting. When we do an active shooter scenario, we incorporate officer down training, negotiations, medical triage and first aid, incident command, and communications. The more training and resources we can provide for our officers, the more successful they will encounter.
The importance of scenario-based training is of the utmost importance. Trainers must pay attention to current events, trends, real-life situations experienced by our own officers and their opinions in order to effectively lay out a script in a controlled environment. Then, after the scenario is completed, we must pay attention to the viewpoints from all sides in order to determine if we are doing it right, or must adapt to a change. The VUCA concept is nothing new to law enforcement; however, it is a good comparison to how to verbalize the manner of which chaotic events take place.
So true. Keeping our training relevant to the ever-changing culture and climate of our community is crucial for the safety of our officers and community. For instance, the very same week you all were teaching officer down training we had to use it within our own agency. Officer's ability to respond appropriately and effectively in that situation saved the lives of many people that day.
Our office does a lot of scenario training. I feel like our department puts our deputies in the best position for success. We all make mistakes. That is why we train for chaotic situations. We train to correct mistakes. Our department’s training staff is always coming up with new ways and situations for us to train. Everyone is involved and participates in each sceniro. It is very important to adapt to and train for different situations that may arise in our everyday duties. Outstanding module.
In the learning of module 5 learning that each element of vuca presents its own difficulties. Knowing that those difficulties magnify and create chaos when combined.
I do not believe I have ever thought about formally teaching problem solving as an actual class. As a field training officer, you give your recruits scenarios to see how they will react to a given situation, especially while in route to a particular call for service. Once on scene, the situation may be completely different than predicted, so you are forced to adapt to the new problem. In the terms of being a leader, these hypothetical “what ifs” are always playing in your mind. Having a good understanding of what someone might encounter could be of use when trying to find a good resolution to any problem. That’s the nature of law enforcement and why this job never gets old. There are always new challenges to overcome and almost every day provides these challenges. Constant learning is the nature of the beast.
It was interesting to listen to how Capt. Dugan broke down the decision making process for adaptive decision making. the concept of understanding the essence of the concept of behavior change is important. Making sure that the response is effective makes a lot of sense. I have always agreed that change for its own sake is not productive. I also was fully agree that the culture that surrounds the change has a lot to do with how the change can be implemented. The module highlighted how some agencies encourage thinking outside the box while others punish failure which can diminish a team members willingness to try something new. As a leader it is important to keep that in mind when the team has an idea.
Hitting a target you can't see or describe can be a daunting task. All we can do is train for a wide variety of possibilities with focus on the most common ones.
Creating a culture in the department of not overly punishing for mistakes is a very noble idea. Understanding that mistakes will happen and managing them without going overboard goes a long way in empowering people to handle the situation they are confronted with rather than freeze up and become nothing more than vessels to pass information up and down the chain.
If your policies are very closed off and matter of fact, you right, the agency will freeze up, give a knee jerk "no matter what" command, and stifle growth. Knowing that mistakes will happen and as long as we can correct them, there is no harm in allowing people to be innovative in problem solving. Imagine a hundred years ago if all agencies had a policy which said no one would ever drive a car... When agencies allow themselves to evolve, then its a win-win for everyone.
I agree. I've seen many times where a leader finds out about a mistake is made by a deputy and the first thought of the leader is figure out what discipline they are going to give to the officer. Sometimes, discipline is not always the best course of action.
So true, to many supervisors and agencies thrive on the negative instead of using mistakes as what could be a teaching moment in effective decision making.
The way we train to deal with a chaotic situation will help to determine how we will react when faced with a real situation. When we conduct force on force scenario training within our departments, it is imperative to allow every officer to take the lead and make the needed decisions in a high stress environment. We all have those officers that love to stay in the shadows for this type of training. The only way for them to learn is to be placed in the front!
I agree with letting every officer taking the lead. It seems like the same old ones step up and others just stay in the shadows. I'm glad our training staff includes everyone in their training scenario's.
We do the same within my agency and it is very effective.
I agree with you, we have officers that all but refuse to participate in the training conducted during in service. This is the only way to learn is by actually doing the scenarios themselves.
I agree training will give us a idea of how to handle real life situations, however every situation will have a different resoulation.
Having a training program instituted and revolving around countering the effects of VUCA would greatly benefit not only new police recruits, season officers and leaders. By having this training and experience everyone will be better prepared to make sound decisions with successful outcomes. I think sometimes as law enforcement agencies we focus to much on just allowing officer to develop this skill through experience. We as leaders and officers can become more adept by developing training programs that deal with the concept of VUCA.
This module was a new principle to me as it relates to V.U.C.A. The material allowed me to explore ideas on ways to improve and incorporate certain aspects learned through this module with the training I am involved with. I believe that allowing your team members to be accountable in their decision-making when involved with minimal risk situations such as training will give them an understanding of what to expect when a chaotic situation presents itself. In my opinion, it is necessary to have a standard operating procedure that can help guide and govern us, but we must emphasize that being adaptable to the environment is also essential when unknown circumstances reveal itself. Having trained personal in this principle will allow them to make adjustments and to forecast a winnable situation.
VUCA was a new idea for me as well. I like the concepts presented on effective and adaptive decision making. I believe these concepts along with identifying if the agency is supportive of thinking outside the box or would punish failure is important when encouraging teams to solve challenges.
Funny, some of what you shared is some of what I posted about as well :) I learned through your post as well regarding the SOP's necessary for most chaotic situations that can arise. Gordon Graham is credited with saying that predictable is preventable. Surely, we can organize as teams and cover most of the more predictable instances that can come up as well as develop new SOP's for more chaotic events that each agency/area could be more susceptible to. Thank you for your post!
Training for the unimaginable is key to being able to adapt to VUCA. Running drills on every possible scenario, while monotonous, is the best way to combat the volatility of the job we took on.
I agree with the training. We also need to make sure that we focus our training efforts on those that are not as confident and build them up to make the correct decisions in high-stress environments.
Continuously training the more competent while letting those less competent "off the hook" seems to happen way to often. We do need to do a better job on training those who are not comfortable rather than letting others take the lead all the time.
Correct, we are only as strong as our weakest link.
I agree. I think the key is to design training that emphasizes adaptive decision making and mental agility. The end point, is to get leaders to think "outside of the box".
The best way to train to adapt to situations that law enforcement encounter is scenario based training. This type of training is easily controlled in the training environment. While we could literally spend every single day on a different scenario with different factors, a general based training scenario is better than nothing. This module basically sums up why law enforcement doesn’t use the word “routine”.
I agree. We play how we learn. Our narcotics unit conducts more entries per year than all the SWAT teams within our county. Scenario based training in this area is vital for us to learn and adapt to the ever-changing drug world that we work in.
Making quick decisions are an inherent part of police work. Some do it well others do not. I was particularly interested in the ways to counter VUCA tactics. Scenario based training has been in place at our agency for years. It gives opportunities to build that “library” of experience that can be reverted back to in real life situations.
I agree that these scenario based simulations are are essential to help in developing experience. But we as police leaders must not forget that its not just about the process, but also about the feedback. This feedback helps us understand the adaptation process and allows for greater problem solving.
We've been implementing VUCA police training for some time now. We recently acquired a firearms simulator and constructed a training simulator car. We took a crashed Crown Vic, cut out the driver's compartment, placed it on casters so we can wheel it in front of the simulator screen. That way we can have our officers practice deploying from their car in certain scenarios.
That’s a novel idea for scenario based training. I’ve found YouTube to be helpful in developing new ideas to keep in service training interesting. Perhaps the best way to get new ideas in scenario based training is through networking though. Contacting other agencies for resources and ideas or joint training can keep things interesting.
VUCA is an important part of police training. Training in real-life scenarios will prepare officers for that one day when situations go bad. I know in my agency, we use actual training scenarios where we as a department have faced.
In my opinion scenario based trained is by far the best. Most learn and retain the training by actual hands on participation.
Understanding VUCA allows the officer to think on his feet during stressful situations. This is a tactic that should be taught to all new recruits and incorporated into in service training.
Understanding chaotic events and being able to adapt to constant changes is vital.
As many others have said, the more real you can make training, the better.
You never want 'real life' to be the first time you've seen something and dealt with it if you can help it.
Christian, I agree. Training is vital, although we cannot train for every situation, training on fundamentals can give us a roadmap to help us think better on our feet.
I agree the first time you encounter something should not be real life.
I think understanding VUCA and training is beneficial in Communications. This helps in high stress calls that do not typically occur. We participate in our Active Shooting Scenarios and with some EOC Scenarios.
All law enforcement officers need to understand VUCA in order to combat different situations that might erupt. VUCA challenges officers to "think on their feet" and adapt to changes. Training will help increase the effective response to spur of the moment issues that develops.
We all need to learn to think on our feet.
I agree that training law enforcement personnel with VUCA will prepare “think on their feet” them for real-world applications, especially for chaotic situations.
Law enforcement officers need to train on how to counter VUCA when it arises. This training should start at the most basic level, particularly in the academy. Providing recruits with training scenarios where adaptive decision making is needed can better prepare them for what they will deal with on the streets. The situations should gradually become more complex to challenge the recruit to make better, more effective decisions based on the training they received. Training on adaptive decision making should also continue through in-service training and full-scale exercises, such as active shooter training scenarios discussed by several other students in this discussion.
I agree completely.
The more realistic the training, the more benefit to having it.
I completely agree. It should start in the academy and then continue on in in-service training.
This is a relevant and extremely important topic for current and future leaders in law enforcement. VUCA is a great depiction of where leaders need to be focused and identify where they need to grow. All too often we have worked for leaders who say and do the same thing consistently because the status quo is easier and more comfortable than change. Progressive and proactive leadership requires one to be adaptive to the ever-changing world we live in.
I think this type of training is very valuable in all agencies. Most often it’s for situations none of us would like our officers to have to respond to, however, in today’s world it’s becoming more and more necessary. Active shooters, bombings and such make law enforcement agencies have to prepare for these situations.
This module made me reflect on our active shooter training in our agency. This form of training is generated on a “full scale” as an exercise to bring together our agency and other surrounding agencies to function fluently in a time of need. The planning of this exercise takes several months and incorporates all first responder entities. We utilize real actors, live simulation in gunfights, makeshift bombs, etc. This is truly a chaotic scene and results in many people reconsidering their profession as teachers. Still, most importantly, it identifies the capable and incapable abilities to make adaptive decision making in a time of chaos.
This too made me think about the active shooter training you guys do in our agency. Praying its never needed.
Clint, our agency is lucky to have continuous active shooter training.
We are lucky as a department to have this type of training. It give those from other divisions an insight on how all the divisions work together and the tactics that are involved.
Clint, I remember after Columbine, we started active shooting training. I was one of those officers who believe it will never happen here where I live. Unfortunately, it did happen here. Some mental case went into the movie theater and starts shooting people. Because we trained for it, we were able to correctly respond.
Using scenario based training is the best practical way to enact a situation w/o bring able to live the "real" thing. When these events occur, we need to learn from them so that we can prepare for them. The ability to adapt on the fly and use critical thinking is essential.
In all training exercises, you should being using some type of adaptive training, or at the least trying to think outside of the box. No two scenarios will the be same and you can't expect real life to conform to training.
This module on VUCA made me realize the importance, now more than ever, of utilizing scenario-based training to reinforce the critical thinking skills that must be part of the muscle-memory for high-risk incidents. Specifically, California's new legal requirements for UOF de-escalation has made the split-second decisions made by an officer during a rapidly unfolding UOF incident even more critical. The critical review will have a profound impact on our officers- the emotional, physiological, psychological, and legal ramifications all create real issues for us to address leaders. In addition, the public review through BWCs and other videos will allow for the, often unfair, critical review of those incidents. As we know, the BWC video does not provide a clear and accurate perspective of the actual dynamic unfolding UOF incident. We must train to VUCA to protect and take care of our officers. We need to work within our budgets while being creative to ensure this type of training is being provided to our personnel.
It is important that law enforcement leaders adopt the process of VUCA to improve adaptive decision making skills. Using the VUCA process in training officers provides them with opportunities to experiment with and learn effective and adaptive decision making skills in a safe and controlled environment. This creates a memory bank tool box for officers to pull from when they encounter issues in the field. Having had the experience of dealing with a similar situation in a controlled training environment can improve the officer's response to an active situation and enhance the outcome.
Nancy, very well said. I agree that we must ensure that we utilize adaptive decision-making skills to enhance training for all our personnel. Brian
The process of VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) are things we should understand and train for when it comes to Adaptive decision making. How we train for these situations is vital in creating scenarios close to reality. In our in-service training one year our staff did an outstanding job creating four different scenarios that we would play out on how we reacted to the situation. Discussion, practical applications, decision making exercise and free play were all designed in these scenarios. Feedback afterwards was extremely beneficial. Some were using sim munitions so it elevated the tension of what to do and how to react. Using inner tools such as intuition and experience played out. The same an effective leader should act upon to eliminate, mitigate or understand a problem or situation to make the best decisions at the time of crisis.
Problem solving, the mental process of effectively reacting to a change in a situation is a skill for every leader to acquire. The term confirmation bias is of interest as keeping an open mind when new ideas/information is presented.
Being able to make quick decisions that will not only protect you, but also protect the people you are sworn to protect is pretty good training. This type of training needs to be included in every agency's in-service manual. No one seems to care for in-service training, but selling this to the trainees on how necessary this is in this line of work will open some eyes and make for a better deputy.
You're right, Jason. No one cares for in-service training. For decision-making training to be effective, officers need to be shown the need for the training. Possibly providing a situation where some will initially fail, before the training, could explain the need for it.
In service training is vital at my agency. We plan scenario based training and make it as real life as can be. It allows our officers to realize some weaknesses and build them up for the uncertainty ahead in their careers.
In reviewing this module, I believe that providing adequate training to all personnel on how to utilize adaptive decision-making skills in chaotic situations is critical. My agency provides active shooter scenario training every two years. The training is simulated utilizing school staff, students, along with outside entities such as Fire, EMS, Parish Government, and outside law enforcement agencies. The training provides the opportunity for everyone involved to learn how to adapt and overcome such chaotic situations.
Each year our in-service within our organization came to mind in the scenarios they train for adaptive decision making, but utilizing other agencies for scenario training came to mind such as active shooter at a school as you mentioned. This is a great exercise for all agencies to identify any issues that may come up in the feedback or “after action”.
Dan, I work with Drauzin and wrote about the same thing, unintentionally. This form of training is so vital to host because, in a real-world event (which I pray never happens), everyone will know how to respond in a crisis effectively. Furthermore, it will build confidence in everyone in your agency and community.
I wish we had more scenario based training on critical incidents such as active shooter. The mind has been, the body will be more equipped to respond. In reviewing this module, I discovered that adaptive thinking provides the counter balance to VUCA. The more realistic the scenario, the better latter reaction when confronted with similar circumstances. I agree with you that proving this training will help people adapt to chaotic circumstances.
I agree that adaptive decision-making training is necessary. My agency has done this for a couple years now, from active shooter to “routine” traffic stops. Role players up the ante making them think on their feet as the situation changes. We always want them thinking how to survive and overcome any obstacle
How often do we dread scenario based training during In Service. Why, it makes us uncomfortable and takes us out of our norms. My agency's training often consists of actual incidents and often force us to employ adaptive decision making skills.
Joey, this is a very effective way of providing training. Forcing those that will respond to such events to utilize adaptive decision-making skills is crucial when encountering such situations.
I agree that our In-Service training has become quite beneficial since it uses true scenarios. They are not all intended for failure or success but give actual responses to true life situations. It is a much needed improvement from years past.
I agree. This type of training makes us use the skills taught in a somewhat stressful environment. Exactly what we need since reality in society takes us there. These adaptive decision making skills will help us all grow.
I agree, scenario based training is very useful in retention. Plus the more scenarios you do, can only enhance your thought process and decision making skills. I was taught that you should always give yourself scenarios in your head to think about because you may some day come across that incident and since you've already thought about it before, you are better prepared for it, like you've been there and done that.
Joey, you are correct about people dreading or avoiding the scenario training. What does that say about the people who avoid it or take a position on the perimeter?
I agree! scenario based training does make us uncomfortable but provides us with great muscle memory opportunities and allows us to make mistakes in a controlled environment.
I agree with Monte, and because of our departments in service training and the use of body worn cameras we can how our officers are reacting to certain incidents and go back and evaluate how things happen. We can then go back and either reteach or come up with a game plan to do something better.
I believe the most important part to have "adaptive decision making" is departmental training in a scenario style environment. With this type of training officers have something to "go back on" and experiences in a controlled environment. That way the officers can learn and what doesn't work in a "scenario" where their life is not on the line.
I now realize that looking back on some of the training that I thought was ridiculous at the time, it follows the model in this lecture. The scenario is altered unit it sometimes morphs into something bizarre.
Past experiences are very necessary in making quick decisions when the real thing happens. The training will give people just that experience they need to recall when the going gets tough.
I agree when it comes to making decisions, going through those things from the past can definitely help with the future of using vuca and its on set of difficulties.
I agree and by projecting the potentials into the past with ways to solve them gives us a better comfort level in decision making a timely decision if that moment comes. I've participated in round table exercises before that seemed far fetched and somewhat annoyed me. I missed the bigger picture of just being prepared for the unknown and understanding what resources are available when the "what if's" actually happen.
There are sometimes comments in reference to scenario based training not being appreciated. I believe as long as this training it taken seriously it can be a great learning experience.
I agree that past experiences are necessary for making quick decisions and having effective decision-making skills. Real-world training scenarios are a great tool to help sharpen these skills.
I agree that scenario style training is extremely beneficial to improving officer's adaptive decision making skills. In these controlled environments, officers can gain skills and experience that create a memory bank for them to recall from when dealing with active situations in the filed.
I could not agree more with Nancy about the importance and benefits of scenario training. Many agencies place to much emphasis on classroom only training. I have always adhered to the Crawl, Walk, Run training concept that I learned as an Army officer. Crawl phase.. concepts and information is presented to develop basic understanding (Classroom) Walk Phase.. exercises- controlled simulations that focus on a specific section of the concept presented in the Crawl Phase. This phase may be repeated as many times as needed depending on the number of individual topics needing to be learned.. last is the Run Phase.. This is where all the individual aspects covered in the Walk Phase are combined into one large scenario/ exercise.
Totally agree Monte. We usually conduct scenario based training based on past OISs or critical incidents.
I agree. This type training should be implemented in every department and academy.
I agree. Role playing scenario based training is something we use for various training events. We try to simulate each event as close to the real thing as we can. It helps to build confidence in those who participate in it.
I agree, scenario based training is some of the most beneficial training that an organization can offer. This is the only time you are able to learn and take a "time-out" to regroup if it starts to go wrong.
I think that a lot of people don't realize how important training can really be. I think we have all had those times where we feel like it is pointless and we are training on something that will never happen. However, in my opinion I think that training are like building blocks. We may not ever have an exact scenario that we had in training happen, but there are parts of that training that we may be able to apply to another situation that we are put in.
I agree that there is no better way to safely experience how certain situations feel than scenario training. I have witnessed the effects of stress that was induced by scenarios instructors have placed me in. Scenario training can help show how you would actually react if the situation were real.
Monte, I agree. The training environment also leads to more confidence with the experience. With more confidence, better decisions are made.
I agree that training in scenarios that require adaptive decision-making will increase our officer's ability to effectively respond to chaotic situations.
I could not agree with you more. Scenario-based training is the best for just about any situation that can go south. This provides officers an opportunity to "what if" a situation and act it out for different outcomes.
I agree Monte, scenario based training is critical. Even though it is hypothetical, it plants a seed in a person's head that they will draw on when a similar situation presents itself. I think it is especially critical with situations that rarely manifest but are a possibility. At least there is something for them to start with.
You are correct. Most of our training is based on scenarios which has greatly improved our preformance.
I agree with you, scenario hands on training exercises really do help. I recently attended an active shooter class where simunition ammunition was used along with utilizing tourniquets to treat the wounded. The trainers made the training seem as real as possible and it was nice to see how an officer would perform training in a controlled environment. The training definitely will help with preparing an officer for a real event.