Calling on Cops in Class: An Anecdote for Developing Character, Confidence and Sound Tactical Decision Makers

cold calling

I have the honor and privilege of facilitating dozens of tactical decision games each year and hundreds of over the last decade, to cops, security, private industry workplaces, university and colleges. At times I use the diplomatic approach in facilitating a response from those working the case voluntarily. This seems at first glance to be a good way of getting responses however the problem often arises is, that it’s the same few people doing all the talking.

These few are the ones building the confidences that come from working case studies, while the others ride their coattails reaping no other benefit than getting through the program of instruction. Police officers play this deflect and avoid strategy all too often as well. Not good enough if continuous improvement in our decision-making abilities is the goal we seek. So if you’re a facilitator, facilitate the discussion by challenging those timid souls who dare not speak and build their character which will ultimately build their competencies and confidence in tactical decision making.if your a participant make sure you participate. Training is the time to learn at low cost. No one gets hurt! no one gets killed! No one has to worry about law suits! So this is the time to build the skills necessary to become more effective decision-makers.

Bruce I. Gudmundsson whose thoughts about the use of decision-forcing cases to foster critical thinking, empathy, and other martial virtues discussed at The Case Method in Professional Military Education has another Blog post “Cold Calling: An Anecdote” that not only gives you a feel for the ideas lost if all do not participate in training but his story also illustrated the importance of continued learning for teachers, instructors, mentors and coaches. We must ensure we continue our learning path as well. The insights gained (HEY NOBODY CALLED ON ME) as Bruce describes here are very valuable.

One of the few things I dislike about being a case teacher is that I rarely get a chance to work through a decision-forcing case as a student. Last evening, however, I got such a chance and ended up learning something valuable.

The case teacher did an excellent job of presenting the background of the problem. However, when it came time for students to present their solutions, he declined to use the "cold call" technique. Instead, he let students volunteer their solutions.

The discussion was a lively one, and found myself learning a great deal about the subject the case (the naval arms race of the early twentieth century). However, because no one called upon me, I failed to engage the problem at the heart of the case. That is, instead of offering a solution to the problem of how Admiral Sir John "Jackie" Fisher should shape the shipbuilding program of the Royal Navy in 1906, I found myself offering comments that, while germane to the problem, did not solve the problem at hand.

In his outstanding Maneuver Warfare Handbook, William Lind has a chapter dedicated to education and training in which he states; “Today, the term ‘education’ has become almost meaningless. People speak of high school education. They assume any college will automatically provide an education. Virtually any sort of instruction is assumed to have educational value. But education is more than the learning of skills or the acquisition of facts. It includes acquiring a broad understanding of one’s culture, its development and the principles upon which it is founded. Education develops the ability to put immediate situations into a larger context built of history, philosophy, and an understanding of the nature of man. Inherent is the ability to think logically, to approach problem solving methodically, but without predetermined set of solutions.”

When it comes to learning, you have to participate to benefit!

Stay Oriented!