Three core components to any security training program

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Benjamin Franklin.

Training is the foundation of everything we do, it is the cornerstone of success, and the foundation of our failures. The great problem is that often, in the security industry, training is where we invest the least. Failing to invest in training is the sure way to guarantee performance will never meet expectations and our perception of the secure environment we provide will forever be illusion.

Training, to be effective, must key into three key areas of development: 1) individual and collective skills, 2) cognitive development and reasoning, and 3) attitude and service. Let us take a moment to discuss the role of each in overall program development.

Individual and collective skills: Each officer must be able to act both alone and in tandem with team members to perform given a wide variety of possible scenarios. There are certain tasks that will always need to be performed in a standard way, whether alone or as a team. These skills must be developed with how to guides and training designed to teach the task to the standard. This type of training often makes up the bulk of what is provided to officers. This type of training can apply to a wide variety of the things we do and is critical to success. However, there are other things that we must develop when we train.

Cognitive development and reasoning: If you follow this blog at all, then you know my passion for developing strategic thinkers, and making critical thought a key component of any training program. (See: The Strategic Officer, Teachable moments in a healthcare security program, What’s important when you are managing violence on a budget, & Use of Force – A Sacred Trust). This is, in my opinion, the most critical component of any training program. Developing the ability to reason affectively and problem solve is the only way to ensure a more positive outcome to the wide variety of situations encountered by any officer. No skills-based program alone can ensure the foundation for success. Critical thinking must be combined with skills-based education to ensure an officer can reason effectively while apply their skills-based knowledge.

Attitude and service: One of the ways a security program can really stand out is the way in which the officers are able to interact with others and the way in which they put others at ease or on edge. Any successful training program must incorporate selfless service as a key expectation of all staff. A patient centered approach is an absolute in healthcare.  Also, the ability to navigate and integrate in multiple interdisciplinary teams is a skill set that must be taught and reinforced regularly.  This includes what I call the ‘tactical switch’ or the ability to know when to move from the monitoring focus of a friendly neighborhood security officer, to a tactically minded emergency responder and take-charge incident commander. Knowing when to flip this switch is a key customer service skill and is critically important to the security officer role.

In all three areas training makes all the difference. Effective, consistent, and ongoing training will ensure the best performance from your security partners. But likewise, ineffective, cursory, or one-off training will only enable, at best mediocrity, or at worst abject failure.

What are your thoughts? Do you see the benefits of these three areas of training? How do you train? Join the conversation in the comments below. Also – like, share and follow to support the Proactive Security Blog.

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