There is a lot packed in the title of this blog post. And it sums up for me my perception of most healthcare security training philosophies that I have encountered. Training, as a concept, has become a rote process of instilling the bare minimum information into a security officer so that we can hold them accountable when they inevitably fail. Training has become a liability waiver process, not a tool for developing better, stronger, fast, and more intellectually agile officers. As an industry, we are, in essence, training every day to fail.
One of my favorite quotes on training, one that I point to over and over again, is the famous quote by Archilochus: “We do not rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.” This quote, uttered in distant history, frames nicely how all security leaders should look at training. In times of crisis, our officers will not miraculously develop the skills they need; they will resort to the base level of training they have been provided. If you take a serious look at that training program, does it effectively frame how you want your officers to respond in a crisis? Does your training program help develop the critical thinking skills needed to adapt to multiple abstract scenarios? Do your skill-based training programs build the kind of muscle memory that will improve reaction, or does it produce the kind of muscle memory that increases the likelihood of mistake? Can your organization afford those mistakes?
The philosopher Plato came up with my other favorite quote related to training: “Excellence is not a gift, but a skill that takes practice. We do not act rightly because we are excellent, in fact, we achieve excellence by acting rightly.” I use this quote as a personal challenge, and it is a challenge I would extend to you. Let’s us together seek to be excellent, not by our innate abilities, but by our collective commitment to our craft’s practice and development. We must be the best protectors we can be, and in living out that duty, we must seek excellence through our diligent effort. We owe it to those we protect, and we owe it to each other. It is the difficulty of the task that allows us to know its worth. We have to train for success, or we will always fall to the lowest levels of our expectations.