"Growing Adaptive Thinking" coming to Ohio in March 2018

Thom Dworak and I have the following Growing Adaptive Thinking workshops scheduled in early 2018:
Sam Todd of Black Cloud Operations reached out to host a couple back-to-back workshops in Ohio. We decided to offer two (2) slightly different options, targeting slightly different audiences. To maintain the interactive setting, each session is capped at forty (40) attendees. 
  • March 04th - 06th is biased for Command, Administrators, & Supervisors.
  • March 07th - 09th is biased for Field Training Officers (FTOs), Trainers, & SWAT. 
And generously, Black Cloud Ops is offering special discounted pricing to members of the Ohio Tactical Officers Association

Thom and I have struggled on whether to take the adaptive concepts and tailor them to particular audiences and learners. After all, the principles and theories of adaptability remain consistent regardless of the application. We also recognize that the environments, functions, and mindsets of each particular specialty, division, sub-culture, or sub-function of policing is unique and may benefit from more customized case studies, discussions, challenges, and group projects.

But do not get frustrated over which of the two (2) sessions to attend. Personally, I do NOT recommend attending BOTH of the sessions! Much of the material, ideas, exercises, and theories will be consistent (read: repeated from one session to the next). Over the course of three (3) days, the discussions will bounce all over the place...and we will certainly have time to stray outside the particular attendee "silo." Pick one (1) and go with it. Don't sweat over the choice. 

This consistency allows for sharing and carryover of concepts from one function to the next. A defensive tactics instructor will benefit from attending alongside a policy writer or intel analyst; a chief of police will benefit from attending alongside a robbery detective or tactical medic. Simply, this is about not only individual adaptability, but also organizational. We want everyone to be talking the same language regardless of role, unit, responsibility, rank, function, or position! 

What's the philosophy of the program? Here's some background: 

Law enforcement culture tends to utilize a linear, technical mindset for training, intelligence, policy, operations, and supervision.  At the same time, police officers, supervisors, and command staff continue to struggle with complications from poor decision-making and leadership.  This antiquated framework is a carry over from an industrial education model primarily designed for efficiency via cost savings and the maximization of time...for training factory workers!  The unpredictable modern law enforcement environment is far from that of an assembly line.
  • Why should we consider adopting a new cultural philosophy in our training, intelligence, policy, operations, and supervision?
  • How do we shift our thinking to accommodate those situations in which rigid rules, checklists, or flowcharts simply do not apply? 
  • How do we effectively nurture a non-linear, adaptive mindset – at the individual, team, and organizational levels? 
The random, unpredictable, dynamic, high-stakes nature of police work requires adaptability at all levels and in all situations.

This 3-day workshop has been developed specifically for growth-minded thinkers seeking to understand the relationships between so many previously unconnected topics. In an immersive learning environment that relies on active discussion and practical exercises, students will examine: 
  • Balancing adherence to rules & embracing creative problem-solving
  • Building resiliency to work through failure
  • Breaking silo-thinking & institutional barriers to effective communication and operations
  • Predict & forecast based on a mix of research & experience
  • Writing policy & procedures that effectively match function with environment
  • Giving & receiving feedback from a variety of sources
  • Understanding analytic & critical thinking vs intuition & experience
  • Appreciating system capabilities vs environmental demands
  • Exploiting emotional intelligence & behavioral analysis
  • Mitigating the effects of stress on decision-making
  • Using contemporary learning research to enhance student retention
  • Working effectively with people who think differently than you
  • Using strategic thinking to navigate uncertainty
  • Triaging challenges and “stacking the deck” for better preparedness

Thomas Dworak is a retired Sergeant (31 years) from a suburban Chicago police department where he was the Field Training and Evaluation Program Coordinator and the lead Defensive Tactics/Use of Force instructor.  Thom’s knowledge of experiential learning, emotional intelligence, critical thinking, creative problem solving and decision making shaped The Adaptive FTO into a program for the changing training environment Field Training Officers and their trainees find themselves in daily.

Thom facilitates training throughout the country in Field Training, Instructor Development, Leadership, Supervisory Skills, Use of Force, and Defensive Tactics through The Virtus Group, Inc. He is also a core instructor for Below 100. Thom holds the position of adjunct faculty at the Suburban Law Enforcement Academy (College of DuPage, IL) providing instruction to recruits in defensive tactics and scenario-based training. As a member of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), Thom is the Instructor Development Section Editor of the ILEETA Journal.

Lou Hayes, Jr. is a Police Sergeant, currently assigned as Training Coordinator and Range Master for a suburban Chicago police department. Since 1998, he has been a full-time sworn officer, with assignments as: Patrol Officer; Field Training Officer (FTO); Detective; SWAT supervisor; Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) member; instructor; training supervisor. He co-developed The Illinois Model™ as a comprehensive and universal police problem-solving process.

As a training consultant, Lou’s responsibilities are focused on strategic thinking, adaptability, instructional & curriculum design, and creative decision-making. His personal study includes generalism, emotional intelligence, adult learning, human performance under stress, high-reliability organizations, and complex adaptive systems. His relentless asking of challenging questions that begin with How and Why have earned him the nickname "Tactical Philosopher."

Want a bigger list of topics to be discussed?

Still want to see more from the reflection of the course moderators? I offer this rundown from a previous workshop: link.

Lastly, I recommend these courses to everyone inside policing. There is something to be learned no matter your role, unit, responsibility, rank, function, or position! 

We hope to see you in Ohio in March! 


Lou Hayes, Jr. is a police training unit supervisor in suburban Chicago. He studies human performance & decision-making, creativity, emotional intelligence, and adaptability. Follow Lou on Twitter at @LouHayesJr or on LinkedIn


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