"Growing Adaptive Thinking" 3-day workshop

Thom Dworak and I have the following Growing Adaptive Thinking workshop scheduled:
  • 23-25 April 2019, Chicago-Bensenville; register through NEMRT. (Law Enforcement only)
Registration is open to any and all law enforcement agency employees - both sworn officers and civilian staff. 

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

About the moderators:

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 Detective Sergeant, currently assigned as Investigations supervisor 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 Coordinator; and Range Master  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! 


Lou Hayes, Jr. is a criminal investigations & intelligence unit supervisor in a suburban Chicago police department. With a passion for training, he studies human performance & decision-making, creativity, emotional intelligence, and adaptability. Follow Lou on Twitter at @LouHayesJr or on LinkedInHe also maintains a LinkedIn page for The Illinois Model


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