Why things go right and why things go wrong: Part 2

When good people get involved in high risk, low-frequency events, you are much more likely to make a mistake; ongoing training is key

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. And today’s tip is a follow up from our last tip dealing with why things go right and why things go wrong. In our last tip, I introduced you to the risk frequency matrix, and here it is again for your consideration.

My point in the last tip was rarely do we make mistakes on high-frequency events, the right two boxes. Things we do a lot we tend to do very well. When you start studying tragedies, too often they occur in the left two boxes, low-frequency events, things we do rarely. Now, I don’t worry about the bottom left box because that’s low risk, even if it goes bad, the consequences are de minimis. Where I worry for you, where I worry for everybody, is in the top left box.

When good people get involved in high risk, low-frequency events, you are much more likely to make a mistake. And to be fair, not every mistake is going to end in a tragedy, but if you make enough mistakes, sooner or later, all the holes in the swiss cheese get lined up. We’ll have that triggering event followed by tragedy and it ends up being high risk, low-frequency event, any occupation, any profession.

Now, if you’re looking at that top left box, you’ll see it’s divided into two areas: the DT’s and the NDTs.

DT= Discretionary time: you’ve got time to think before you act.

NDT = Non-Discretionary time: you have no time to think, you have to act immediately.

In my long programs, I call the top left portion of the top left box, those high risk, low-frequency Non-Discretionary Time tasks – those I call the core critical tasks. Very risky, done very rarely with no time to think. Those are the ones that scare me the most.

The discretionary time tasks, if you have time to think, use it. But the non-discretionary time tasks, those are the ones that require the constant, ongoing training. That is the genesis for the Lexipol DTB program, every day a training day focusing on those core critical tasks.

For right now, in the world you’re living in with coronavirus, you are going to have to make some split-second decisions in that top left corner of that top left box. Very risky, done very rarely with no time to think.

Please remember this: the overall mission of everybody in public safety is the preservation of life and every decision you make has got to focus on the preservation of life. Please think that through, that’s your job as a public safety professional.

And that is today’s tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham signing off.

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