On the 22nd May 2017, the unthinkable happened...

At 2231hrs on the 22nd May 2017 the unthinkable happened. A suicide bomber detonated himself in the Manchester Arena during an Ariana Grande concert, resulting in 22 fatalities and 1017 injuries. Listening to the BBC News program File on 4 reporting on security staff taking short cuts to training and qualifications I am, sadly, not surprised. To expect a team of highly trained and motivated operators to deal with an event as traumatic as Manchester is a big ask. To think that you can cut corners in training then perform, is dangerous!

I regularly work with organisations to understand how we can better take decisions under pressure and enable resilience in our teams.

These events are mostly positive and demonstrate a growth mindset. Organisations and leaders strive to perform better and look after their people.

There is another side to this coin.

We spend so much time trying to "hack" the system and looking for shortcuts to the destination that it hasn't occurred to us what might happen if we get there!

In other words we have totally focused on the result i.e. passing the course, without much thought to our performance or ability to deal with the event we are training for. (Please read The Long Win by my friend Cath Bishop).

This is dressed up in corporate narrative using words like efficiency, flexibility and occasionally (wrongly) wellness!

Many years ago when I decided to put myself forward for an arduous military selection process I asked a friend for some training tips.

He told me; "Every time you go for a run you will come to a cross roads. Turning left will be the easy way back and the route you'd planned.
Turning right will be an extra mile and therefore uncomfortable.
Always turn right!"

My younger self thought he was advising me to run more miles (always helps).
He wasn't! He was suggesting that I get comfortable in uncomfortable situations and taking the hard route.
Train hard. Fight Easy.

If you want any team to perform under pressure, no matter the circumstances, you must invest in them personally and professionally. The short cuts won't help when the unthinkable happens.

Sham training courses risk public safety