My Big Question: Do We Focus Too Much on the Nuts and Bolts?

From my blog at FireGroundWorks.

My big question is, “Do we focus too much on the nuts and bolts of tactics and not develop enough critical thinking and problem-solving skills through reading, writing, speaking and other hallmarks of educational courses?”

Organizations know they need flexible thinkers with innovative ideas and a broad knowledge base derived from exposure to multiple disciplines (training, education, and experience). But most focus more on compliance and technology in place of a broader academic background that includes reading, writing, and speaking.

I played a small part in a recent class for newly promoted officers at our fire department where “critical thinking and problem-solving skills through reading books, in-class presentations and other hallmarks of academic courses” made a noticeable difference in officer development in our organization (kudos to Captain Mike Ellis). I witnessed thought-provoking questions and real debate that led to better learning.

In his book, Going Pro: The Deliberate Practice of Professionalism, Tony Kern makes this point: “Get off the recurrent training cycle by embracing “growth-based” development of knowledge skills and abilities that exceed job expectations.”

Our ambiguous and complex world demands a new mindset – one that can keep up and think on its feet!

Read, learn, lead. It will make a difference!

What is your organization doing to help members develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills? How can you help make this happen?

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