In this episode, “Exercise for Life (and Preparedness” I re-visit my LinkedIn article from just before the 2018/2019 school year. My wife and I created a drill where we had our three sons wake up. Then eat and then brush their teeth and get ready for the bus. The premise was to help the transition from lazy summer to productive school mindset. Pretty relevant as we move into a COVID impacted 2020/2021 school year right?
Real World Exercise Modeling
Our measured outcome statement was, “This week we received a 30% grade on exercise participants meeting a deadline. And 60% were able to complete the given objectives”. This deadline modeled the real bus pick up time looming the next day.
- To consume an appropriate amount of food (breakfast) before cleaning up
- Remove food residue (dishes) before brushing teeth
- Clean nastiness from the mouth (brush teeth) before departure
My brilliant wife devised the exercise that served as a mock run for the real school day the next morning. For an eleven, seven and five year old this exercise was just complex enough. It showed them the realistic impact waking up much earlier. This was in stark contrast to their lazy summer hours. Since we established metrics for success or areas for improvement, we were able to conduct a realistic after action review. Once the exercise concluded feedback was given. Tips on moving with more purpose were provided. Methods for optimizing brush strokes were reviewed and of course…donuts were eaten.
Just as exercises are important for our kids, they are even more important for emergency and incident management practitioners. Plan them and exercise them in the most realistic fashion possible. Make radio systems fail. Remove a player for a mock injury. Bring in a secondary attack. Push people out of their comfort zone. Evaluate exercises objectively and transparently. As an Evaluator I have seen and heard post exercise feedback that reflected things went “perfect”. This never happens for pretend or in real life. In fact, the reality was that some exercise actions would have killed people in real life. As an evaluator your knowledge, skills and abilities put you in a place to help others. You need to accept that you may need to provide feedback that others may not want to hear. That is OK. Be professional, but be real. Exercises give us second chances but real life does not.
Directing, Evaluating or Observing Exercises
Whether you are an exercise director, evaluator, observer or player, you have an obligation to treat the scenario as if it is real. You may be tired, you may be overwhelmed, but you can work through those things if you work as a team and work a process. Next, truly implement the areas for improvement based on your improvement plan timeline and reap the benefits of learning in a controlled environment.
As for the kiddos, we had a 100% success rate the following day and each successfully made the bus on time.
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