Tactical Pause

How often have you heard the phrase, “smooth is fast”. I’ll bet we have all heard that at least a thousand times in our careers and the funny thing is it is absolutely true.

But what really makes for smooth? I’m sure you could ask a dozen cool guys and you would get thirteen different answers to that question. When you break it down it is the guys that can make it look effortless, like they have been doing it all their life.

Smooth Operator

So, how do we get to that level of flawless execution? It starts by simply not outrunning your headlights. I would strongly suggest you check out this post from a while back, Out Running your Headlights. The gist of that article had to do with folks moving so fast they fail to properly perform target discrimination in order to achieve positive identification. You cannot emphasis this enough and it doesn’t matter the skill of the individual or the team. Everyone has to make solid decision in split seconds and to do so you need information. The individuals that can soak up their environment, focus on the relevant and discard the irrelevant are the smooth operators not to sound so cliche.

Wait for it

The best way to do this is by introducing what we call a tactical pause. A tactical pause is just a really cool way of saying slow the hell down, take a good look at what is in front of you. There can be an overwhelming amount of stimulus in a tactical scenario so how do you sort out the important stuff. You have to understand the tactical imperative, which basically is a theory. It states that because we can only focus on one thing at a time you have to have a filter system that allows you to determine what is most important. We break it down into people, places and portals. That is the order you need to process things and they are subdivided even more.

On the people side, you have shoots, no-shoots and unknowns. You have to be able to discriminate between those three categories and apply the correct action to solve the problem. At the last tactics class guys were blowing by their corner clearances. A corner clearance is basically a shallow room entry. You have responsibilities that take time to perform. The time it takes to process the available information takes a few seconds, hence the tactical pause. We literally program the guys that before they give a clear to take a split second to ensure things are good to go.

What are we really talking here

An argument was made that time is critical and I couldn’t agree more with that point. However, we are talking about a few seconds. I doubt anyone on a tactical room entry will blow by their responsibilities as fast as some guys do their corner clearances. If you were to put it in mathematical sense by theoretically stating there are four corners in a large problem, sure there could be more, but let’s just say four. Now, let’s say you take like five seconds for your tactical pause, way more than I would ever encourage, thats a total of 20 seconds. Hell, most of the time teams waste more time talking so I don’t know what all the fuss is about a hypothetical 20 seconds.

You want to make it look effortless, like you have been doing it forever…pause.

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