Our primary goal here at The CP Journal is to get our content into the hands of people who truly want it and need it. We continue to hear from countless people that have used our training to save a life, build their own training program, prevent a crime or violent incident, or help land a job by improving their interpersonal skills. However you plan to use our processes and content is great, as long as you are using it for good. One of the greatest parts about the work that we do that is that we get to hear from people that read Left of Bang: How the Marine Corps’ Combat Hunter Program Can Save Your Life, spend time on our blog, train with us online, or attend an in-person seminar. This feedback loop is crucial in helping us remain steadfast in our goals of growing and expanding our program options and training schedule.
All of the feedback we receive is excellent, even when it isn’t positive. We realize that we can’t be all things to all people, and the notion that the work that we do will resonate positively with everyone in the world would be naive. So we do in fact like and appreciate when people don’t like our training or think the book could be better, because it usually leads to a thoughtful discussion about human behavior, observation, or pre-event indicators. One recent Amazon review of the book Left of Bang recently brought up a great point about what’s happening out in the world today and how the concepts that we teach can help make the world a safer place.
The review mentioned that the only thing the book is about is how to explain when someone is “acting hinky.” When we hear the term “hinky,” we generally think that the definition involves a person acting suspect or appearing to be dishonest in some way. This review and comment is so important to the larger conversation about behavioral analysis and can help organizations around the world better understand some of the struggles that exist in interpersonal communication today. In Left of Bang, the term is used to explain an incident that involved a customs agent in the state of Washington. The agent used the term to describe someone that stood out, and she included the phrase in her report. She then used that concept as a catalyst for further questioning and eventually preventing a potentially major incident.
The book reviewer that mentions that the book can be simply boiled down to how to explain when someone is acting hinky is right, but we see this as a positive and we couldn’t be more excited when people point out this underlying theme. The concept of acting hinky alone can potentially be dangerous because it relies on observing your expectation of hinky to recognize potential threats. The phrase can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people, which means that each individual person would then by relying on their personal understanding of hinky to keep people safe. This is not repeatable and is very hard to teach to other people.
Since we began teaching our concepts and methodology in 2011, we consistently hear that articulating things with phrases like “hinky” or “acting strange” tend to include some sort of bias, and they create more problems than they solve. After training with us, teams improve their ability to more clearly define the idea of hinky, which is why we have been able to train and on-board new organizations every month to our online Tactical Analysis training programs. Our observational processes and methodology teach people how to better explain when and then more clearly articulate why someone is “acting hinky” in a universal way free of bias, because it’s a really hard thing to do. To properly scale a team’s ability to adequately articulate “acting hinky” requires learning how to do it, repetition, and reinforcement.
Why is the term “hinky” a problem in the first place? What does it even mean? The Oxford Dictionary defines the term hinky as: “(of a person) dishonest or suspect.” But do all people, all over the world, in every age group know what the term hinky means? And can the phrase be used to describe any person in any situation, doing anything that stands out? Would a child understand what you meant when you explained not to go talk to that stranger because they are a little hinky? And would a brand new police officer write in their report that they apprehended someone because the person was acting hinky? Most of our clients would say that hinky doesn’t pass muster. It doesn’t offer enough context for what is happening, why something or someone stands out, or justify an action that was taken to make the situation more advantageous, while attempting to prevent or avoid a potentially undesired event. In short, the term “hinky” is not universal and does not carry weight when used as justification to take action.
And hinky, unfortunately, isn’t alone. The problem that exists in many of the industries and markets in which we operate is that hinky can be replaced with many other words that aren’t always clearly defined, yet are still used as justification for taking action. Acting strange, gives me the willies, something was a little off, it didn’t feel right, and that was weird, are just a few of the words or phrases that we hear being used in existing processes of human behavior observation. These phrases all create problems for people and organizations because they are not clear or repeatable. They cannot be easily understood by anyone, regardless of age or experience. They aren’t universal. That kind of broad language makes it hard for teams to make human behavior–based decisions quickly, effectively, and consistently. This is why our language and terminology that we teach at The CP Journal matters and why having a better understanding of the underlying behaviors that are universal and that constitute acting hinky are important for everyone.
As always, we greatly appreciate all kinds of feedback as it relates to the book, Left of Bang, our online resources, and our training programs. We are constantly working to improve our programs, and we rely on the feedback from everyone that we come into contact with to help make that happen. Please continue this conversation in your own circles and, if we can be a greater resource to help you better define the universal signs of human behavior that constitute acting hinky in your world, please let us know.
About The Author: Jonathan Smith
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