I love this time of the year.  It’s not because of the changing colors of the leaves or the end of the summer heat, but because it’s football season.  Like many football fans and sports commentators, I could watch Peyton Manning dissect teams and defensive strategies all day long. As I watch him not only read a defense but also truly incorporate that information into the play the Broncos are about to run, it is easy to see why he has set the standard for quarterbacks in the NFL.  The power of Peyton Manning’s observation and decision-making skills should also be the goal of our warriors and security professionals.

Let’s start with a common understanding of how Peyton Manning makes decisions leading up to the snap.  The first step is recognition.  He has to determine what defensive strategy the other team is using, where the blitz is coming from, which receiver has a one-on-one match up he wants to exploit, and so on.  Even though every quarterback is expected to read a defense, where Peyton separates himself from all others comes in the second step of the process, where he uses the information he just collected.  Once he has determined what the defense’s intentions are, he assesses where that defensive strategy is weak and uses determines where his opportunities are.  The final step is in the quick communication of his plan to everyone else in the offense.  Peyton then directs his offense to run a play that has been uniquely designed for this exact situation.  Peyton is the icon of informed and intelligent decision-making, and his impressive stats after the first five weeks of the 2013 season (twenty passing touchdowns, one unexpected running touchdown and only one interception thrown) show that he is excelling despite all of the preparation and attention that he is getting from defensive coordinators around the league.

The observation, assessment and execution process that Peyton Manning uses is a model for the recognition primed decision-making process that should be the goal of all security providers.  The ability for a professional in the security and defense fields to use their observation skills to assess the intentions of others and then to immediately use that information to prevent crime and attacks from occurring is what separates the masters from the novices.  Our training programs and the videos that we use to develop our subscribers are primarily focused on developing the recognition ability that a professional needs to have through the lens of human behavior. The learning process cannot stop there.  Once you have developed your ability to observe, classify, and communicate human behavior, the next step is to develop your ability to anticipate and mentally simulate how you will respond in the conditions that you are in.  While you may only focus on how you use the information provided by human behavior early on in your learning and development, in a handful of situations, one of the reasons that Peyton Manning has been so successful is because he has planned for every possible defensive attack and created plays to exploit each of them.  Taking the time to think through the causes for each cluster of observable behavior (dominant, submissive, uncomfortable, comfortable) and how you respond to each will speed up the decision-making process once you approach the “line of scrimmage” in your job.

To learn more about how behavioral analysis can improve your decision-making ability, we recommend that you download our white paper “How Behavioral Analysis Ensures Public Safety” or begin practicing by starting a subscription to The CP Journal.