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'Shoot, Don't Shoot' - Critical Decision Points

Here we look at a police shooting, from the officers' perspective, in order to show how critical decision points can be set up for success, or for failure. In this case, once the officers had arrived on scene, it was never going to end well. Either one or both would be stabbed, or they would have to shoot and kill their mentally disturbed assailant. It was an impossible situation.

Could this dilemma have been avoided ? Yes, but only on an organisational level. In this HCD training scenario we shift focus away from the 15 seconds it took for the incident to play out to examine the broader picture, how the situation was set up in such a way that the outcome was always going to be bad, and how this could have been avoided.

This forms a good way of introducing the High Consequence Decision Making (HCD) Framework, as it shows how a wider perspective on critical decision points, taking into account the full organisational context and how these shape 'shoot, don't shoot' situations.

The HCD Program is not directed so much at officers on the front line, but leaders and managers who shape the context in which they will have to make life or death decisions, and whose input can lead to success, or to failure.

Below is a summary of what the training scenario covers -

Avoiding Catastrophe has successfully run training in the HCD Framework for such bodies as the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), and Emergency Management Victoria (EMV). It is designed for those in leadership positions whose subordinates have to make critical decisions that are irreversible once made, and where the consequences of error can be catastrophic. Its aim is to minimise this risk.

If you would like to discuss how this might be useful in your context, contact us at

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