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Month: February, 2014

No One Just Snaps!

No One Just Snaps!

                Far too many times, when I hear an incident of workplace violence (WPV), there is always some talking heads in the media, personalities, psychologists, and others, including security and law enforcement, who are glad to tell you, ‘They just snapped with no warning’. Granted they say those because they make excellent sound bites, which is exactly what the general public and news casts demand (unfortunately).

                There are always warning signs of anyone who is about to go off and start harming people. And it doesn’t really matter whether it’s with their fists, pipe wrench, pencils or staplers, or knives and firearms! There will always be warning signs they are about to hurt someone.

                There are numerous instances throughout the recent history of WPV where the shooter either ignored or didn’t shoot people who were right in front of them. In several cases the shooter looked them straight in the eye and continued walking by, or saying ‘I don’t want you’.

 

The Key:

                We can either choose to act upon them (warning signs) or ignore them. Which way we decide to act could determine whether or not someone will die soon or not. And in reporting the warning signs there are several things that stand in the way of reporting them to a supervisor or manager.

 

Excuses:

                So what are some of those excuses that people give for not reporting the warning signs to the proper individual(s)? This is only a partial list. I’m sure you’ve heard many more than these. And before I list them, a quote;

He, who accepts evil, without protesting against it, is really cooperating with it.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

  • He is just going through a tough time
  • He’s not that kind
  • He’s got problems, who doesn’t?
  • I don’t want to get him in trouble.
  • I don’t want to get involved.
  • It’s not my problem
  • Why should I care what happens to him?
  • I hate this place, why should I warn them?
  • This company needs a wake-up call anyway.
  •  They won’t listen to me.

 

Connecting the Dots:

                I stated above that no one just ever snaps. There are always the warning signs. Unfortunately, it’s as much the companies fault as it is employees that these signs are ignored. In addition, to the excuses above, no one can or is willing to ‘connect the dots’. It is a simple exercise, especially when you know what to look, and train employees in.

                And it’s not just that simple either. Supervisors, managers, human resources, security, top management, literally everyone needs to know not to ignore what an employee brings to them. And they need to ‘buy-in’ to the security and WPV prevention program 150%. And demonstrate that fact.

 

Another person’s view:

                Forensic psychologist Robert Fein, PhD, now a national security psychologist, “targeted violence is the end result of an understandable and often discernible process of thinking and behavior,” In other words, people don’t just “snap,” he says.

                Specifically, studies found that attackers usually plan for days and months before committing a crime. In addition, while perpetrators don’t often threaten their targets directly, other people usually know enough to be concerned before a plan is carried out. “It seems increasingly clear that when bad things happen, there are people around the person who know enough to have concerns,”

 

            Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on workplace/school violence prevention. He has appeared in more than 130 media outlets in the past 30 years of being in the field and 22 studying, writing, and speaking about WPV/SV.

            He utilizes his years of field knowledge to give real life examples of incidents pulled from both his own experiences and the news headlines. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or visit his website at;

www.sollarssecurityshield.com

www.Facebook.com/One is too Many to see incidents of WPV/SV you may not have seen or thought about.

Should Zero Tolerance Come to an End?

Should Zero Tolerance Come to an End?

                My thoughts on this particular issue is a resounding yes! Zero tolerance policies are never a good thing for anyone, be they in school or at work. The only thing that zero tolerance does is put a false sense of lawsuit liability protection to rest – in the minds of legal and HR professionals.

                Zero tolerance policies simply don’t work! They lump each and everyone into one category as an offender to be punished with no thoughts to what may have provoked the incident. This blanket policy in our schools and businesses is usually carried way too far in its implementation.

                How can we forget about the innumerable news reports we hear at least once a week from our schools, and these are just a few examples from the past;

Student suspended for pointing finger at another student

Student expelled for biting his pop tart into the shape of a gun

Teenager suspended for bringing kitchen knife to school – by accident and turning it in

                And the list goes on and on and on.

 

                And the corporate world is no better, but it receives so much less attention. If 2 co-workers get into an argument and one picks up a pipe wrench to defend themselves and is seen, what happens? He gets suspended and possibly terminated. No remediation, no statements, and no questioning. How fair is that to anyone.

                Using football as an analogy, for those who watch it, how many times have you seen one player instigate an incident on the field and the 2nd player respond by swinging or pushing back? Who is the one that usually gets the yellow flag and fined by the league? Normally it’s the 2nd player. And in the NCAA, the same player can be suspended from playing the rest of that game and possibly the next.

                In the corporate world disciplinary action is usually warranted for innumerable reasons, and I’ll not argue that point. What I do argue about is the automatic suspension of an employee before all the facts are known or an investigation has been completed. This kind of action, blanket policy, can cause a backlash in the form of a lawsuit.

                It is a knee jerk reaction. And in my opinion, the HR department simply doesn’t want to mess with the issue at that time and put it off until it’s more convenient. Many times these policies simply make life easier for the HR people.

                Whether they are lazy, incompetent, or just too overworked in the world of cut backs and do more with less. And that kind of attitude can foster the attitude of an employee who wants/needs to get even at the world.

                Remember one of the attitudes of an employee who is likely to ‘go postal’ is that they believe they are receiving disparate treatment from the employer/co-workers/supervision/management. And a blanket policy of zero tolerance can lead to a deadly incident of WPV.

                I’m sure that you can think back to any number of events of a employee that went on a rampage in the workplace for some sort of blanket policy, whether they were being ‘conspired against’ or not. Some will believe that they are.

                Not all blanket policies are bad. The ones that usually are, are the ones that call for immediate termination, suspension, or expulsion for the offense whatever it was, with no investigation at the time.

                In the United States, we treat people fairly and with a jury trial. In the corporate world the HR department is generally the judge, jury, & executioner after such an incident. And because of this, the zero tolerance can instigate an incident of WPV.

 

            Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on workplace/school violence prevention. He has appeared in more than 130 media outlets in the past 30 years of being in the field and 22 studying, writing, and speaking about WPV/SV.

            He utilizes his years of field knowledge to give real life examples of incidents pulled from both his own experiences and the news headlines. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or visit his website at;

www.sollarssecurityshield.com

www.Facebook.com/One is too Many to see incidents of WPV/SV you may not have seen or thought about.

What is value added service?

What is value added service?

                While customer service has been a buzzword for the American Corporation for the past 30 years or so, this is one term that is virtually non-existent in any kind of training involving this subject. But in order to have a good customer service plan of attack, you have to know what value added service is and how it affects you.

                Every person reading this has heard the line ‘Going above and beyond the call of duty’. That’s what this phrase, value added service stands for. In order to curry the favor of your customers you need to add value to the service you give to them. That means, basically, go the extra mile.

                If you’re a nurse and a patient asks you for a piece of paper and a pencil to write a letter, what would you do? You would probably give it to them. But the question becomes, when? Would you go the extra mile and trudge back to the nurse’s station and search for the items, and then trudge all the way back to their room just for a pencil and paper?

                As long as you’re not involved in an emergency or covering for someone who is, why not? Is it taking that much time out of your day? Is it that hard to grab a few pieces of paper and a pencil from the station to take to them? Will it make them smile and thank you for your effort? Will it make the hospital look better on the evaluation form at the end? Assuredly yes!

                And it doesn’t matter whether or not you’re in a service industry or not. In retail you could take an extra few minutes to look up where an item may be found, if you don’t have it in stock. And then you could offer to have it shipped to your store, if your company offers that (and if it doesn’t, why not?), if the location where there is one is too far for the customer to travel, or they’re disabled, or elderly.

                In a service business, do you have to charge the client every time you answer a question? While many doctors will make you come to the office before answering any questions, which is generally for legal concerns, the answer would be no. If they are constantly calling and picking your brain, then yes, but for only a couple of questions, once in a blue moon,  then no.

                We’ve all heard of the police officers/good Samaritans who go out and fix a home for an elderly person or buys toys and food for the family who lost everything to a burglar or fire. Or maybe the nurse who allowed an elderly man to get into bed with his dying wife on her last night on earth.

                In the security field, we can, potentially, prevent an incidence of WPV if we provide value added service to our customers/client’s needs. Nothing can ever be guaranteed in WPV and saying that we can prevent it with value added service is wishful thinking. However, it is possible, that we might make the individual who wants to commit this heinous act to stop and think. And if they stop and think, they may decide that they should move on or that it’s not worth it. Can you think ‘Make a Difference’?

                Think about your internal & external customers in your business. How many ways can you add value to them and their experience with you? If you look hard, then I’m sure you can come up with a few that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg! And if you break a couple of rules, or bend them out of shape to do it, if you’re not doing anything illegal, unethical, or immoral, why not?

                I have many examples where adding value added service to the client, in several ways, made a difference for the company and the officers. It saved the client, it garnered praise and recognition for the officers and the office staff, and it helped secure other clients for us. This occurred at every security company I worked for. From the now defunct company’s Wells Fargo Guard Services & Universal Protective Services. To both Allied Security (now Allied-Barton (and First Response.

 

            Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on workplace/school violence prevention. He has appeared in more than 130 media outlets in the past 30 years of being in the field and 22 studying, writing, and speaking about WPV/SV.

            He utilizes his years of field knowledge to give real life examples of incidents pulled from both his own experiences and the news headlines. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or visit his at;

www.Facebook.com/One is too Many to see incidents of WPV/SV you may not have seen or thought about.