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Month: September, 2015

The 4 groups of people that should be of concern in preventing WPV

It can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time, for any reason

Before we can prevent, or lessen the risk, of any incidents we must understand where the threat comes from. There are four groups of people which WPV originates from;

  • Violence as a result of another crime

Roughly 79%-85% of all WPV falls into this category. And it really depends on where you get your statistics from as to which number is correct. And only the security expert within your organization can help to prevent these kinds of incidents, not nearly enough space in this post.

  • Current or ex-employees

The most commonly reported kind of WPV by the media is the employee, or ex, doing harm within the business. Usually the violence is caused by the perceived negative treatment by supervisors or co-workers. And keep in mind whatever they perceive is going to be their reality, it doesn’t matter what the real situation may be, Perception is Reality.

Two things that will help your HR department and management avoid any wrongful disciplinary action or dismissal lawsuits are training your supervisors on recognizing warning signs and the most effective and,  efficient ways of confronting the employee before placing it on their (permanent) records. Experts within the community, non-profit organizations, can come in and train your supervisors on what to look for. Although the supervisor needs to follow #2 closely.

And that #2 is that your entire company needs to know the value and power of documentation. It is one of those vitally necessary things to prove in a court of law that you followed every possible recourse and that the employee was ‘destined’ for termination. All incidents involving employees all the fights, arguments, and so on must be documented every time, including the derogatory comments, swearing, & otherwise distasteful words. And these words MUST be spelled out in full to prevent any lawyer from saying you didn’t get it right with the ***.

  • Significant others/domestic violence

This is one that is not as well-known and carefully avoided by most. But because of the NFL’s new campaign of ‘No More’ it is getting more attention. Approximately 48% of WPV incidents begin as domestic violence/stalking of their significant other. Domestic violence doesn’t only relate to physical violence but can also be mental stress, and emotional abuse.

Usually the significant other becomes so enraged over their spouse having an perceived affair or them working outside the house or some other perceived, see how that word keeps creeping into the equation, problem that is magnified or has no basis They can become so enraged, at the perception, that They will come to the workplace to physically or verbally abuse their spouse. Even to the point of bringing a weapon and killing their spouse and anyone else in the way.

The victim in this case may have been advised by friends, coworkers, or human resources that they need to get out of their abusive relationship, referred to a shelter, or employee assistance program. The abusive spouse then feels threatened that these people are trying to take their ‘property’ away from them.  It can also result from bitter divorces involving innumerable issues, including child custody.

What can be done to prevent domestic violence spilling over into your workplace? A lot of this depends on ensuring your policies & procedures are regularly updated and that the employees trust their management to talk to them. If an employee confides in their supervisor that there is a problem and they are afraid of their significant other possibly coming to the job site it is their responsibility to inform their managers and security. If they do come to the worksite then call security or the police immediately. They need to be observed closely. If a weapon is seen the need to call 911 is paramount.

  • Customers

Yet another group that is not often found in the media.  But why would a customer turn to violence against you? They become dissatisfied with something. Generally it is for some of the same reasons an employee or current employee turns to violence. They perceive, there’s that word again, they receive disparate treatment and the company is treating them differently.

All disgruntled individuals who come back into your business need to be treated differently, albeit fairly. The customer who comes into your business in a rage, yelling and screaming, demanding their money back or to see the manager is different than the one who comes back politely and requests the same thing; therefore it is preferable the dissatisfied customer is dealt with away from others.

Are these the only tips that help you prevent or lessen the risk of an incident? Of course not. There are numerous others and of course your human resources and security departments or a consultant with specialized training can show you them. But no matter what you do you must TRAIN, TRAIN, TRAIN your employees, supervisors, managers, & C-suite on all of these. And this means ALL departments including HR & security, yes even those who will conduct the training.

If you don’t ride the waves of change, you’ll find yourself beneath them

A Special Blogging Note: Over the next couple of days, except a flurry of blog posts on the 2 awareness month dedications that most concern myself and security professionals.

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

Writing effective and efficient Policies & Procedures-Part 2

Media Contact

                Do you have a company spokesman? The smaller your company, the chances are you don’t. Therefore you need to write a policy and procedure for dealing with the media if something unforeseen occurs to the business.

The likeliest candidate for the job as spokesman is the owner/President, Vice President, or General Manager. But what if they aren’t available i.e. vacation, conferences, sick, and etc., then what? You need to have clearly delineated policies as to who can and can’t talk to the media during a crisis. The last thing you need is for someone, not with company management say something wrong, and then have the media run away with it as verified and truthful.

You can’t stop employees from using social media in this age of connectivity. But you can control the message that is getting out and turn it to your advantage & dispel rumors. But in this instance the spokesman needs to be as truthful as possible.

Zero Tolerance

One of the biggest buzz words in the business world. Most businesses have it wrong and continue to get it wrong every single time they utilize this to justify any number of actions. And it is also used to terminate problem employees without listening to both sides.

You have to use common sense with using this policy. Should you allow weapons into your business? More than likely no. But does this mean you need to suspend, discipline, or terminate someone for violating the policy? Not necessarily. At least not without an investigation.

Zero tolerance is like the blanket policy I talked about during disciplinary actions. If you make such a blanket statement, then the company and you as the HR person could be opening yourself up to a lawsuit for wrongful termination. And at the very worse, for the employee to return with a firearm. And at the very best an employee who is back to work, but not ready to trust management and ‘infecting’ the rest of the staff with that mistrust.

Physical Security

This could be nearly as big as the rest of the manual combined, but then again I’m biased. And you should consult with your security manager or hire a consultant to ensure that it is effective and efficient. Mainly because do you want a mechanical engineer writing the HR policies? Probably not, therefore you need to get the input from the individual responsible for security.

But every single part of your physical security program (PSP) should be outlined in this section of the P&P. And because it can be so very difficult to outline these items, a couple of suggestions for you to get started with;

  1. Start with the post orders you have given your security staff. If you followed my recommendations from a few weeks ago, then each of those sections needs to be broken down with a policy written for it. From access control to trucks entering, departing, deliveries, and the like.
  2. Ensure that all aspects of the program are detailed in both a policy and procedure. Do you need a policy for everything? No, but a procedure for everything is mandatory.
  3. At any time, for any reason, if your policies and procedures change for the PSP, then the paper needs to be rewritten and replaced in the manual. Don’t allow red, blue, black, or other marks to be utilized for expediency.

Emergency Procedures

I won’t go into a great deal of detail on this one, because I’ll be writing a post in the next few months on writing a disaster recovery plan (DRP). But suffice to say that every possible disaster should be considered and a policy & procedure written for it.

But again, you have to use common sense. Do you need to write a contingency for hazardous chemicals if you have none on property? No, you don’t. Likewise, you don’t necessarily need to write a procedure for a tornado in Arizona or California. The chances are that it is a very unlikely event.

Will you think of every single possible outcome and inevitability that may arise when putting them into effect? If you do, then you’ll have a manual that is as thick as the IRS manual of tax laws, rules, & regulations for the United States (presently 75,000 pages). So that answer is no, it would be far too unwieldly to use.

But you have to be able to use your own common sense & brain power when utilizing the P&P with employees. Just like the law of unintended consequences, when spouting’ the company line about something that doesn’t allow for any human compassion or rational thinking. No matter how you’re trying to avoid it.

And another point here is that if you have multiple locations across the country or globe, you need a different P&P manual for every country or location. The laws are different in the state of New York than they are in Wyoming or Singapore. Therefore simply using the same policies & procedures for every location is not practical.

Have your legal staff, or hire a consultant, to examine your P&P manual and make recommendations for revisions in each locale. This will allow you to keep them as close as possible to each other, so that no glaring disparities appear. And lastly, use that time worn acronym, KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid).

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

                                                          I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

Getting the attention of the C-suite

As security professionals, leaders, and those responsible for safeguarding the lives and property of our company or client it can be extremely difficult to gain the attention of the one group of people who can make the biggest difference in getting things done and appropriating money, The C-suite.

So how do you accomplish gaining their attention? Especially when most of the time they figure that security will only cost money instead of make and add it to the bottom line, so that it looks good for the investors? Good, not excellent, security costs money and resources. And being honest they would rather put that money into a different area of the business to help to gain market share or brand awareness or something similar. And it is all due to increasing the profitability and bottom line look for investors.

Even in today’s world filled with hatred from ISIS and other Muslim extremists, racial hate groups, and the myriad of other people who are offended by… (Fill in your cause or idea here). Fraud, theft, workplace violence both inside & outside the company), cyber hacking, & innumerable other issues are not, apparently, that important to them as the bottom line (not fully understanding that these do affect the bottom line).

So as security professionals, leaders, & those responsible if something goes wrong how do we convince them to spend the necessary financial resources we need to stay afloat and complete our duties effectively and efficiently as well as try to stay ahead of the ner’do wells that are out to hinder or cost us the business/money?

And by hindering our business or shutting us down, they cost the company money but also the livelihoods of everyone who works there, no matter how ‘horrible’ they may be for working there. And I really don’t think that any of us want that. And we especially don’t want to see our company leading the 6 O’clock news, do we?

I’ve always been someone who talks bluntly and directly. I rarely sugar coat anything to anyone, no matter how delicate it may be. From the fact they are being fired, body odor, or that they are doing things the wrong way i.e. managers, client contacts, and C-suiters. So I have to agree with a linked in post I read a few months ago.

Tell the C-suite, or whoever controls your purse strings, that they are or will be negligent if they don’t do these things you’re proposing. No sugar coating, they’re not frosted flakes, no delicacy, they’ also not slinky lingerie, or dancing around the truth, neither you nor they are Fred Astaire.

Just one lil caveat to add to this. Pick your battles carefully. You can’t go running to them for more money and say they’ll be negligent about every little issue that pops up. Items dealing with WPV, cyber security, information hacking, and all kinds of fraud. And that’s only 3 out of a gazillion other potential threats.

If you do get reckless and stupid and run to them with a request for every little pet project of yours, then they will begin to look at you and your department as not worth the money at all. And if this happens, they may also decide to say having security is such a pain they’ll eliminate the entire department and contract it out, despite the obvious dangers we know they willll then face.

I can tell you emphatically it’s not very nice to be called a Chicken Little and say the sky is falling and we have to do this and that. It’s also gratifying to hear, when something goes right, that you were right and they should have put more money into…

I’ve been there on both sides of it. If you’re act like and are called a Chicken Little, then they may not listen to anything you have to say or warn about, even if they’re drowning and you tell them they are in fact sucking their last breath. On the other hand being direct, blunt, honest, & up front with issues and threats can cause you to become a ‘go to star’ within the organization, which is also nice (besides being a pain in your backside, and theirs). But you have to ensure you don’t piss them off too badly or you’ll risk becoming a Chicken Little.

So, again, pick your battles carefully before going to the C-suite and telling them that they will be considered negligent if something happens. But by firing that bombshell across their bow, you may make them sit up and pay attention to you and their security program. And yes, it is their program, even if they won’t acknowledge that factoid. We, as security professionals, just run it and make it operate effectively and efficiently.

Once more I’ll ask you. Are you a Chicken Little or are you the ‘go to star of the company? If you can save the company money by avoiding risk or saving the company financial resources or embarrassment, then maybe…

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically WPV. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page,

Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

Writing effective and efficient Policies & Procedures-Part 1

I’m not going to give you precise already written policies & procedures (P & P). I will give you the guidelines of how & what to write. I will also emphasize that this is not an all-inclusive list. These are only guidelines. Your industry may have issues that others may not have and I’m not familiar with. So do your own due diligence when writing and updating them. And remember what my last couple of posts has said – slaughter those (sacred) cows immediately! When writing these.

Before we get started on them, here is a short list of how to write them;

  1. Policies are for what needs to be done, procedures are how to accomplish them
  2. they must be written in a clear-cut, concise, & succinct manner
  3. Write them simple enough for any of your employees to understand and follow, making the language readable and understandable by anyone.
  4. Don’t write it so legalistic that only attorneys  or managers with MBA’s can understand
  5. It should be written comparable to the intelligence level of your employees. If you’re employing nothing but college graduates for IT jobs then a higher level is okay. But if you’re hiring drop outs and poorly educated high schoolers then…at a 6th or 8th grade level.
  6. . Follow the ‘old school’ rules of journalism, the 5 W’s & H. Who, what, when, where, why, & how should be included in every procedure and possibly policy as well.

Hiring Procedures

I’m not going to delve far into this area. The reasoning for this is fairly simple. Since I went blind and the economy crashed, the laws that affect what you can do to hire someone have drastically changed. What you can and can’t do when hiring has now become very convoluted, so I’ll give a few basic guidelines here.

  1. Whether you hire from LinkedIn or other job site, always have them fill out an application.
  2. . Ensure that you do all of the due diligence that you can i.e. Background checks, credit checks, motor vehicles, educational, and certifications.
  3. . Never forget the value of checking references. While they can lie, at least you can look for a couple of nuggets of truth.
  4. . Always check with previous employers. Again, you may not get the 100% iron clad guaranteed truth; you can glean some useful tidbits from them.
  5. . Utilize at least 2 or 3 interviews before making your final decision, even for a lowly ‘ditch digger’ position. This will ensure that you are as comfortable with them, as they hopefully are with you, for a long time.

Disciplinary Action

                This section of the P&P needs to be as dispassionate as possible. Does this mean that you can make exceptions, outside the policy for exceptional employees or circumstances? Of course you can. But if you decide to do this, you must ensure that they are included in the policy and not just left to an opinionated manager’s personal decision. And ensure that the procedure says it needs to be documented – and then ensure it’s done.

Another aspect to add to this is that the policy should always make reference to the discipline that the violation of the policy or procedure may bring. Whether it says outright what it may be or a listing to the disciplinary section of your P&P manual.

But please no blanket statements such as “all violations are subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination”. These kind of statements leave far too much leeway for either the employee, employer, or in the worst case scenario the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).


It would be helpful to you and your staff if you had a set policy and procedure for terminations. And as above it shouldn’t be a blanket policy for everything. What I mean is that each level of employee should have its own policy i.e. probationary or intern employees, long term, and temporary.

And these policies and procedures should be written to take into account all possible scenarios, or as many as feasible. Terminations such as for violent employees should be different than one for an employee who is long term and has had a recent spate of attendance issues.

Always, somewhere in the book, should be a place where it is written where and when the termination will take place. The HR office or the breakroom. And if the reasoning is for potential violence, who else will be there during the meeting and who will be notified, if it becomes necessary i.e. police, security, or someone else.

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page,

Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues.

                                              I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

Slaughter those Cows immediately!-Part 2

Many companies are so large they believe that no matter what they do they’ll make money. And in some cases that’s very true. automotive,  insurance, media , and literally thousands of other companies, both in and out of those industries, have grown so large, they are ‘too large to fail’, as the economic crash of 2008 proved.

Being blind, customer service is something I pay closer attention to than most. As an example I’ll use one of my favorite places to shop. Since Sam Walton died, Wal-Mart has continued to grow, but they changed, for the worse. Their customer service definitely falls in with the idea of the customer ‘no-service’ attitude that is very prevalent in today’s economy, especially with many companies mentioned above.

But Wal-Mart is by no means the only one. The worst is never visited more than once.   When you need someone to help you find something, there is never anyone around. If you find someone to help, then they have no clue what you want or where to find it. If you call instead of going there to get information, you hang on hold for 10 minutes and then the person who answers has an accent so thick you can’t understand it, and it’s not necessarily foreign, makes you wonder about the educational system and their sacred cows.

To Wal-Mart, customer service is one of those sacred cows. They proclaim to have great people willing to help in any way they can. Therefore, the refuse to change anything in their approach to customer service. If they would ask me, I could give a hundred ways to slaughter those sacred cows to be more efficient.

So how does a business slaughter those sacred cows and change the operations to make it better and more effective for the customer? They have to start with analyzing every aspect of the operation. I literally mean everything, from the ordering and delivery process to hiring the right people; please no more warm body syndrome, to discipline, store set up, how many people on duty at a time, and checking people out at the cash register. And that’s just one store and a few places to start.

Is there anything in your processes that you can do without? It doesn’t really matter whether it saves you time or money not doing it. What does matter is the customer you’re trying to serve, whoever they may be. Add that to the fact that you streamline & improve the processes, procedures, and service(s) you offer. And why do you do that? Simply put, improve accessibility for your most important asset to stay in business, the customer.

Look at your policy and procedures manual. Anything that hasn’t been updated for at least 5 years needs to be looked at and analyzed and more than likely re-written for a new crop of employees. When I worked for Allied Security in the mid 90’s, our policy & procedures manual was thick. Unfortunately, many of those policies were 15-20 years old. And when asked why they weren’t updated or tossed out? The answer I received was, at least to me, astounding.

The exact quote from my branch manager was ‘Because we haven’t been told to. And besides they still work and apply, why re-write them?’ I loaned him by book ‘If it Ain’t Broke, Break It’ by Robert Krenzel. Shortly after that I began receiving bad assignments; I guess my radical ideas were too much for such an old fashioned and stolid company.

That is my all-time favorite business book, and I’m sorry to say it can’t be found on audio books. But I loved that book and still do. It has taught me to get rid of sacred cows and go it alone if I have to start changing the things that need to be changed. I believed in that before I read the book, but then I had an industry magnate telling me it was the way to increase service to the customers, in my case security clients.

So the conclusion of this is simple, Throw out the CW. Toss those old tired ideas out the window into the dumpster. Try something new and exciting. The worse that can happen is that you fail. So what if you fail, it’s something we all do once in a while. And if you fail spectacularly and get fired… eh so what, go somewhere else where they will appreciate such an approach.

Start thinking of innovation, creativity, and get yourself out-of-the-box to solve problems. And starting with making hamburgers out of the sacred cows is a good start. Slaughter those cows and get rid of them. Yes there will be complaining and moaning and groaning.

But the price of progress in improving your service and reaching out to everyone you serve, especially in the security field (even more so with officer contracts), is to continually improve your processes. And slaughtering those sacred cows is one of the best places to start.

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

                                                       I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

Are you optimistic or pessimistic?

Americans have been raised to see things on the bright side. And throughout our history it has saved us from many a ‘dark & stormy night’ such as the un-Civil War, WWI, the depression, WWII, sputnik, Watergate and so on.

Our parents try to protect us by showing us the bright side of things and teaching us how to survive that away. Politicians, clergy (of all faiths), social workers, and practically everyone wants us to ‘walk on the sunny side of the street’. And for the most part we do, ignoring most everything that is bad because it’s not us it’s happening to.

As a whole, because we are such an optimistic people, we deny the ever present indicators that something is wrong. And unfortunately that extends to our own safety & security. From the female college students who leave their apartment doors unlocked and get raped to the business owner who thinks that an employee would ever steal from them or bring a firearm into work and use it to ‘settle a score’.

From the security points I talk about to numerous other dangerous situations, we all are in denial of something. And no one is more in denial than those who are around others who may become dangerous. Either to themselves or others, we deny that something is wrong with them, their attitude, or moods. Think this is too much of a pessimistic view?

How many times have you seen the actions of a married person that is in direct contradiction to their marriage vows? The husband or wife is out and taking on affairs as often as they change underwear! We see it, yet the spouse who should be closest is totally oblivious to the issue. Despite the millions of false profiles, look at the recent computer hack of Ashley Madison and how many were signed up on that site to cheat on their spouses.

And the parents who are in total denial of their child’s drug abuse or gang activities. Are they just being blinded because their ‘lil angel’ would never do anything like that? And we see this played out on a constant basis in the media, courts, schools, & on the streets across America.

We deny the bad side of practically everything around us, and think that home, work, or school are the safest places to be. If we ‘perceive’ that it’s against us, then of course we’ll notice it. But if it doesn’t concern us, we could care less. And then we make excuses for the actions, attitudes, and moods of others.

Think I’m wrong? Look at ISIS and the people who don’t think they are that dangerous. Then consider WPV, well the media won’t because it’s too prevalent any boring any more. Hillary is lying! No, it’s all a misunderstanding! Trump is entertainment. He’s not entertainment but a serious candidate!

As business owners and managers we don’t see bad omens in the business world because we want our business to succeed. We don’t watch for the small indicators that can, and usually do, build up to the point where they endanger us, the business, and our employees.

And with workplace violence (WPV) it’s the same. In the past I’ve written about the excuses that we give each other about a co-worker or friends, who may be on the edge. We don’t connect the dots and then get surprised when we see, hear, or learn that they have exploded into a rage and hurt or killed someone.

Denial is a strong word and has some real connotations to it. But as normal everyday Americans we deny the existence of WPV because we just don’t want to think about it or what may happen if we do think about it. We have Ostrich Syndrome. We stick our heads in the sand and hope it’ll go away, and then hope we don’t get bit.

If you ever saw the original Men in Black movie with Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, then you’ll probably remember the line that Jones spoke to Smith in the middle of a Brooklyn neighborhood.

“There’s always a virus or the world’s about to be destroyed (or something like that . And the only reason we can get along is that we don’t know. We live in our own little world secure in the knowledge that nothing bad will ever happen.” And those of us that live the idea of WPV every single day are more aware of it than ever.

And one of the problems that business executives are in denial about. But of course they don’t care about security and the safety of their employees (except that it may cost them money and affect the bottom line). Whether they don’t care, their mind is somewhere else, or they only view security spending as a cost center and one that can’t possibly save or make the company money.

We have to stop denying that bad things can happen. As Americans we scream and yell about things we can’t possibly change by ourselves, like ISIS and illegal immigration. Yet we stay silent on a topic we can actually do something about. All because we want to deny the facts. Sometimes we act like 2-year-olds, just whine enough and mommy & daddy will make it all better.

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

Slaughter those Cows immediately!

Sacred cows. They are the bane of companies that wish to be competitive in today’s economy. Unfortunately, far too many of them still rely on them to conduct business. If you can’t get rid of those bovines, then you’ll never get out of your own way to be successful.

Sacred Cows, if you don’t know, are those things that every business states that they absolutely can’t do without. Or the fact that we’ve always done it that way and it works – never mind that it works against the customer and not for them. Or the all too famous ‘If we do that, then someone might get into trouble!’

Part of this is the customer ‘no’ service attitude that is so prevalent in the world today. ‘I can’t do that, but I’ll transfer you to… and maybe they can help you.’ After waiting for what seems like an interminable amount of time, you still haven’t gotten a resolution, someone who can take responsibility, or even a human to talk to you without spouting the innumerable platitudes those customer service reps, and security officers, are encouraged to offer as well.

This attitude is so prevalent because many companies don’t trust their employees to make an arrangement with customers without giving away too much. I agree that trusting a security officer to make a decision about something, in some respects, may not be the smartest thing to do, unless they’ve been properly trained, but how do you know until you try. That is a sacred cow that everyone can do without I believe, along with voice menu systems that drag on forever.

As a security company owner or even an employee or manager in a small business, you have to convince yourself or your bosses that the sacred cows need to be shot, butchered, and grilled for whatever holiday you decide to celebrate. Don’t just think of a good idea, run it through with your own analysis to see if it it’ll work! Don’t over analyze, but give it a read through. If it’s feasible then do it, especially if it’s out of-the-box, innovative, or creative.

Nothing in the business world, or life for that matter, is ever 100% guaranteed to be successful. I’ve made my share of bad decisions and mistakes. But if you are too scared to take the risk and get rid of those sacred cows then you’ll never be successful. And this also means that you can’t necessarily follow what others have done or even your industry association or organization. What works for one may not work for you.  Be prepared to plow your own field!

“It’s only stupid and a waste of money if it doesn’t work!”

In the security field, there are innumerable sets of best practices and guidelines on which you’re supposed to follow. The same holds true for the government, there is no latitude when it comes to changing something because it won’t work for your region of the country or what you need completed or accomplished. It’s follow the rules or be punished.

I’m not saying that issuing guidelines and regulations are not good things. The problem is those people, companies, & agencies that can’t, or won’t, see the problem with changing something that isn’t going to work. And so many times, they won’t even look at the problem with the people on the front lines to see those issues.

I’ve worked with many people in every single sector of the economy in my career. From hospitality (security, housekeeping, & front desk) to service (call centers, security, fast food, and others) to sales (coupon books and cars), not to mention the clients with all of the security companies I’ve labored for. Only one of them was progressive enough to allow any thinking outside the box to solve problems. Clients, co-workers, vendors, & managers all were set in their ways like a stubborn and bitter old man. They refused to change anything in their way of thinking because they ideas were the sacred cows of the organization and industry.

Far too many times, I discovered what worked in New York City doesn’t work in Mission Kansas. And what worked in Kansas City doesn’t work just down the road in Topeka. What worked in St. Joseph doesn’t necessarily work in Savannah or Maryville Missouri.

What the company, managers, and everybody else need’s to do is change the way they look at things. Just because it didn’t work 2 years ago, doesn’t mean it won’t work now. The world changes fast and we have to change with it or fail. That means tweak your ideas and start over at another time.

(Look for the 2nd half of this post next week)

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page,

here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues.

Is that bomb inside your business set to explode?-Part 2

Attempt to have a strategically placed third person around

This person shouldn’t be a friend or family member of the upset employee/customer. This person doesn’t have to be in the room with you, just in a place to observe any improprieties or threat. This is especially important if you’re dealing with a member of the opposite sex, some company’s require a third person when dealing with this type of situation.

This disinterested party is not there to take sides and shouldn’t. This doesn’t mean they can’t empathize. However they will provide documentation if any claims of harassment or intimidation is made later and ideally they should be a member of the same sex as the employee/customer. They can also act as back-up should it become necessary.

Use physical space as much as possible

No matter where this is taking place you want to stay at least an arm’s length away, preferably 2. This also applies to the initial counter person if it’s a customer. First it allows for an extra split second to react and secondly it doesn’t allow them to simply reach out and grab your clothes, facial hair, or throat. As with the front counter width, try to keep something between you and them, anything that can afford you a few extra milliseconds should it threaten to turn violent.

Another aspect of this is to always leave yourself with an escape route. While assaults are rare in this instance, you never know when you may need it. Try to always have your back to the door and/or hallway. And ensure that no sharp objects are within easy reach. Even pens and pencils should be avoided if possible.

Establish verbal boundaries by sticking to the issue.

As we spoke about earlier, don’t let this angry person goad you into losing your calm attitude by escalating the situation by swearing or questioning your parentage. Always speak authoritatively, softly, clearly, and slowly. While the individual be maligning your morals, character, and values, you must show that the issue can be resolved without resorting to verbal sparring.

Continue to ask questions that move the conversation along without too many track changes or distractions. But try to keep the focus on the issue at hand. Gauge the individual as best as you can and if appropriate, crack a few jokes and lighten the atmosphere.

If you feel the situation slipping out of control, step away.

You are not a verbal punching bag and it is natural for us to get upset and angry at someone when they are angry or upset and screaming at you. But, again, you must focus on the issue at hand and force yourself to keep a calm and cool exterior. Remember, that it’s not necessarily you they are mad at, you just happen to be the most convenient target at the moment they are upset.

However, if you feel the bile rising and your veins popping out of you neck, then excuse yourself and step outside. If you lose your cool, then they have won control of the situation. Walk about and count to 10. Do what you have to do to keep your cool. You may have to pull the third person out to consult with them or just get a drink (remember to offer something to the individual, even buying them a soda. Just don’t stay away for too long. The person will become angrier by the minute and that’s not something you need.

The key to these tips is let the antagonist believe that they are in control at all times. In reality you are in control and manipulating the situation to the advantage for both of you (possibly just the company). However, don’t let the individual feel like they are being patronized or misled – never lie. And above all any time that they display a weapon – of any type – or makes threats, do not hesitate to call either security or the police.  Specifically a statement such as ‘I’ve got a gun at home and I know how to use it’ could and should be considered a threat, remember Vester Flanagan in Roanoke Virginia on the 26th.

Another item you may wish to implement in these situations is a distress code. This code can be either a word or phrase to let others know that something is wrong and back up may be required. Just ensure that the code chosen is nothing used in every day conversations around the building. Make it simple to remember and unsubtle so the employee/customer doesn’t know what’s happened – but another staff member knows to call help ASAP.

As I have repeatedly said, WPV is a threat in any business anywhere, at any time, to anyone, for any reason. It has struck in businesses with as few as 5 employees and with multi-national corporations employing hundreds of thousands of people. But if you know the warning signs, know how to defuse these ticking bombs, train your security and line employees, and have a plan in place you can minimize the impact on the bottom lines for everyone concerned.

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or you can follow him on twitter at @robertsollars2

Workplace violence incidents for August

I have added an incident to the list from July, that I learned about last week;

Winter Haven, Fl. July 30                                       2w

July: 21  incidents    11 dead  41  wounded

Antioch, TN. August 5                    1d 3w

Gilbert, AZ. August 5                      1w

Barre, VT. August 7                         1d

Phoenix, August 8                           1d 1w

Phoenix, AZ. August 8                   1w

New York, NY August 11                               1w

Phoenix, AZ. August 12                 1w

Phoenix, AZ. August 14                 0

Phoenix, AZ. August 17                 0

Waddell, AZ. August 20 (school)               0

New York, NY. August 21              2d

New York, NY. August 23              1w

Lake Charles, LA. August 23         1d

Boston, MA. August 23                  0

Phoenix, AZ. August 24                 1w

Morgantown, WV. August 25 (school) 0

Philadelphia, PA. August 25        1d 1w

Roanoke, VA. August 26                               3d 1w

Sunset, LA. August 26                    2d 3w

Savannah, GA. August 27 (school)1d

Houston, TX. August 29                 1d

Phoenix, AZ. August 29                 1w

August: 22 incidents    14 dead  16 wounded

Total # of incidents: 121 Arizona 44

94 Dead     157 wounded