I keep hearing people in denial everyday! Workplace Violence couldn’t happen here…we live in the Midwest! Workplace Violence couldn’t happen here…we are a small company! Workplace Violence couldn’t happen here…everybody at our company gets along!
Today, a client told me that her boss didn’t want me to refer to my work as workplace violence because he didn’t want to scare anyone and "they don’t have any violence in their state." He preferred me to call it "workplace safety and security." I am not attached personally to the titles of our programs and am happy to customize the title just as I customize our programs. What throws me for a loop is that any leader, in any state, in any business, that thinks their company is immune to workplace violence is in DENIAL and may be putting their organization at risk.
A couple of months ago I was reviewing a client's workplace violence policy and one of the suggestions that I made was to include the phrase “Weapons are not allowed on the premise or in the parking lot." The President of the company didn’t like my suggestion and said he would prefer “Weapons are not welcomed in our parking lot." Weapons are not welcomed! Really!? Not welcomed versus not allowed…which would you rather have in an employee's mind who is considering bring a gun to work? And what about your liability?
In the next couple weeks, I am presenting a Savvy Street Smart workshop for an association. One small company is sending 20 employees despite their boss being against the training. He claimed that they had no safety or security issues while at work. DENIAL! The men and women who are signed up obviously disagree with their boss.
Last night I watched an interview on Inside Edition where 23-year-old Britney Smith told Newsday.com that she has been close to the Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev since 2004. She said, "I believe Dzhokhar is a good person. He really is. There is not one person that can say anything bad about him. All these people they’ve talked to, he’s not a bad person at all…at all!"
Smith continued with, “I believe Dzhokhar is innocent. I don’t believe he did this. He’s such a good person. He really was." Britney Smith is in DENIAL in the face of the overwhelming evidence of Dzhokahar’s involvement.
I’m rarely in denial about safety issues but for a few years I was in denial about something that many women and men can identify with…my weight! I had several excuses - my metabolism has slowed down, it’s hard to get low calorie food when you are on the road, when I travel it is difficult to find time to exercise, etc. DENIAL! Once I was willing to own my responsibility I lost 30 pounds and have kept it off.
Denial is the refusal to admit the truth or see the reality. I’m convinced that if we get companies to open up and quit being in denial about safety and security issues, we will create safer less violent workplaces.
We are all in denial about something. What about you or your company? What are you in denial about?
Today we're sharing a guest blog from Lynne Reed to make you aware of the four types of burglars who are looking to steal from you and your loves ones. Thank you for the valuable info, Lynne!
Protecting Yourself from Home Theft
There are few types of burglars who prey on homes in the world today. Some of them do not take the time to change their identities while others go to great lengths to con their way into one's home. In this article we will share the four burglar types who can invade your home and how you can keep your family safe.
* The Opportunist
The opportunist will not really disguise his identity. Many times this type of burglar is a young kid or someone who just happens to be around to notice that he can gain access to a home for a quick grab and run of something of value.
By making sure that you never leave a gate, door or window open, this will close any opportunity that a passing burglar may use to gain access for a quick grab and run theft. Always remember to keep any items of value out of passing sight and not in reach of anyone who is looking for a quick score. Even things like your kids bikes or other expensive toys can be seen as valuable to these types of burglars.
* The Scouters
These burglars spend a little more time on the planning stage. Often this type of burglary includes more than one thief. Many times it is teenagers or those who are drug addicts or alcoholics looking for money to feed their next fix.
When they choose a home or apartment to break into, they will first test to see if there is an open door or window. If none is found, they will attempt to break in with a screwdriver, a rock, or even the heel of a shoe that will work to break a window. Once inside though, they will not spend very much time looking for things of great value. They will try to grab anything they see that looks like it may bring in some money and then hurry and get out.
Since scouters are do not have the resources for a big job good security measures like an alarm system and good locks will keep them away.
* The Prowlers
These types of burglars are the most dangerous of sorts. They may try to break into your home while you are gone away or they may disguise themselves as delivery men, meter readers, the cable guy, gas man, or any other type of worker who would be able to gain entry into a home for a legitimate reason.
These burglars spend the time to check into what security system is being used so they can attempt to bypass it without alarm. They also will plan an escape route. They will case the home to know exactly where the valuables are kept and the exact layout of the place so they can move around swiftly and with ease.
If they do not use deception to gain entry into a home while the people are still there, they will use proper lock picking tools so there is no noise when they enter. But these burglars know the time it takes for the police to get to places, so they are prepared to leave just in time.
Many of these types of burglars are also violent. They have no problem breaking into a home and beating up, tying up or even raping and killing members of the household if they are home or come home during the time that they are there. IF they have gained access through masquerading as a service man, they will more than likely use force to gain information for credit cards, bank accounts, passports or any other personal identity information that they could sell on the black market.
* The Professionals
These burglars are the most prepared. They have the best gear for breaking into vaults and other big security systems but they usually prey on commercial properties such as banks, factories, warehouses or wealthy estates.
Taking the time to install a quality security system within your home can save your family a lot of heartache and allow peace of mind whether you are either home or away. Teach your children to put their valuables away and to avoid opening the door to strangers and they too will learn how to stay safe and secure.
Safe Sound Family is a good place for all your security system devices required for home safety. The Safe Sound Family Blog will be a one stop site for all you look for.
During a recent presentation on workplace violence, we were discussing the number of strangers that gained access to my clients' building who were not wearing a name badge (which is required by all employees). I explained to the group that this is similar to physical piggybacking - When someone enters a secure area by passing through access control at the same time as an authorized person. Criminals use piggybacking to gain access to a prohibited area and employees use it when they forget their credentials or want to avoid a sign-in delay.
This company does not have key card access, but has all visitors sign in with the receptionist and be escorted to their destination. Some employees of this company fail to wear their badges as a part of their daily practice and their supervisors never seem to be concerned (or maybe they just don’t understand the security risk).
What came out in the discussion around this issue is that most employees are very uncomfortable approaching a stranger and asking them if they belong there. Their concerns were:
- I don’t want to make the other person feel badly, especially if they work here or at one of our company's other locations.
- I’d be embarrassed if I question someone and they actually have worked here longer than me.
- I’m not comfortable with confrontation – I don’t know what to say.
- I’m afraid of either offending someone or afraid that they may cause a scene.
What I found interesting was that the men in the room were just as uncomfortable as the women about approaching someone who doesn't have the proper credentials. An ongoing theme within all my presentations (which I especially drove home to this group) is that it's everyone's responsibility to keep the workplace safe.
Here were my suggestions for approaching a stranger or an unbadged person in the workplace. These tips will also work for someone who is attempting to piggyback into a secure area when there is key card access (like an apartment building).
First, reframe the situation in your mind. Instead of thinking of this as a confrontation think of it as an opportunity to meet someone. Approach the person with any of the following:
- “I see you're not wearing a badge – are you new around here?"
- “You look familiar to me but we haven’t met. My name is Sheila and I work in accounting. Where do you work?”
- “Hey, I think I’ve seen you before…Are you one of our vendors?”
- “Hi! Can I help you?”
If you are open and friendly when approaching someone you will likely get a positive response. And even if the person has worked at the company longer than you they will probably get a chuckle out of the situation. If you approach the situation in a confrontational manner or accusatory manner, people will get defensive, which can be uncomfortable and escalate quickly.
Call me today at (623) 242-8797 about customizing a workplace violence training for your managers and employees.
Most of you have already heard of the terrible tragedy yesterday in Phoenix, Arizona at a mediation hearing where Arthur Douglas Harmon shot 3 people after an altercation in the lobby. Harmon killed a CEO, Steve Singer, and we just received word that the lawyer Mark Hummels who is in critical condition is not expected to live. The third victim Nicole Hampton has non-life threatening injuries. Harmon was found dead earlier today of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
What was startling to me is that we knew of Harmon and his anger. In 2007 my stepson was involved in a very minor car accident where he stopped at a red light and accidently let up on the break so his vehicle barely touched Harmon’s vehicle. My stepson took full ownership of the situation but was extremely surprised by the amount of anger shown by Harmon.
Harmon decided to sue and attempted to get money for other damage to his car that was from a previous accident. Through the litigation process Harmon continued to show constant, irrational anger and disrespect to my stepson as well as the lawyers and staff in the law offices. So much so that everyone in the law firm representing my stepson were nervous and concerned about Mr. Harmon. My stepson said he was scared of Harmon and felt extremely uncomfortable sitting in the room with him during the mediation. His mediation was similar to yesterday's mediation, but had a very different outcome.
WATCH MY INTERVIEW from this morning with 12News where we chat a little about what could have been done.
Our deepest sympathies go out to the families of the victims.
On May 3, 1994 Senior Constable Derrick McManus, member of the elite SA Police Special Task and Rescue (STAR) Group, was shot 14 times with a high powered, semi-automatic rifle in less than 60 seconds. He returned fire and found protection but with broken bones and severed arteries he was lying bleeding to death for three hours before he could be rescued. Incredibly, he survived this horrific shooting.
This incident turned into South Australia’s longest siege in history – 42 hours and 2000 rounds of ammunition between offender and police.
Grab yourself a cup of coffee and listen to my interview with Derrick. His powerful story of how he prepared for the possibility of being shot and how he eventually returned to full time duty is fascinating!
Audio Interview with Derrick McManus
Derrick McManus runs a speaking and seminar business in Australia and will be speaking in San Jose, CA in early March. His story is an inspiration of what can be achieved by sheer guts and setting achievable goals. It also highlights the part that belief in self and attitude play in achieving results and in the condition of human spirit. If you are interested in bringing Derrick to your company or next meeting please connect with him personally at email@example.com.
Do you and your company follow protocol in a disaster? Do you have up-to-date policies and procedures for your employees to follow in the event of an emergency? The emergency could be a natural disaster like the recent Hurricane Sandy, a deadly workplace violence shooting, a fire, or a medical emergency.
Procedures and protocol are put into place in order to keep people safe, but also to help people make the smart choice when caught in the middle of a disaster they are not prepared for (or have never even thought of).
Lately I have given several seminars where I asked the participants about their policies and procedures around workplace violence and at least half the audience admitted to not being aware of their company policy or procedures. What frightens me most is that all the audiences that I am referencing were filled with people in a leadership role at their companies.
From a liability standpoint it is imperative that we give employees instructions on what to do in the event of an emergency. From a moral standpoint companies should feel obligated to keep their employees safe.
When disaster strikes, panic hits and emotions are bursting. We depend on policies, procedures and protocols to safely remove us from danger.
The link below is an interesting story about FDNY Medics who want the EMS Chief fired claiming he mismanaged the response to Superstorm Sandy. According to their claims, many ambulances were underwater and medics were left stranded on roof tops - all because FDNY failed to follow its own hurricane plan.
I personally have no inside information on this situation and there may be more to this story than what is being reported. It is a great example of what can go wrong when policies, procedures and protocols are not followed.
Read the full story: http://www.emsworld.com/news/10833434/fdny-medics-want-ems-chief-fired-for-storm-fiasco
Do you have an effective workplace violence policy that your employees understand and follow? If you don't, or need to revamp your current policy, email me today at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you dreading one more holiday with your extended family? You already know that your Mom is going to badger you about why you aren’t married yet? Or, that your mother in-law will treat you like you aren’t good enough for her son? Or maybe it’s Uncle Bill and his awful comments because he has had too much to drink. Everyone has their family issues and conflict stories….you aren't alone.
Here are a few tips to get through the holidays without engaging in arguments and conflict.
1. Be Prepared for Some Conflict
If you usually have conflict when you get together with your family, it's a good idea to be prepared for it. Approach the situation with a sense of realism. If your mother always criticizes your appearance or your sister is argumentative, don't expect them to change their habits. Prepare yourself ahead of time by teaching yourself to stay NEUTRAL and avoid taking their comments personally.
2. Accept the Reality of Who People Really Are
When dealing with difficult people, don’t attempt to change the other person. You will only get into a power struggle that causes defensiveness and invites criticism. The only person we can change is ourselves so if you display good behavior, others may well follow your lead. Besides, you will also teach the younger generation how to behave in similar situations.
3. Keep Conversations Neutral
Avoid discussing divisive and personal issues, like religion and politics, or other issues that tend to cause conflict. If the other person tries to engage you in a discussion that will probably become an argument, change the subject or leave the room. Change your response to the other person and you will change the dynamic of the relationship.
4. Pick your Battles
When potential conflict appears, we get to decide whether we will "let it go" or whether we need to deal with it immediately. In most instances our emotional side wants to deal with the issue immediately, but I urge you to step back for a few seconds before engaging. Take time to decide if you really need to have this family battle right NOW. If possible have the difficult conversation with a family member at a later time. Abusive behavior should not be tolerated at any time so do your part to keep things from neutral to positive. Should someone become abusive to you, draw boundaries and if it continues then you know it is time to leave no matter what other family members say.
5. Know your limits
It is okay to limit your time around family members who make you want to pull your hair out or upset you so much that you want to scream at them. Know your realistic limits and be sure to stick to them so that they don’t get on your nerves so much that you end up starting conflict. It is okay to only spend 2 or 3 hours with the family rather than a whole day.
You can even set up a signal or keyword with a trusted family member when you need to be “rescued." This can be extremely handy when you are stuck in a conversation with a confrontational or judgmental relative that is hitting all your buttons. Your family member can run interference before the conversation turns ugly.
Establish realistic expectations whether you are hosting the holiday get together or visiting someone else’s home. Be mindful of the family dynamics and be proactive about how you are going to deal with potential issues.
And most important, BE GRATEFUL! Make a list of each family member who will attend and beside their name write down one or two reasons why you are grateful to have them in your life. Gratitude has a positive impact on your emotional health and it reduces stress. Gratitude will create a different mindset and context for your family holiday.
From all of us at Violence Free, we wish you Happy Holidays filled with love and abundance!
Contact me to get a "Workplace Violence" or "Managing Angry Employees and Customers" Training on the calendar in 2013. It will be the best post-holiday gift you can give your employees! Email email@example.com or call (623) 242-8797.
Veterans Day (USA) and Remembrance Day (Canada and commonwealth countries) is a day that honors all veterans both living and dead. It is a special day to say thank you to veterans for their dedicated and loyal service to their country. I deeply appreciate the sacrifices they have made to keep our countries free.
I have several family members and many friends who have served both in Canada and the United States and my heart is full of pride when I think of them.
My heart also goes out to the veterans who have returned from war and been unable to find employment or who have fallen against hard times. So this week I am honoring our veterans by buying meals for those vets who are homeless. If this idea touches your heart, please join me in buying a vet a meal.
My dear friend Rich DiGirolamo runs the world’s only virtual diner and he has agreed to help me serve up lunch or dinner for vets. If you enter "homeless vet" under the beneficiary’s name, Rich has promised me that 100% of all the donations marked “homeless vet” will be donated to a soup kitchen that proudly serves veterans. http://www.onelessmeal.org/leave-a-tip/
To all of you who have served our countries, I extend a virtual handshake and a very big "Thank you!" for your service. You are a true hero!
Here's Duane with some people you might recognize who were thanking soldiers.
Let me give you a scenario: One of your employees has obtained an order of protection/restraining order due to a domestic violence situation. I have 2 questions for you. First, would they know that it's necessary to notify HR and security of their domestic situation? And second, does your organization have a culture where this employee would feel comfortable and supported in sharing this very personal (and what they may find to be embarrassing) information?
When a person comes into a workplace with a loaded weapon and has the intention to harm their spouse, partner, ex-spouse, etc., they kill (on average) 3-5 innocent bystanders. If your employee felt comfortable enough to share their situation with you, would your company take precautions, take steps to increase security maybe even offer to relocate the employee to another office until their domestic situation was under control? As an employer you can’t change anything or offer additional protection if you are unaware of a threat.
Here is a recent domestic violence situation that ended in tragic act of workplace violence: http://www.startribune.com/local/175221101.html?refer=y
As we wrap up National Domestic Violence Month, I want to share some statistics regarding the epidemic.
Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten
Every day 3 women are murdered by their husbands/boyfriends
Domestic violence victims lose nearly 8 million days of paid work—the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs
If the culture of your company doesn’t encourage victims of domestic violence to report their situations then you are increasing the risk of danger for all employees. If there is a domestic violence situation, you need to be aware and prepared for it in order to keep all your employees safe.
Check out this article and TV spot where I was interviewed as a result of the most deadly workplace shooting in Minneapolis's history. This really hit home being that I lived in the Twin Cities for 14 years and Duane was born and raised there.
TwinCities.com - http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_21655126/minneapolis-shooting-is-deadliest-incident-workplace-violence-minnesotas
KARE11.com - http://www.kare11.com/news/article/993384/396/Violence-Free-founder-talks-about-preventing-workplace-tragedies