Friday, February 4, 2011

A Lesson From Fort Hood

You and your organization – business, non-profit, college, university, healthcare facility, manufacturing plant or distribution center – are not immune from workplace violence.

You can ignore the threat, continually tell yourself “it will never happen here,” and go about your daily business in ignorant bliss.

Or, you can learn from all those examples that face us in the news almost every day.

A federal government report, just released, confirms what every expert has been saying for years.

The murder of 13 people and wounding of 32 more at Fort Hood, Texas in November 2009, “could have been, and should have been prevented,” according to Sen. Joseph Lieberman, (I-Conn).

Marc McElhaney, Ph.D., an Atlanta based expert on workplace violence says workplace violence is a process, not a sudden event. Our experience at the Institute for Crisis Management supports that conclusion.

Just because the Senate report is about an attack on an Army base, doesn’t mean management of any other kind of organization can ignore the findings or convince themselves it could never happen in our plant, campus or office.

There are two things every executive, administrator or business owner should do.

1. Learn the signs of developing workplace violence and educate all employees about their responsibility to pay attention to signs of change and behavioral problems with coworkers, AND then to share that concern with the appropriate person.

2. Develop a workplace violence crisis plan for the rare occasion when you can’t prevent an incident.

You can learn more about or contact Dr. McElhaney and his staff at for help with #1 above and the Institute for Crisis Management or for help with #2.

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