Thinking about Random Violence – Could It Happen at My Company?
You’ve got enough to worry about leading a business without bothering to waste mental energy on a fatal random act of violence that probably won’t occur at your workplace. You stay up at night pondering payroll, health insurance, succession, customers… not who you’ve so ticked off that he will try to knock you off.
But as one Vistage Chair told me, “It’s not a matter of if a horrible crisis will happen to my members’ businesses, it’s when it will happen.”
We’ve honored and memorialized the victims in the Charleston church shooting and moved on to Supreme Court rulings and presidential candidates.
But if churches are supposed to be safe havens, what does that make your office?
If you’re still thinking, “That could never happen at my company,” imagine these scenarios:
- An estranged couple is fighting over child custody. The soon-to-be ex-husband walks into your lobby and tells the receptionist, who recognizes him, that he’s simply there to pick up a document from his wife. When the wife enters the lobby, he pulls out a gun, shoots and kills not only the wife and the receptionist, but a client waiting to see you.
- One of your truck drivers has put a rainbow or a confederate flag sticker on his bumper without permission. Someone offended by his stance follows him into the parking lot and picks a fight. A few blows and broken bones later, you have a lawsuit against your company.
- An unhappy former employee lingers at the back door for her former supervisor to leave. When the supervisor emerges, the ex-worker fires a pistol and doesn’t miss at close range.
These are merely the kinds of physical violence you could face—now think about the other types of crises you might encounter: embezzlement, hacking, sexual harassment lawsuits, regulatory fines, explosions, tornadoes, machinery or technology failure and so on.
Preventive measures range from policies against certain behavior to security cameras. You can often pay less for prevention than you do after the damage occurs. For instance, last December, a morning meteorologist left his TV station near Waco, Texas, and was shot several times by a suspect with a semi-automatic handgun. Patrick Crawford returned to work, but a fence may have kept the shooter out of the parking lot. For months afterward, KCEN paid a security company $1,000 per day to keep a guard on the premises.
By allowing yourself to think about possible nightmare scenarios, you can begin to put together a plan that will protect your employees, your building, your investments and your customers.
Next: How to Communicate After the Random Violence (stay tuned)
Category: Performance Management / HR
Tags: crisis, Vistage International