In the realm of workplace violence and policy development, there is a problem that is both preventing companies and their employees from being safe, causing policy and procedures to miss the mark, and resulting in damage, financial loss, and even the loss of life.

What I mean is that, managers and administrators focus most of their time, either in denial about the problem of workplace violence or the possibility of it occurring in their business, or creating more policies related to prevention and reporting. Meanwhile, they are creating or, more to the point, “allowing” a gap to exist within their overall workplace violence and crisis management plan that leaves themselves, their employees, and the company, as a whole, completely unprepared for actual physical violence.

If you are to be able to escape from or survive an actual act of violence, you must first accept that violence exists AND can touch you. Living in denial or under the delusion that you are somehow invisible or impervious to danger – that you are the one exception in the whole human race that can’t or won’t be targeted by another irrational human being or other natural disaster will only leave you paralyzed in fear when something happens. Violence first phase of an overall 8-phase strategic formula for safety and self-protection that I teach my clients is called General Awareness.

In this phase, we consider not only the fact that danger exists, but what forms it could take and the types of attackers you could encounter. Violence information allows you to seek out exactly the types of self defense training, tactics, and techniques that would work to de-escalate, escape from or defend against an attack if and when it does come at you. Remember, violence is random. It can happen in any business, and at any time. And when it does, you are either prepared for it, or not.

But, I digress. Violence information that we gather in the “General Awareness” phase of our plan is absolutely useless in the moment of an attack. Because, in the moment when pure, unadulterated and uncivilized brutality is being thrown at you, the only thing that matters is quick, decisive, and pre-planned action. Violence is true in emergency situations where medical professionals are trying to save lives. It’s true when a company has a crisis where massive amounts of money are being lost and the company’s future is at stake. And, it’s true when you are face-to-face with a violence aggressor trying to beat, break or kill you on the job!

Violence type of thinking – the “why is this happening?” and “why would this person do such a thing?” mentality, instead of taking action is not what’s important during an attack. Violence reminds me of an old story about a warrior who was shot with an arrow. Before he would let anyone take the arrow out of him.

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