We swallow greedily any lie that flatters us, but we sip only little by little at a truth we find bitter. Denis Diderot
“The bitterest truth is better than the sweetest lie”
Written by Robert D. Sollars
The title of this post comes from the movie Men in Black 3. And while you may not think that a quote from a humorous sci-fi movie applies to security, you’re wrong with workplace/school (WPV/SV). Especially when it comes to lying to yourselves, employees, and literally anyone who enters the facility or grounds of the organization.
Even after the recent incidents of fatal violence in organizations, they are still reluctant to admit/believe that they are at risk for a violent incident. OR, they believe, wrongly, that they are prepared and that everything is perfectly safe and secure. No problems that they can see! They are telling themselves that, knowing down deep inside their gut that it’s a lie, even being a very sweet one, because it allows them to concentrate on other items of the organization, such as the bottom line, staffing, maintaining educational standards, cleanliness, etc. not spending financial resources on such a remote possibility and utter nonsense.
They can spend their financial resources on growing the organization, finding a new office/retail space, more inventory for sale, advertising, or hiring more staff. They don’t have to waste it on worrying about security & their safety/security. It’s a perfect lie to tell themselves.
Yet, the underlying result is that it is still just a lie. And so many who perceive themselves to be visionary and see troubles on the horizon would rather tell themselves that “It Can’t Happen Here.” Lie, then accept the bitter truth about the chaos & mayhem it can cause. WPV/SV does exist and can strike, using the phrase I developed years ago, anyone, at anytime, anywhere, for any reason.
It can be a very bitter truth, almost nauseating at times, like swallowing dead slugs on a tic-tok challenge, to accept this reality. Because when they do, they open themselves up to innumerable issues that they simply don’t want to face, insurance & liability costs, & other such waste of resources, which can be innumerable in their own right.
Worse yet, they don’t know anything about the violence issue, pretending they do, and, just like a 2-year-old, they think they can cover their eyes to hide from it and therefore avoid any lasting bad monsters or influences. If you don’t confront it and acknowledge it then it isn’t real!
As security professionals, we know for an absolute fact & certainty that WPV/SV is real, and can happen, not to mention a myriad of other security issues. Computer hacking, employees losing their devices with company secrets on them, theft, fraud, and the list goes on and on and on…
So, in order to get the C-suite to buy in, as well as line managers and employees, we need to do a much better job, outstanding and flattering if nothing else, in getting them to accept the bitter truths of WPV/SV, as sickening as they may be, to logical sensible people. And that’s not always the easiest thing for us to do, because of their denials of the actual issue and the possibility of it occurring.
I would still recommend the shock method of attempting to get the resources to secure the facility, organization, & employees. Show the executives what can happen IF they do nothing & allow it to happen…in many cases without even preparing a perfunctory plan to prevent mayhem, chaos, death, & trauma to many individuals who may be friends, family, or just long-time employees or favored students.
“It can’t happen here”. From a financial resource, liability, publicity, & the myriad of other things that will happen if they don’t acknowledge the issue…then try to prevent it, or at the very least, be moving in that direction.
One way to get your point across in a meeting with top management, C-Suiters, is to do what I do when conducting a workshop. With their eyes closed and imagining a gentle spring day, sun shining, breezes blowing, birds chirping, and…slam a book or your hand on the table. If that overly-dramatic demonstration doesn’t get their attention…then nothing will.
Will the executives like what you tell them, especially with the financial expenditures? More than likely, NO! Will the employees like it when the security protocols are rolled out and their ‘freedoms’ are limited even further by the Barney Fife’s of the world? Absolutely, definitely, positively NOT!
So, along with police officers trying to get the wrong way/drunk/high drivers off the road and the military attempting to stop extremists & terrorist attacks at home, we have just as a critical task. We have to assist the military, police, & others when it comes to protecting the people in the facility we’ve been granted to protect.
The bitter truth of all of this is that it will be necessary to restrict and not allow as many things into the facility as before. And because of that we can’t sugarcoat and tell a sweet lie to anyone that we are trying to protect.
Security professionals are the ones who are bringing the nasty-tasting dead slugs to everyone in the facility & organization. We are the people pouring castor oil into the throats of kids from an old outdated idea. We are the evil ones who seek to do nothing but hinder the freedoms of the people we’re charged to protect and not let them do the jobs they were intended to do.
In this era of a terrorist/criminals around and hiding in every corner to harm the people we’re charged to protect, we must be the ones to bring about the bitter truth to our employers, clients, or students. They tell themselves the lies, while we work diligently in the background to ensure that another bitter truth won’t annoy or hinder their growth.
The truth is that they are at risk and could face financial ruin. And that ruin comes from lost property, assets, and more importantly the lives of people inside the facility, business, or educational institution. What may be worse is that the C-suite has to deal with, and fortunately, we mostly don’t, most times, the questioning look in a child’s eyes when they ask “Why isn’t mommy or daddy, or siblings, grand-parents, or playmates, not coming home anymore?”
Which one of us wants to deal with that? I sure as hell don’t and will gladly put that on the backs of the idiot executives to wrangle with…not a grief counselor, priest, or anyone else…the executive themselves. Let them explain why they could have, but did nothing to try and prevent a tragedy.
It happens to Anyone…Any Time…Anywhere…For any Reason
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It happens to Anyone…Any Time…Anywhere… For any Reason
I May Be Blind, but My Vision Is Crystal Clear
Copyright 2023 Robert D. Sollars