Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Retaliatory Workplace Violence

Can it happen on your watch?

As a CEO, violence in the workplace is something we hope to never, ever face. However, here’s the fact: Retaliatory Workplace Violence (RWV) is on the rise and no industry is immune.

Retaliatory Workplace Violence can happen in any workplace. It can happen in factory settings, administrative offices or parking lots. And sadly, it can happen in schools and on college campuses, just as it did on Friday, January 12, on the campus of the University of Alabama Huntsville when professor Amy Bishop walked into a staff meeting and began firing.

While at first this may have seemed like a random occurrence, the story quickly unfolded to prove otherwise. Bishop was unhappy that she’d been denied tenure. She had a sad and very unfortunate background with offenses dating back at least 24 years. Unfortunate, because apparently a lot of people saw the warning signs and just let it go.

Can it happen on your watch? The answer is, yes, it can.

So what can you do to prevent this? For the answer, we turned to our client, American Behavioral Benefits Managers,, and their expert in Critical Issue Stress Management (CSIM), Sandy Capps, MA.

Capps’ recommendation: Watch for the small stuff. Attendance, performance and conduct is a good place to start, as is noting one who constantly touts education and intelligence… click here to read the entire article by reporter Patricia C. McCarter, for The Huntsville Times.

Watch Panorama Crisis 911 for more on this subject soon.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

When Great Brands are Represented by Bad People

Have you ever been involved in a business transaction where you said to yourself, “if this is how this company operates I would never do business here?”

I loved my BMW X5 SUV and hated when my lease time was over. It was a fabulous vehicle and my second BMW in five years. I loved the panoramic moon roof and not just because the name of our company is Panorama—although, I must admit it was one of the “seal the deal” thoughts I had just before I told my salesman that it was THE ONE.

And under normal conditions, when I returned it in December, I would have turned right back around and leased or purchased another. But I couldn’t. My business partner threatened me with mutiny if I even considered it, and frankly I couldn’t have agreed with her more.

Why? Because our firm worked with this particular dealership on a RTW, or as we know it a “Register to Win,” and the general manager with whom we dealt was totally unprofessional. I could not morally turn around and add value to his bottom line after the behavior he exhibited during the time of the RTW negotiation and program.

As I’d sit across the table listening to this guy rant and rave, I’d think to myself—he knows I’m a customer. He must know that how he behaves in front of customers and prospects is directly related to this dealership’s reputation and whether they purchase a vehicle from him. I’d taken my best client to BMW for a win-win business deal because I loved the brand and wanted to bring it recognition and more business. That didn’t happen.

To make matters worse, the VP of the well-known retailer we were working for was new to the area, could have easily purchased any vehicle in his showroom and actually made a comment to that effect—at first. Her tune had changed by the time the deal was done.

Personally, I didn’t care if I ever stepped back into his place of business—beloved BMW or not. I wasn’t going to reward that sort of behavior.

My point is this: companies spend millions upon millions of dollars to build brand equity and awareness to capture market share. They strive to create stellar images of products and services to compete in the marketplace and that fill the needs and desires of the consumer, carefully crafting messages and managing minute details of every aspect.

But one never knows how much business is lost because of the one-on-one human factor where transactions must occur in a professional manner.

Companies, ours included, depend on our employees and contractors to represent us in a manner that reflects the positive nature of our companies, helping us protect our brand.

The general manager of the BMW dealership not only acted out, he put it in writing. Nearing the close of the deal, I guess he just couldn’t take it any longer. He sent an email to our client and copied everyone imaginable, ranting and raving.

By that point, we were all past ready for that project to be over.

When I turned in my X5, my salesman at BMW begged me (I may have seen tears) to send the email to the corporate office, and I probably should have. I have a feeling that BMW USA would have been terribly disappointed in a person that they had put enormous trust in to represent it. And come to think of it, I’d probably still be driving a BMW.