Digital Version of November/December 2014 Print Edition
ASIS 2011, ORLANDO – Bill Whitmore focuses at least one C-level suite on workplace violence
Workplace violence is not an intangible, amorphous subject to Bill Whitmore, the president and CEO of AlliedBarton Security Services, a company that employs more than 50,000 highly trained security personnel.
Whitmore recalls the tragic killing of an AlliedBarton employee in Florida, who was “assassinated” while working as a security guard at a gated community and refused to allow an enraged visitor to enter the community. He recalls numerous other instances -- most of them far more-benign – at the opposite end of the violence spectrum, where bullying, sexual harassment or low-level fighting took place. But in all cases, Whitmore regrets that his company -- and all companies -- haven’t taken sufficient steps to quell these senseless and unnecessary outbursts.
Over a lengthy career at AlliedBarton, Whitmore has also taken a special interest in corporate leadership, and the positive role that enlightened executives can play in allowing employees to reach their full potential as workers…and as human beings.
In recent months, these two interests of Whitmore – reducing workplace violence and empowering people to reach their full potential – have inspired him to write a book aimed at accomplishing both worthy goals.
The forthcoming book, titled Potential: Workplace Violence Prevention and Your Organizational Success, which will probably be published this fall, was introduced at the ASIS conference in Orlando, FL, and discussed by Whitmore at an informal luncheon with members of the media.
“Workplace violence is a day-to-day reality that cannot be ignored,” says Whitmore. “Every organization has to understand its fundamental dynamics, risks and costs to their business.”
To gain a better understanding of this festering aspect of the working world, Whitmore and his co-author surveyed members of the general public – as well as a smaller group of security professionals – about their views on this long-running subject. He said the finding that most surprised him was the general public’s widely-held perception that C-level executives in most large companies have very little concern about workplace violence that takes place within their own companies. He argues in his book – and told the assembled journalists – that it will take greater awareness, revised corporate policies and enhanced training programs to begin to root out this problem.
“It’s personal to me,” Whitmore told the group of editors, before recalling the instances in which outbursts of violence have touched his life. “I also love the whole topic of leadership and human potential.”
Most of all, Whitmore seems driven by a desire to tackle head-on this seemingly intractable problem. “The topic has been out there for year after year after year,” he lamented. “More has to be done.”
All profits from the book will be donated to non-profit organizations dedicated to eliminating workplace violence, says AlliedBarton.