De-escalation Training and Strategic/Tactical Safety Planning

Creating the safest possible work environment requires a good deal of planning.  This planning process requires strategic planning, sound tactics, and a process to bridge between strategies and tactics.  While it’s beyond the scope of this blog to provide an extensive look at strategic and tactical planning, let’s take a simple look at how Mandt addresses these areas:

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning to reduce workplace violence and create a safer workplace culture requires looking at the big picture:

  • What is the mission of the organization?
  • What are the primary values of the organization?
  • In the context of a safer workplace, what changes would the leaders of the organization like to see in a year?  5 years? 10 years?

Tactical Decision Making

This is where the metaphorical tire meets the road. Tactics are the tools that are used in real time to prevent, de-escalate, and if needed, intervene with violence to stop it.  These are key concepts in crisis prevention. In the Mandt System, we propose the RADAR model to help staff members make good decisions in moments that can be quite stressful.  Staff members must Recognize that escalation is occurring.  Once it has been recognized, staff must Assess themselves, the escalating person (or people), and the environment.  After assessment, staff members must Decide what tactic to use and then Act in accordance with that decision.  It is then important for staff members to Review the results to determine if their action was effective.  If it was not, then the RADAR process is continued until an effective response is discovered.

Bridging between Strategic Planning and Tactics

The Mandt System advocates for a process of collecting data and then analyzing this data using the SODAS method (Boys Town Press).  This is an important part of the Mandt System’s conflict resolution training.  Once data is collected, an accurate Situation can be described. Various options should be considered, playing close attention to the Disadvantages and Advantages of each.  Preventative options, de-escalation options, and if needed, intervention options can all be explored.  The options that have the least disadvantages and the most advantages become the Solution.  This solution should have preventative tactics as the primary response, de-escalation tactics as a secondary response, and intervention tactics if needed.  These tactics become the go to responses that inform staff members when tactical decisions must be made.

John Windsor – Director of Technical Curricula 

Boys Town Press, from the book Tools for Teaching Social Skills in Schools, pages 189 to 195, copyright Father Flanagan’s Boys’ Home.

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