The NRA, Tim McGraw and the Sandy Hook Promise: A Message for Management

The other day I was on Facebook and under the Trending section was an article talking about the push for a boycott of the upcoming concert to benefit the group by the National Rife Association. This reported boycott was based on the assumption that the group was advocating stricter gun laws. But before I get to my concerns regarding this and its applicability to management, for those of you who don’t know what the Sandy Hook Promise is consider this.

Sandy Hook Promise is an organization that grew out of the tragedy of the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. If you visit their website you will find their promise which states that “Our hearts are broken; Our spirit is not. And it is with this knowledge that we are able to move forward with purpose and strength. This is a Promise To truly honor the lives lost by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation. This is a Promise To be open to all possibilities. There is no agenda other than to make our community and our nation a safer, better place. This is a Promise To have the conversations on ALL the issues Conversations where listening is as important as speaking. Conversations where even those with the most opposing views can debate in good will. This is a Promise To turn the conversation into actions. Things must change. This is the time. This is a Promise We make to our precious children. Because each child, every human life is filled with promise, and though we continue to be filled with unbearable pain we choose love, belief, and hope instead of anger. This is a Promise To do everything in our power to be remembered not as the town filled with grief and victims; but as the place where real change began. Our hearts are broken; Our spirit is not. This is our Promise The Sandy Hook Promise.” While they advocate a reduction in gun violence it is not truly centered in gun control laws.

What does this have to do with our organization and organizational management? I am not concerned with what side of the Sandy Hook Promise you are on. What does strike me as the immediate impact of the NRA effort is that they are coming across as the bully. They are coming across as the command and control entity. Either you believe as we do or don’t think at all. In those corporations where management has the same attitude they are coming across in the same manner.  Deming taught us that a key to improving our organizations is for the human capital assets to acquire the pride of workmanship. It anticipates that the human capital assets understand that the voice of the customer is best served when we deliver what they want without having to redo it because we did something wrong. If management’s view when provided the opportunity to improve our organization through an employee suggestion is “that is not the way we do things here,” management is no better than the NRA.

With out fail almost every day there is another story in the news about workplace violence whether it is in, a school, an office or a public building. It should not be the automatic response that we deny that there is room for discourse on solutions.  Management can’t be expected to become leaders rather than managers when they think and act like they are the only ones with the answers. We have an obligation as managers to provide a safe and secure workplace so that the Sandy Hooks do not happen again. So why turn off the discussion by calling for a boycott of ideas. So why turn off the discussion by claiming that is not the way our culture operates. So why turn off the discussion by demonstrating that the human capital asset is either not valid or even more danger is not needed.

It is the season for openly discussing what we need to do to make our workplaces secure. It is the season to think about the mission statement shown above form the people at Sandy Hook Promise. This morning as you are reading this enter the discussion and email us at and lets begin the dialogue about how we encourage the responsible discussion of how to make our organizations safer, better, more efficient and busting with pride of workmanship on the part of our human capital assets.

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