Several news stations, including MSNBC and NPR, have suggested that the recent massacre and internal terrorist attack, at Fort Hood could have been prevented, but for “political correctness”.
A Key official on a Walter Reed review committee reportedly asked, “How might it look to terminate a key resident who happened to be Muslim”? He was of course alluding to the fact that the Army employee could have cried discrimination, if he felt he was being treated differently due to his religious affiliation, had he been disciplined.
Do you remember how you felt when you watched the second world trade tower struck, yet again, by a second plane?
I remember thinking it was surreal, I know I couldn’t believe it was happening and that beyond that, I was watching it live on television. There was no thought about political correctness. As the minutes inched by, second by second, people were silent – the air above, also eerily quiet.
The pentagon was hit, and then another plane came down in Pennsylvania. There was no employee productivity that day. In the aftermath, separately and independently, we went through the stages of grief:
With acceptance, came a resolution. A vow that if we were on a plane, and it was attacked by terrorists, we would fight back. We made a new vow to strive to know our neighbors better. We promised ourselves that if we felt threatened by someone who was different, we would make an effort to get to know them so that we would not be accused of racial profiling. That was the beginning of a discourse of its own separate accord. That lead down a path to political correctness, and here we are once again, grieving.
“Does the Army have a formal process to measure employee productivity?”, I ask. “If they did, this shouldn’t be an issue.”
Having worked in the corporate world for a Fortune 100 company, I know that there are various types of software programs that can provide managers with reports that provide a pretty complex pardon the insinuation, “big brother” report, by employee, by workgroup or by overall average statistics. Employers can simply set a baseline, including minimum and maximum tolerances, and the stage is set.
Typically these software programs like Activtrak can provide data on network usage; web sites surfed and amount of time spent on each link; email statistics such as subject lines, to whom, from whom and by date; instant messaging by key words; reports by file download name, date or file size; streaming video by file name, size and date, and other network maintenance activities including browser history, and file clean-up activities.
From a Public Relations perspective, University of Phoenix Global Management students are taught to remember Ben Franklin’s words “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
Surely the Army has a pro-active standard method to define an acceptable baseline for employee correspondence, and then has a method to track and report against these requirements. As corporate America does, so we should expect the government to also have a pro-active disciplinary approach to those employees who fall below the baseline. The words political correctness should not even come into play.
Bi-annual performance reviews, supervisor mentor sessions and annual salary evaluations are the time to call employees to task as well as reward them for meeting the plan.
In my opinion, the term “political correctness” is a poor excuse for someone not doing their job. A person’s race, their culture, language, gender, or physical capability should not play into the decision of competency. The Army has a responsibility to be proactive and prevent life threatening, litigious and disenchanting situations such as this internal terrorist attack, at Fort Hood, TX, from occurring.
With clear rules, there ought to be a visible measurement system. And when and if there are infractions, there must be a transparent, direct path to discipline and accountability. There is no room for political correctness in the government when employee productivity and the Army’s reputation, is at stake. We should not be grieving again. We must establish more rigorous controls.