|Can’t See The Forest For The Trees|
|By Joe Bouchard|
Idioms provide wonderful expressions that explain common human behaviors. For example, “Can’t see the forest for the trees” means someone who does not always see the larger perspective because they are focused on the minutiae. I believe that all of us at one time or another in our career can’t see the forest for the trees.
Still, detail-oriented staff help keep our facilities safe. They pinpoint problems in operation through intense scrutiny. They find little anomalies that are really the tip of the iceberg of larger perils. Without meticulous colleagues, many dangers can be overlooked.
Sometimes, though, certain details are not the crucial points. In other words, too much focus can be poured into the wrong vessel. For example, let us suppose that staff routinely perform thorough searches of meal trays as they leave the preparation area. Noting this attention to a specific area, enterprising inmates may secure contraband to the bottom of the carts that carry the meals.
When something like this is discovered, we engage in blaming others for inattention to other details when we should look at the process. That is also a case of focusing on the trees and not really seeing the forest. When staff honestly do not consider a hiding place, the point is to build a more effective search team. The point is not to point fingers at individuals.
In looking at the tangled, twisted forest that is contraband control, how do we find the right trees? Do we have the scope to assess the entire forest? Are there strategies to enhance safety through more meaningful searches? Here are a few thoughts:
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