Chaos & Order


By Matt Penney, CAPP

The Chinese image of yin and yang is a curious sight.  Two bent raindrops, one black, one white, chase each other inside of a tight circle.  The image has symbolized numerous differing ideas, but almost always it points to a balance of dualities.

The news bombards us with stories of chaos.  It has become an artform of creating shocking titles and content that creates an emotional response.  The world contains very real and very tragic moments that are completely out of our control.  Chaos.

Order is the portion of life we have control of.  Usually mundane and not newsworthy.  Its intentional.  Order is saving for retirement, watching your calories, and having insurance.  It provides a buffer that can absorb the some of the chaos of life.

When it comes to the safety of employees, training may be one of the cheapest and most encompassing options for providing this buffer between them and chaos.  Developing an awareness of personal attitude, nonverbal communication, and techniques for de-escalation are not newsworthy.  But they can be very effective in changing an environment.

Please note, I am not in any way suggesting the idea that bad things do not happen to good/trained people.  Life can be tragic without the headlines.  What I am proposing is that training may provide one of the most effective balances of Order to Chaos.

Matt Penney, CAPP is director of parking & transportation services for Baylor University, and is an IPMI training specialist. He can be reached at

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