January 8th marked the latest tragedy in our nation’s history, when a gunman opened fire at a meet-and-greet between Representative Gabrielle Giffords and her constituents outside a Tucson supermarket, killing six people and wounding 13 others. Many of us have been glued to the TV, the radio, and the Internet, trying to learn more about why this happened, what this means for our nation, and how it will impact our lives.
The effect of this tragedy on our nation, and particular in our political environment, was significant – it raised a number of questions about the tone of the nation’s political discourse, the issue of gun rights as well as the security measured offered to elected officials. More broadly though, I think we can all agree that the political environment in this country has become toxic. And nothing is worse for an organization’s productivity and effectiveness than toxicity.