Saturday, August 23, 2008

Crisis Management Students

Years back, while teaching crisis management workshops, I often noticed two seemingly odd responses.

The first was that a sizable number of people have difficulty even imagining crisis scenarios. This is perplexing for those of us who easily cough up worst cases. Some folks, however, are so optimistically inclined (or imagination-limited) the idea that something can go terribly wrong is foreign to their very nature. Although I value the ability to spot potential problems, this sunny disposition can give its owners an advantage. They may move more boldly than those of us who see the shadows.

The second response came from students who had difficulty drawing lessons from one scenario and using them in another. To those individuals, each case example stood and remained by itself, with no links, and they justly noted the drawbacks of too quickly seeing parallels. Their inability to see similarities, however, went to the opposite extreme with its own limitations.

I've kept both responses in mind over the years whenever considering a potential crisis and have asked, "What if this is one of those occasions when those students are correct?"

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