Monday, March 7, 2011

Be Cool or Freak Out

Business executives and the leaders of most other kinds of organizations are not exactly breaking down our doors wanting to know what they need to do to prevent crises or how to prepare to better manage the one’s they can’t avoid.

Here’s something to give them pause. Psychologist John Leach says when a random group of people find themselves in an emergency, such as a fire or natural disaster, 10-to-15 percent will consistently “freak out,” 10-to-20 percent will stay cool and composed and the rest will become “dazed and hesitant sheep.”

Another study says less than one-fifth of us will naturally react well in a crisis.

While doing research for his new book Nerve, Taylor Clark has concluded that many of us can overcome our predisposition to freak out or become dazed sheep through training! Who knew?

Psychologist Anders Ericsson says no matter whether you’re facing gun fire or an important presentation at work, practice under realistic conditions is a sure-fire way to get the best result.

What we’re talking about here is crisis planning AND crisis management practice. A table-top exercise a couple of times a year, using your crisis operations and communication plans will increase your odds of more successfully getting through the next real disruption.

Do you want to be one of those 20-percent that freak out, or 15-percent that stay cool?

There’s an old joke about a young person who stopped an old man on the street in New York City and asked him how to get to Carnegie Hall. His response, “Practice, Practice, Practice!

My response when asked how to survive a business or other organizational crisis, “Practice, Practice, Practice!”

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