Monday, March 12, 2012

It's Never Over 'til the Judge Sings

It's been five years since Seung-Hui Cho went on a killing rampage shooting 32 Virginia Tech students and faculty before killing himself.

And last week a jury was impaneled to hear testimony in a civil trial brought by parents of two victims.  The two families allege in their "wrongful death" lawsuit that Tech administrators were slow to alert students of the first killing on campus and their lawyers painted a picture of campus police as "plodding" and inexperienced.

In their opening statements the plaintiffs' attorneys criticized school administrators for waiting more than two hours before warning the campus a gunman had already killed two women and was thought to be still on campus.

I can't think of a better example of how a mismanaged "crisis" can haunt an organization and its leadership for years.

Doing the right things from the beginning is often difficult, but failing to do the right things from the beginning costs more and costs more for a long time.

If Tech had an operational crisis plan in place, and had practiced with it, and also had a communication plan and practiced with it, this month's lawsuits might never have been filed, and some if not most of the victims would not have died that day.

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