Last Updated May 13, 2010 12:27 PM EDT
- The national spirit appreciated that, when you let terrorism disrupt life, terrorists win. Call this the Blitz spirit. The British had been attacked on their own soil before - and won. They were determined that this could and would happen again. It's important to create a culture of stoical pride, where getting back to work after each outrage is seen as a moral victory. Flinching and bathos aren't options. The perpetuation of ordinary life shows courage; there's much to be said for a stiff upper lip.
- Conduct fire drills. Just like the military, major targets and organizations need to do scenario planning, walking through exactly what would happen in the event of a bomb. If there's an incident, where does everyone go and how does work continue? Unlike those tedious Tuesday morning fire drills that everyone ignores, these have to be serious and everyone needs to take part. They should not be so frequent that they become trivialized.
- Redundancy is everything. Both data back up and communication systems all need more back up than most companies have. In these straitened economic times, it's tempting to cut back on Plan B and Plan C may already have been eliminated. Think again. In most businesses, data and communications are the life blood of commerce. Don't risk cutting them off.
- Hoard cash. Cash gives business the capacity to absorb pain and turbulence. Cash means you can give traumatized staff extra time off and counseling. Cash means you can rebuild fast. Cash buys you time. There are times when cash isn't so critical but right now it is.
- Expect babies. Nine months after 9/11, I knew a lot of companies decimated by male and female executives all taking time out for their first child. Disaster reminds us that we are mortal - and it's a human instinct to respond to with our only means of immortality: reproduction. Make sure you have succession plans in place for key executives and some redundancy built into to your staffing plans for the rest of the organization.