Prelude:This brief essay originated when, five months before 09-11-2001, we warned likely targets of a same-day coordinated terrorist attack in several U.S. locations before year’s end.
Response to our publicly circulated estimation and dire alert ranged from exclamations of “poppycock” to “you people have lost your minds!”
Immediately after multiple tragedies on November 11, 2001 a radio network representative notified member stations of our terrorism expertise. He suggested they interview us. During the next 48 hours we received 247 media as well as prospective client inquiries.
Business and institutional executives from more than two dozen states sought appointments to discuss prevention and response services that might be available to them. Press calls arived from as far away as Seoul, Korea and as near as our headquarters city. Overnight we ascended from lunatic status to a firm beyond the cutting edge.
Indeed, impressions do change quickly!
Offsetting worst case scenarios is, in the vernacular, any CEO’s or president’s or GM’s no-brainer duty.
How to fulfill this commitment requires meticulous expertise. Anything less is a waste of business dollars and leadership attention.
The smartest preventive measure offsetting potentially abundant operational disruptions, mishaps, and alarming complications affecting life, limb and infrastructure begins with a vulnerability assessment (VA).
Step one for thwarting or reducing tragic effects of terrorist attacks is a VA. The same holds true concerning active shooters, workplace violence in all forms, and even neighborhood serenity.
VAs are equally germane to crises, emergencies, public issue disputes, brand management and communication effectiveness. Any problem beyond the simple fits into idiosyncratic categories based on origin and requirement for attention. Any and all are why we’ve been globally active since 1968.
Depending on internal or external situations, vulnerability assessments divide into segments – – sometimes unrelated although usually correlated.
Choosing evaluators and ultimate planners to attenuate what has become a vast array of unwanted happenings follows a simple rule: Selection criteria should begin with backgrounding for experience plus demonstrated competence in one’s areas of concern.
Next is thoroughness of procedure; understanding actual rather than erroneously perceived essentials based on patron classification.
Cost-benefit quotients merit careful evaluation by anyone seeking an ideal professional provider.
Compatibility also enters the equation. Patrons must be informed forthrightly; mutual trust on both sides is paramount. Hence, they must be told what they need to hear rather than what they want to hear.
Enter Social Science
Social science enters the VA equation early. Never in the work we do or services our clients need, should scientific study of human behavior — individual or group – be dismissed.
Part of a VA, for instance, is based on understanding how, why, where and when (if possible) will react to a given situation at a given time. Another segment is the “what” question. Minus sifting through proper evidence leading to the most likely answers, crucial data won’t enter the process leading to acceptable strategic decisions.
Five Reasons Support and justify VAs:
- Security, policy, reputation, and cultural breaches are discovered.
- Threats and/or suspicious activities prompt summoning expertise within the parameters of what is believed susceptible to internal or external harm.
- Accepting the fact that preemption has long proven the adage of preparation and avoidance is far more valuable than response and remorse.
- A surprising episode isn’t necessarily the major event. New precautions deterring subsequent misfortunes must change because problems can be rerouted if manipulated antagonists. Threats, theft, sabotage and false rumors are examples.
- A succession of innocuous troubles eventually loom as harbingers of something calamitous.
Vulnerability assessments investigate, anticipate, calculate, and originate guidelines designed to counteract harm.
FSN consulting specialists prove best while offering distinctive qualifications from similar events, and who possess extensive knowledge about complications facing someone responsible for successful closure.
Why? Because they cut through the fog, quickly eliminating minutiae. Our specialists move aggressively toward sound decisions.
Independence advances plan development. Autonomous specialists aren’t burdened by internal influences.
Upfront Without Exception
Do VAs always prevent, dissuade, or provide for maximum protection against whatever might impede operations? Do VAs always ensure sound reputations, avert violence/terrorism, and guarantee immunity to complaints, threats, discord?
The honest answer is “no.” Neither is every operation or best-practice treatment successful. Nor will any ethical attorney guarantee a desired jury decision.
But retaining possessors of clearly defined talents, experiences and positive outcomes in most situations indicates one’s standards.
Minus such assessments, management openly – carelessly — invites “career-defining moments.” (We warn against career-defining moments elsewhere.)