Prelude: This brief essay originated when, five months before 09-11-2001, we warned of a same-day coordinated terrorist attack in several U.S. locations before year’s end.
Response to our publicly circulated estimation and dire message ranged from assertions of lunacy to foolishness — ignorance to absurdity.
Immediately after multiple tragedies on November 11, 2001 a major radio network representative notified member stations of our terrorism expertise and suggested they interview us. During the next 48 hours we received 247 press and prospective client inquiries for comments. Business leaders sought appointments to discuss Foresee Now services. Calls came from as far away as Seoul, Korea and as near as our headquarters city. Indeed, impressions do change quickly!
Offsetting worst case scenarios is, in the vernacular, a key executive’s no-brainer duty.
How to fulfill this commitment requires meticulous expertise. Otherwise, waste dominates what should become the wisest preventive measure offsetting potentially abundant operational disruptions, mishaps, and alarming complications.
Each problem beyond the ordinary fits into idiosyncratic categories based on origin and requirement for attention. Yes, indeed, these classifications represent our concentrations.
The wisest preventive measure offsetting crises, emergencies, formidable public issues, violence, whether terrorism or in the workplace, each threatening brands and reputations, is a comprehensive vulnerability assessment.
Depending on internal or external situations, vulnerability assessments are divided into segments – – sometimes unrelated but usually correlated.
Choosing evaluators and ultimate planners to attenuate what has become a vast array of unwanted happenings begins with one rule: Consultant selection criteria should begin with backgrounding for experience plus demonstrated competence in one’s areas of concern.
Next is thoroughness of procedure followed by understanding actual, rather than erroneously perceived essentials based on patron classification.
Cost-benefit quotients merit careful evaluation by management seeking an ideal professional provider. Compatibility also enters the equation. Clients must be informed forthrightly in this matter where mutual trust on both sides endures tip to toe. In other words, they must be told what they need to hear rather than what they want to hear.
Five reasons typically instigate and justify vulnerability assessments.
- 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 being far more valuable than response and remorse.
- An unfortunate episode occurs mandating new precautions deterring subsequent misfortunes.
- A succession of seemingly insignificant troubles eventually loom as harbingers of something calamitous.
Vulnerability assessments investigate, anticipate, calculate, and originate guidelines designed to counteract harm. Specialists offering distinctive qualifications through dealings with similar circumstances, and who possess extensive knowledge about complications facing someone responsible for successful closure, nearly always prove best.
Why? Because they cut through the fog, quickly eliminating minutiae while moving aggressively toward sound decisions
Independence advances development. Autonomous specialists aren’t burdened by internal influences. The patron is assisted at peak capabilities under these conditions.
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, or to whether or not communications cause controversies?
The honest answer is “no.” But without such assessments management openly – carelessly — invites “career-defining moments,” which we warn about elsewhere.