When Things Go Wrong, COMPLAIN!

I generally encourage people to lower their voices and think before they speak – perhaps to not speak at all – it makes for more reasoned communication.  But there is one area that I personally violate that rule – when things go wrong.  And when things go wrong, I […]

You’re Goin’ to Lose – with Harrassment

I still remember the day in 1978 when every male staff member was ordered to the auditorium at the US Naval Nuclear Power School in Orlando, FL.  None knew why but the order was specific – every male staff member NOW.

After we all assembled, we came to attention when […]

Emergency Preparedness – Part 2

In part 1, we discussed the five possible actions that either must be done or can be done to minimize the loss from an emergency.  In this post, we are going to examine what is arguably the most important step of all – planning.

There is a lot of information […]

Emergency Preparedness – Part 1

I have been involved with the Boy Scouts since 1978 – I bought a canoe and one of my best friends, who was a scoutmaster, started inviting me to all the camp outs.  One aspect of Scouting was always planning what to do in case of an emergency.  The […]

Sheep, Wolves, Sheepdogs – and Mad Dogs

Shortly after 9/11, my son sent me a link to an blog post entitled On Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs which described the general population as comprised of sheep (peace-loving, productive people); wolves (evil people) and sheepdogs (people who are capable of aggression in order to protect others). It’s an […]

The #1 Mistake Business Owners Make

This question came from Sara

You could ask 30 different business people and likely get 30 different answers to this question – reflecting personal experiences of the business people you ask.

Ultimately, the biggest mistake comes down to a very simple concept – making decisions without understanding

The consequences of the decision […]

Absolutely Do This Before You Open a New Business Location

This is a question we received at the Spokane Ask Me Anything sponsored by the National Association of Women Business Owners held June 12, 2014.

When a company looks to open another branch or location, what are the most common pitfalls you see?

When making any significant change to a business […]

How to Stop Being So Busy and Start Helping People

“I’ve stopped trying to read three newspapers before sunrise. And yet, I somehow feel more knowledgeable. Perhaps because I’ve finally awakened to the world around me and all it was trying to offer.”-Erica HillA few months ago, I stopped by my favorite sushi joint to grab some dinner. A […]

Warning Signs

We last spoke of the need to ask questions instead of always making assumptions – it leads to less error and lower risk.  But how do you identify when someone is making an assumption?  Here’s a few markers to help you tell when assumptions are being made: Genius […]

Chevron, Fracking, and Free Pizza: Inspiring Confidence in a Crisis

It has all the makings for a blockbuster movie. Just image:
An earnest young engineer (played by a beefy, Chris Hemsworth-type) arrives in an idyllic rural Pennsylvania town determined to introduce the modern wonder that is fracking to the locals. It’ll revive the town’s fortunes! he swears.

A sincere young geologist […]

Email & Micro-transitions: The Stress and Time Saving Secret

When I meet an overwhelmed entrepreneur, the first thing I look for is e-mail backlog. E-mail is most people’s first resort for communication, and – like paper mail – most people have crappy systems for handling it. It grows and grows until they can’t find e-mails, struggle to keep track […]

Angry Customers: The Birth and Death of a Terrorist

It happened right in front of us – Meredith and I were talking with a client when a customer came into the client’s shop to return a large but barely-eaten custom cake. She was obviously nervous and upset. “It tasted like chemicals,” she said, apologetically.  Even the one year […]

Crisis Management is Free: The Awesome Problem-Solving Tool You Already Have

People have this misconception that crisis management is about complicated tools and expensive training – as if the only way to solve complex systemic problems is with another complex system.Aaaaaaaand it drives me crazy. See, that’s kind of like trying to treat a burn with boiling water: it never […]

Four Simple Questions Can Make You A Crisis-Detecting Machine

Most crises are of the frog variety rather than the Godzilla. They’re small issues that only become a crisis because no one was paying attention or because you waited too long to correct the situation. They happen because we’re human, and we’re prone to rationalizing, avoiding, and putting a […]

Black Holes and Consequences: The Physics of Crisis Management

A black hole will swallow everything that gets too close to it – including light. The area around the center of the black hole where something disappears is called the event horizon. It’s the black part of the black hole – there’s stuff there, but you can’t see any […]

Belly Ballot Hoax: Let’s Make Better Mistakes Tomorrow

Back in January, a startup baby name website called babynames.net ran a “Belly Ballot” contest. They promised to pay $5,000 to an expectant mother who let their readers vote to name their baby. It was supposed to launch their new Belly Ballot feature, which allows friends and family to […]

Slow and Silent and Secondary: The Most Dangerous Crisis of All

photo credit here

Over the weekend, I talked about how mismanaging communication during an initial crisis can trigger an immediate second crisis – the kind that causes angry, confused customers to hit you with a landslide of complaints in a short time period.  These are called secondary crises – ones […]

How NOT to Be a Hero: A Beginner’s Guide to Abusing Power

photo credit: Chicago Art Department here

 
Have you ever wondered where the point is when a person can become a hero or a louse?*
 

Darlene Druyun
Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

In the late 90s I provided support for Acquisition Reform to the Undersecretary of the Air Force.  In those days, there was […]

Winning, Failure, and the Washington Post Test

photo credit: mike.benedetti  here

I’m fascinated with failure. I’m fascinated with why people fail, especially people with lots of experience in positions of power. What causes someone who has demonstrated the drive, intelligence, smarts and success to end up committing genuinely stupid criminal acts?  Yes, stupid – because they are bound to come out at […]

Godzillas and Frogs: Understanding Potential Crises

Photo Credit: here

Whenever I tell people that I deal in crisis management, their response is, “What type of crisis?”  I can answer with descriptions of personnel, management or even moral crises that I’ve dealt with, but almost every crisis that I have dealt with over the past 30+ years […]