Managing Disaster Risk: Five Behaviors to Overcome

Disaster planning typically only makes the top-five list after something has happened. Knowing our predispositions, though, may help us correct them.

3. Overreaction. While some people freeze in the face of a disaster, others overreact. This can cause business leaders to make knee-jerk decisions, such as abandoning a facility prematurely. The more we can stay calm and keep utilities and other services at our facilities functioning during a severe weather event, the faster we will be able to bring our operations back online after the immediate crisis has passed.

“It’s far wiser to design-in physical protection from disruption than to count on employees to be heroes.”

4. Overestimation. Confident leaders sometimes place too much trust in the ability of their teams to respond effectively to adverse events as they occur. It’s far wiser to design-in physical protection from disruption (such as cybersecurity systems, lights that go on when the electricity goes out, fireproof doors that close automatically, etc.) than to count on employees to be heroes.

5. Procrastination. It’s the mother of all ills. Being reactive rather than proactive in assessing vulnerabilities can be disastrous when an event happens. The devil is in the details. The time to prepare is well before a potential disaster rears its ugly head.

Paying attention to these five behaviors won’t prevent every business interruption. But as threats of extreme weather events—especially now as we shift into the bad weather months—and other disruptions intensify, great leaders will take their natural blinders off. They will more fully understand that insurance alone won’t bring back lost customers, eroded market share, or a damaged corporate reputation for the company caught off guard. And with blinders off and rational precautions taken, they can go right back to tackling their top-five list.




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