“As I type, the latest attack on the transportation system has taken place on the District Line at Parsons Green Station in London. It appears to be an improvised IED placed in a train carriage which failed to detonate correctly, which thankfully saved many lives. We have seen this before in London, post the attacks on the 7th July 2005, when other devices placed on buses and in litter bins failed to explode due to poorly mixed and unstable explosives.
But as the media and specialists speculate and analyse the what, where, how, why and whom, there is a bucket load of things that crisis leaders can proactively do in the interim. Any thinking that is dominated by the thoughts such as “it hasn’t happened here, thank God” is misplaced and real work to mitigate any threat and risk must take place now.
My thoughts turn immediately to the people I work with. What can I do and say to ensure that they feel as safe as they could possibly can be to the extent that they are still happy to travel to work. Because, without any reassurance and contextual information, each person will come to their own conclusion about how risky things are. They will decide independently whether the danger of travel is too much to bear. Thoughts of moving jobs to other places may creep into their psyche and good people are ultimately lost. We cannot let this happen.
It’s not unreasonable for leaders to step forward and get a ‘one to one’ or team dialogue going. There may be a concern that by raising the discussion, fears will be increased. I don’t think so. In my experience, colleagues are smarter than we often give them credit for and the creation of a discussion space that will allow colleagues to share their thoughts will be a positive investment in time. Working from home is not always the answer or possible and one of the most important things the business sector can do at the moment to respond to any terrorist threat is to adapt to the current situation and keep delivering its services. Being resilient is all about the workforce and we must all be prepared to place an increased value on our people, take extra steps to retain them and keep business going. “Fear is not an option if we want to stand up to terrorism”.
As a leader, nStratagem is key to your need to manage threat in your organization. The time to plan and mitigate is now. We can help you prepare.
Look forward to your thoughts and comments on this article.
Brett Lovegrove is an Associate of nStratagem and a past Head of Counter Terrorism for the City of London Police. nStratagem has a great deal of experience in helping leaders and organizations through their development and challenges. Contact us for a discreet discussion.
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