Wednesday, 23 March 2022 22:10

Learning to anticipate the unexpected

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21 February 2020 - If we had been asked at the end of 2019 to assess the likelihood of a global pandemic, we would have said it was completely impossible.

24 February 2022 - We would have thought the same if we had been asked at the end of 2021 to evaluate the probability of a war breaking out in the middle of Europe.

Remote hypotheses, which we cannot imagine, cannot consider as possible...

It is true that imagining or thinking about emergencies and world crises instils anxiety, fear, and terror. It activates our operational centre in the amygdala, which 99% of the time causes automatic reactions of the autonomic nervous system, causing a great deal of fatigue, so it is better to rationalise, deny, and close our eyes to danger signals.

In this historical moment, it is our duty and responsibility to promote a culture of preparedness. Risks are certainly uncertain events, but emergencies and crises do occur. And this requires careful preparation before, during and after the crisis.

It is necessary to look at the unexpected and at those unpredictable events that can occur and break any equilibrium with focus, competence and skill.

So, what to do?

  • Constantly monitor risks and possible emergencies or crises from authoritative and reliable sources
  • Build possible scenarios (best case and worst case)
  • Prepare the organisation and the “chain of command and control”
  • Plan operational processes and actions
  • Constantly monitor KPIs and “early signals”
  • Activate decision-making processes
  • Analyse effects and review actions
  • Sit down together to evaluate the "lessons learned"

These are the foundations for creating high-reliability organisations, capable of creating a state of mindfulness, that is, full collective awareness that produces the widespread ability to analyse risks, identify hazards and react promptly when they occur.

A special emphasis, arising from the head and the heart, must be placed on People who experience stressor events in their everyday lives and who, for the last two years, have been living in a global pandemic and now have also to face war scenarios. There are many people who feel destabilised, confused, frightened. We have come face to face with war already being in a situation of psychological exhaustion, and this makes it difficult to cope with this other emergency. People must therefore be listened to and supported in dealing with destabilising thoughts, feelings, and emotions. They must be helped to cultivate well-being, which is the ability to balance the negative and positive aspects of life.

The challenge is therefore to make it a priority for every family, organisation, and company to be aware of the importance of being ready and reliable organisations, that is, aware and prepared to face life in its moments of stability and instability. Only in this way there may be evolution and growth!

Paola Guerra - Founder and Director of the International School of Ethics & Security Milan - L'Aquila


Visit the web site of International School of Ethics & Security Milan - L'Aquila

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