In the aftermath of the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida, news reports surfaced quickly that critical safety missteps were made. Not only did an armed security officer assume a defensive position during the attack rather than enter the school, but also much earlier in the timeline, law enforcement officials had failed to act on disturbing reports regarding the mental state of the would-be shooter.

4 Factors That Define an Individual’s Readiness for a Crisis

Have you thought about how your trusted employees or advisors would respond under pressure? Will they be overcome by the moment – or come through like heroes? We can’t answer that for you – but we can help you understand four critical factors that determine an individual’s readiness to respond in crisis.

  1. Environment: Is the local environment – both physical and in terms of people – understood by leadership and those responsible for ensuring its operation and safety?
  1. Training: Are those who are tasked with ensuring the integrity of the environment trained correctly, with the right frequency and by the appropriate entities? How do you know?
  1. Perspective: Is the scope of the environment – and what could go wrong – fully grasped by employees and viewed in the proper context?
  1. Preparedness: Are protocols, resources and personnel in place to ensure the integrity of the environment is preserved, especially in a crisis? 

What Resilience Looks Like

When I think of coming through under pressure, I think of a man I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for some time and have spoken with intimately on several occasions: Clint Hill. Clint is a well-known author, but he is best known for his actions during President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. In fact, he is the U.S. Secret Service Agent who is seen in file footage climbing on the back of President Kennedy’s limousine to shield the First Family from additional gunfire. Though I have never asked him, I’m sure Clint had no way of knowing whether additional shots would be fired that day – or if he would be struck. His act of heroism and selfless disregard for his personal security is symbolic of what we all hope we would do in a crisis.

Clint Hill is just one example of resilience in action. On 9/11, we saw hundreds of first responders knowingly go into harm’s way to save others. Every day, brave men and women volunteer to protect our nation and values by going abroad to combat terrorism. Special military teams work for years to become capable of tracking down and bringing justice to our enemies, such as those who took part in the long, arduous campaign to hunt down Osama Bin Laden. Teachers give their lives to save children in schools. Doctors and medical professionals work tirelessly to save lives in medical emergencies and find cures for devastating illnesses. And policemen put their lives at risk every time they approach a vehicle on a standard traffic stop. All are undisputed heroes who responded to their calling, and in turn, make all of us prouder of who we are as a nation.

How to Cultivate Resilience

We all need to surround ourselves with trusted, capable people who can come through in the moment. But these individuals are not easy to find. The key is to know what to look for. Whether it be a financial planner, an attorney, a spiritual advisor or a security expert, there is no substitute for experience, preparedness and training to assist getting you through a crisis.

It is worth taking the time to find the best experts or hire the best employees so that crisis is prevented altogether. The process takes commitment, due diligence and hard work. Like our parents told us: hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. With a committed approach, if you prepare for the worst, you will be surrounded by the best – and, hopefully, be blessed with better outcomes if a crisis hits.

If this triggers your own thoughts and perspective, I’d welcome the chance to hear them.