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Crisis Reaction

Trudy Robinson - Sunday, September 12, 2010
In the week I've been in Christchuch there have been (apparently) 100 tremors - either aftershocks or new quakes.  As with any project issues, be they environmental catastrophes or even an unexpected project issue - the manner that it is dealt with within the first 12 hours determines the end result.  Transparent communication is the most critical element - and it is often overlooked so that a 'good news' story is shared.  Even though an earthquake is not a project, the subsequent management of it certainly is.
An example in point regarding issue and crisit management is here.  An aftershock caused damage to a building housing St Johns Ambulance base and they (like many) had to evacuate the building permanently.  They were not allowed back.  They had emergency staff who were already exhausted who needed to be looked after themselves - the basics of food, facilities, equipment etc were no longer available.
My brother, a real estate agent, received a text message from one his office peers telling of this situation.  Within an hour, Jason had called a chicken production organisation and secured 20+ chickens and many other chicken products.  My niece rang the local supermarket and organised for them to cook the chickens in their rotisserie.  Several hours later Jason turned up at the St Johns 'open air' base with a vehicle full of cooked, piping hot, portioned chickens and other foods.  I was really proud of him.  It wasn't in the media, he received thanks but no accolades - and rightly so as many people did many amazing things during that week. 
However, he used his network, imagination and resources to get done what needed to be done to fill a need - and he called on the good will and external resources around to achieve something unexpected.  It's what good project management is all about, and communication was the glue that enabled it all to happen.
Happy days. 
regards Trudy
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