Category Archives: Crisis Management

Treating Gun Violence as an Addiction and a Cult

If as I believe that an obsessive need for guns is akin to an addiction and therefore cannot be dealt with by means of conventional arguments (after all, many alcoholics know “rationally” that alcohol is killing them but they are still unable to resist its near total control over their lives), then I believe that we need to stop beating around the bush and treat the obsessive need for guns as a major form of addiction. Continue reading

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Deadly Assumptions: When the World Is Shattered

From the standpoint of assumptions, no matter how unalike they are on their surface, crises are eerily alike. Continue reading

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Wall Street: An Unmitigated Culture of Risk

Earlier this year, we published Swans, Swine, and Swindlers: Coping with the Growing Threat of Mega Crises and Mega Messes. It was an in-depth study of the Great Financial Crisis of 2008. While it was written long before the latest JP Morgan Chase debacle, unfortunately, it anticipated it perfectly. Indeed, it predicted that unless there were momentous changes in the culture of Wall Street, we were in for more of the same. Continue reading

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The Republicans’ Masterful and Insidious Prey on America’s Founding Fears and Stories: Part II

In a recent op-ed, “The Republicans’ Masterful and Insidious Prey on America’s Founding Fears,” I talked about the fact that in 1988, Rupert Wilkinson published a remarkable little book. Wilkinson identified four fears that not only have been present from the very founding of the Republic, but are so basic that they are virtually synonymous with it: 1. The Fear of Being Owned; 2. The Fear of Falling Away; 3. The Fear of Winding Down; and 4. The Fear of Falling Apart.

Very few people know that just a year earlier in 1987, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich also published a book that dealt in a different but complimentary way with the same themes. In fact, I regard it as one of his best books. Continue reading

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What the Great Greek and Shakespearian Tragedies Have to Teach About Modern Crises

The senseless killing of Trayvon Martin is not only a monumental tragedy, but it has all the elements of the great epic Greek and Shakespearian tragedies. In fact, all crises do.

The prime lesson: Get thee to the Greek playwrights and Shakespeare if one would better understand crises!

First of all, individual character and institutional flaws are a prominent, if not the most important, element of all crises (think Rupert Murdoch, Goldman Sachs, etc.). Continue reading

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Colleges and Universities Are Ill-Prepared for Crises

When my colleagues and I first started doing surveys of the crisis preparedness of major colleges and universities, we were shocked but not totally surprised to find that as poorly prepared large business organizations generally are for major crises, colleges and universities were even worse off. It is not that they are completely unprepared. Rather, the difference is between the crises that they are relatively well prepared for versus those that they barely prepared for, if at all. Continue reading

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Too Close for Comfort: Agonizing Similarities Between Penn State and the Catholic Church

The scandal that has emerged from Penn State in the past few weeks is a grotesque example of child abuse. What is even more disturbing are the agonizing similarities between this scandal and those that have come out of the Catholic Church. Penn State is not only judged in terms of all the things it did wrong in handling its repeated episodes of child abuse, but it is the direct inheritor of everything the Church did wrong. In short, Penn State has been made worse because of prior cases of abuse. Continue reading

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The Age of Super Crises

The notion of healing or repairing the world is more vital than ever. Indeed, with the advent of super crises, it has taken a whole new meaning. Crises have the potential to destroy entire industries, bring down governments, and adversely affect large regions of the globe. Not only are they bigger, costlier, and deadlier, but they come at us faster and faster. Continue reading

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Commonwealth Club Lecture on C-SPAN

On February 24, 2010, I gave a talk on my latest book, Dirty Rotten Strategies, at the Commonwealth Club of California. In my talk, I examine how many institutions either solve the wrong problems unintentionally, or worse, intentionally tackle the right problems in the wrong way. Continue reading

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Managing Toyota’s Recall Crisis

Will giant print ads, television appearances and apologies made by Toyota’s CEO help the car maker regain customer confidence? Canada’s Business News Network interviewed me about Toyota’s recall crisis on the February 3, 2010, episode of a business show called SqueezePlay. Continue reading

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