While I would like to write about success, at times like these I feel compelled to comment on the situation just a few hundred miles (km) east of where I live.
It is now day four of the crisis here in Japan. And yet, here in Osaka, it is a lovely spring day.
Were it not for the TV being on and friends contacting me, I wouldn’t know anything was wrong.
And yet, on the other side of Japan people are evacuating, stocking up on staples, and evaluating their options.
One friend has asked to crash at my apartment to which I replied, “Mi casa es su casa.” (my home is your home)
Amazingly I have been through 3 revolutions, the tsunami in 2004 and now this.
So what have I learned about handling crisis through all these experiences?
- Stay calm
- Don’t panic
- Confirm facts
- Beware rumors
- Be decisive
In situations like this many people don’t know what to do and with all the information out there it’s easy to imagine the worst.
I saw firsthand how people struggled to handle the situation in 2004 which is why it is imperative to stay calm.
Panic impedes our ability to make good decisions.
And that could be the difference between life and death.
When my room collapsed around me on Dec 26th, 2004, I estimate we had about 2 minutes before the second wave hit.
Every second counted.
Had I panicked it would have cost us time we didn’t have.
I focused on the issue at hand, getting out.
Thankfully we managed to get out just before the second wave hit.
Depending on where people were when the tsunami hit Japan the concerns today vary.
All I can say is that you must deal with each crisis as it presents itself, and not get caught up thinking too far forward.
In situations such as this a leader must think fast, be calm, and instill a sense of confidence in people.
They can only do this by assessing one problem at a time.
Set things in motion to deal with the first issue then move onto the second.
The toughest thing is when you have multiple problems to deal with all at once.
Leadership must determine where to put manpower and resources. It is not an easy choice to make.
Sometimes the saying is true, “You’re damned if you do, and you’re damned if you don’t.”
Each day here in Japan seems to bring with it a new problem but I believe that everyone involved is doing their very best to ensure the safety of us all.