Brussels – March 22, 2016: the human empathy, the cynicism of the business and the need for resilience

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In the social context, the tragic moments automatically provoke a very strong sense of empathy towards those who suffer and live the tragedy under their skin. Conversely, the world of business reasons according to completely different rules and does not allow anyone to stop, as it would compromise the dynamics of the ‘engine’.

Since yesterday, we have to add another item to the list of disasters that have struck in the modern era. The latest tragedy that affects all the human beings, touching us deeply and forcing all the people to gather in a mourning that, unfortunately, seems to have no end. A bleeding wound that maybe will bleed a bit less over time, but that will never heal. Brussels will rise again and, even if battered and limping, will find the strength to go on with the bitter realization that the future is full of threats.

In the social context, the tragic moments automatically provoke a very strong sense of empathy towards those who suffer and live the tragedy under their skin. Conversely, the world of business reasons according to completely different rules and does not allow anyone to stop, as it would compromise the dynamics of the ‘engine’. The cynicism of the business is as much unfair, as it is unavoidable. Organizations affected by a crisis cannot expect empathy and must prepare accordingly.

Crisis Management, as an organizational discipline, is born in response to the need to prepare for the unpredictable. However, in this historical moment, we need to hurry and be ready to face something that we feel is now close and scary. The theories and practices of organizational resilience are therefore essential. We do not have much time for empathy and must coldly plan the management of a potential critical event taking into account any kind of scenario.

Every serious crisis presents an inner opportunity to increase our level of resilience in the future. For professionals who deal specifically in business continuity, the massacre of Brussels is another opportunity to meditate on crucial issues: are we prepared to safeguard the health and safety of our staff, to protect our assets, our reputation and our customers from a crisis of this kind?

The only weapon in our hands is prevention. In order to make it happen, it is necessary to adopt a proactive approach, with the goal of being able to operate even in critical conditions and minimize the corporate inactivity. This is not going to give us back our victims and for sure it will not soothe our wounds, but it certainly will save the companies and consequently will guarantee jobs and the life quality for many people.

Never as in this moment in history, it is imperative that the business be prepared to face all the aberrant challenges that the world situation represents and the only way to avoid falling is to be very resilient.

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PANTA RAY is a training and management consulting firm, specialized in organizational resilience. 

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