Archive by Author | Atta Hanson

GRATITUDE

“Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.” – G.B. Stern

As children most of us were constantly reminded to say “Thank you.” As your mother or father picked you up from a birthday party or some other event, you were most likely asked, “Did you say thank you?” Those of you who are parents probably go through a similar routine with your children. Saying thank you is one of the basics of good manners. It is also an excellent form of motivation.
“Make it a habit to tell people thank you. Truly express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.” – Ralph Marston

Speaking of gratitude – thank you for reading this.

POWERFUL QUOTES FROM LEADERS

1. Not on some analogical version of vicarious liability. Evidence has demonstrated step by painstaking step.

2. A company is much more than the sum of its inputs and outputs. It is people that matter more than anything else in business. it is people – their collective ability and energy, how they feel about working in the organisation, how passionate and engaged they are in its agenda and how they work together for a common purpose – that makes a company great.

3. It could only be explained, she argued, by prurience, callousness, and lack of judgment.

4. Focusing on core – what we are good at, where we are good at it, what is material, what is financially compelling, and where we are and can be successful.

5. Instil a high performance ethic, with personal accountability, reduced unnecessary bureaucracy, spending less time internally and more externally, and continuing to build on our values and culture.

6. I have therefore made personal accountability central to how we should operate, eliminating unnecessary committees, and speeding up decision making, which enriches everyone’s roles.

7. We also need to instil a greater sense of urgency in the way we operate. Our shareholders have been incredibly patient, but won’t be for long.

8. The future is one of great opportunities and that requires confidence and leadership and it will be lost if we embrace the politics of fear and scaremongering.

9. He said policies would change in the light of changed conditions, but did not signal any immediate amendments to contentious issues including same sex marriage and climate policy.

10. He said the prime minister had failed to provide economic leadership; had lost the confidence of the business sector; had failed to explain to the public the challenges and opportunities the nation faced; and had developed policy on the run.

11. We need advocacy, not slogans.

12. And it’s fair to say that anybody who does this has a sickness in their minds, regardless of what they think their motivations may be.

13. The United States of America is the one advanced nation on Earth in which we do not have sufficient common-sense gun-safety laws – even in the face of repeated mass killings.”

14. When Americans are killed in mine disasters, we work to make mines safer. When Americans are killed in floods and hurricanes, we make communities safer. When roads are unsafe, we fix them to reduce auto fatalities. We have seat belt laws because we know it saves lives. So the notion that gun violence is somehow different, that our freedom and our Constitution prohibits any modest regulation of how we use a deadly weapon, when there are law-abiding gun owners all across the country who could hunt and protect their families and do everything they do under such regulations doesn’t make sense.

MESSAGES THAT TOUCHED MY HEART

1.Life is green and green is life; Green life starts in our homes. Green ideas bloom; Let’s navigate the road to green life.

2.Our vivacious, ambitious, smart, engaging, hilarious, beautiful and immensely talented Alison was taken from the world. This is senseless, and our family is crushed.

3.She just happened to be really really good on TV. Really really good. And captured humanity with everybody she spoke with.

4.I believe (she) would want our love to be shared because it was a love that was genuine and a love that I hope everybody else gets to experience at least once in their life.

5.Powerful pictures tell powerful stories, Some are terrible stories and some are even happy or inspiring ones.

6.One picture is equal to one thousand words.

7.The full horror of the human tragedy unfolding on the shores of Europe was brought home on Wednesday as images of the lifeless body of a young boy encapsulated the extraordinary risks refugees are taking to reach the West.

8.We get a lump in a throat every time we think about the female bankers who, wearing skirts, had to climb the ladder with unimaginable fear, and male bankers who threw off their coats at the last minute regardless of the cold weather, their fear, despair and regret.

9.It’s more satisfying and fun dealing with customers and clients than sitting in endless internal meetings and committees.

10.In a loving tribute at his grave, ‘There is always a face before me, a voice I would love to hear, a smile I will always remember, of a husband I loved so dear. Deep in my heart lies a picture, more precious than silver or gold, it’s a picture of my soul mate, whose memory will never grow old.’

11.But as I said just a few months ago, and I said a few months before that, and I said each time we see one of these mass shootings, our thoughts and prayers are not enough. It’s not enough. It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel. And it does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America — next week, or a couple of months from now.

12.Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine. The conversation in the aftermath of it. We’ve become numb to this.

13.May God bless the memories of those who were killed today. May He bring comfort to their families, and courage to the injured as they fight their way back. And may He give us the strength to come together and find the courage to change.

14.Sophie left a message that read: “Daddy, my hero, my super daddy, my world. I love you so much. I will miss our cuddles, tickles, giggles and smiles. I love you lots and lots. Your little princess Sophie x x x x x.”

15.A second bouquet from Abigail, with scrawly handwriting, read: “Daddy, I love you so much, you are the best daddy in the whole wide world, you are my hero! I will miss you. XXX Love Abigail XXXXX.”

16.Jennifer left her own bouquet of white lilies with a wedding photo. Her message read: “Dave, my poo Bear! I can’t believe you’ve been taken away from me, you are my everything and have no idea how I am going to carry on with you not by my side. I love you with every inch of my heart and will miss you so so much, Your Mrs XXXXX.”

7/7 LESSONS REVISITED

Whether lessons have been learned and actioned.

I thought this week with the 10th anniversary of 7/7 I would look back through one of the reports on the incident by the London Assembly (Report of the 7th July Review Committee) and highlight in this bulletin some of the learning points from the incident. If we can learn from incidents and improve our response, then something good has come out of a terrible incident. In reading the report one of the things that struck me was a number of communication failures during the response. This should not surprise us as almost every incident report or exercise report highlights failures in communication as one of their key learning points. There were three main failures in communications; loss of communications to those responding underground, overload of the mobile phone system and the failure of the ambulance communications system. The difficulty of communicating underground was identified as a significant issue in the report into the Kings Cross fire in 1988. During 7/7 the report noted that the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, told us that he regarded the inability of the emergency services to communicate underground as ‘a significant problem for London’. The lessons from the last incident in this aspect of communications had not been learned. Do you go back through your own incident reports and those of other organisations, which are relevant, and check that the lessons identified have been learned or actioned in your organisation? All of our mobile plans are highly dependent I suspect on mobile phones working. Much of the communications failure during the response to 7/7 was due to the emergency service and other responders having a high reliance on mobile phones and the system not working in certain areas. This was again identified in the report as a foreseeable problem. The same happened during 9/11 and actually happens in many areas each New Year’s Eve. The failure of the mobile system was due to the large number of calls overloading the system which the report details: “London’s telephone networks experienced unprecedented volumes of traffic. Vodafone experienced a 250 per cent increase in the volume of calls and a doubling of the volume of text messages. There were twice as many calls on the BT network as would normally be the case on a Thursday morning. Cable & Wireless handled ten times as many calls as usual to the Vodafone and O2 networks – 300,000 calls were placed every 15 minutes, compared to 30,000 on a normal working day. O2 would normally expect to handle 7 million calls per day. On 7 July, 11 million calls were connected – 60 per cent more than usual – and this does not include unsuccessful calls”. Have you got plan of how to deal with an incident without mobiles, especially at the scene of the incidents, and how staff caught up in the incident will inform you that they are safe? Lastly on communications, although it didn’t affect the overall response, there was a major breakdown of The Ambulance Service communications. This lead to “repeated instances of London Ambulance Service officers requesting more ambulances, supplies and equipment and receiving no response”. Failure of communication within the ambulance service was due to issues with their radios and failure of the mobile phone system. Could your response be majorly impacted by failure of communications and are your existing communications fit for purpose, tested and staff trained in their use? One of the themes I have been promoting in my bulletins is ‘do our plans have sufficient emphasis on looking after people during an incident’. I was disheartened to see the following within the report: “The response on 7 July demonstrated that there is a lack of consideration of the individuals caught up in major or catastrophic incidents. Procedures tend to focus too much on incidents, rather than on individuals, and on processes rather than people. Emergency plans tend to cater for the needs of the emergency and other responding services, rather than explicitly addressing the needs and priorities of the people involved”. I am guilty of this as well, but I think we should look again at our plans and see if they take account the need to look after our people and those affected by the incident? My last point is the importance of leadership at the scene of an incident and in someone taking command. The following is an extract from the section on communications from people in authority within the first 15 minutes: ‘Michael, survivor of the Aldgate explosion said ‘Information is essential when in shock people freeze and can’t make rational decisions, people need to know what to do, even if it is to remain on the train and wait’. Nobody knew what to do immediately after the bombs had gone off. They were in an unfamiliar environment and were unsure whether it was safer to leave the train or to remain where they were. A number of survivors talked about the relief of having someone in authority, the train driver, tell them to what to do and “walk down the track to Russell Square”. This highlights to me the importance of training for staff likely to be at the scene of an incident so that they can make quick decisions and be the voice of authority in an incident.

Charlie Maclean-Bristol

Director of Training

Business Continuity Training Ltd