The Lack of Integration Between Strategic Planning and Crisis Management

An era of crisesBusiness crises occur every day, from serious accidents to the infamous coffee spill at McDonalds. In the introductory chapter of his book “The crisis manager: Facing risk and responsibility”, Otto Lerbinger writes about the present as an era of crises, reflecting the increasing size and complexity of modern technology and industrial organizations. In the 1980s, indications of the rising frequency of corporate crises were found by the dramatically increase in product-injury lawsuits since the 1970s. Later on, in the 2000s, crises were occurring more frequently, and a general agreement among corporate customers, media and communications professionals, risk and insurance management practitioners, academics and government officials supported the contention that crisis frequency was increasing in an increasingly volatile world.Without doubt, the globalized economy has intensified the competition and shortened the product life cycle, with the increased risk of failure. There is also the increased focus on corporate social responsibility as a competitive advantage, vouching for companies to address social issues and act responsible with respect to the environment, labour standards, and human rights.Another aspect of crisis management has also emerged over the last years; the constant media coverage through Internet news sites and social media. Companies are constantly confronted and battered with new information resulting in a crisis to evolve from hour to hour, necessitating that the crisis must be managed through rapid response.Crisis awarenessLiving in an era of crises makes the likelihood of managers facing a crisis at some time ever more present. Thus, any company that relies on public opinion and reputation should therefore, at least in some sense, be prepared if a crisis occurs. Being prepared implies the development of a management regime that assesses potential threats and handles any crises that may emerge. Thus, crisis management deals with not only the reactive behaviour after the outburst of a crisis, but also the proactive precautions made to prevent the crisis from emerging. Prevention, where possible, is always better than response after things have gone wrong.Nevertheless, although crises could challenge the reputation and survival of a company, there seem to be reluctance to adopt crisis management plans. Moreover, being proactive in order to prevent a crisis is usually skipped altogether, even though it is the least costly and easiest way of control. One of the characteristics of crises today is lack of recognition and understanding of numerous warning signs. They are often detected but not collectively identified and analysed at appropriate management level.Planning in order to prevent crises requires a strategic approach and mind set. Managers, when developing corporate strategies, should be aware of potential events that may lead to crises. In their book, “Crisis management in the new strategy landscape”, Crandall et al argue that there is a reciprocal relationship between the various strategies organizations follow and their relation to crisis planning. At the same time as crisis management should be part of the strategic management process, the strategies that a firm chooses to implement can be a factor with respect to the frequency and types of crises that are faced.Other experts in the field have also identified the common long-term property of the two management fields and how they deal with emergent situations and are concerned with organisational survival in the future. The strategic plan of an organisation or a nation is incomplete unless it includes the integration of crisis management.Crisis management steps can be related to different processes of strategic management such as strategy formulation, implementation and evaluation. The extent to which organisations can shift from being crisis-prone to being crisis-prepared may well relate to the extent to which they are able to integrate crisis management and strategic management processes. Further, strategic assessment does not fully address problems that could be encountered in the long-term in executing and maintaining the chosen strategy, caused by changes in the business environment. Consequently, common aspect of strategic and crisis management when analysing the organization’s environment, indicate that some strategies are more crisis prone than others.Still, there are indications of this relationship not being utilized and taken into account when developing and implementing strategies. Strategic management and crisis management evolve separately, despite their potential for synergistic integration. Strategic management pays inadequate attention to defensive actions that could act to prevent unwanted, undesirable and unexpected crises from happening. And the academic world still takes an uncritical view of strategic management. It is taught using a variety of techniques that rely on a stable internal and external environment.Although the situation has improved over the last years, traditional crisis management is still viewed as a separate planning process and not intertwined with strategy. And despite the growing interest in the strategic importance of crises, our understanding of the area is quite limited. One key issue is that the precise relationship between a firm’s strategic environment and its crisis management decisions remains to be completely specified. Moreover, the few articles discussing crisis and strategic integration focus mostly on coordination of activities within two separate management fields.To conclude, the indicative lack of focus on the crisis aspect in strategic management could be a problem in future crisis handling, and should be addressed more thoroughly by business managers.

Spas and Other Design Options Can Add Value to Your Home

Working for an upgrade or remodeling of our private swimming pool can make a lot of difference in terms of performance and value added to our home property. On top of these motivations, such home improvement projects also have an impact at improving the safety features of our swimming pool. Upgrade projects may involve simple additions like spas or grills to the more elaborate renovation that aims to enhance the look and aesthetic value of our property.Adding spas and multi-colored lights can have dramatic impact on the overall appeal of our swimming pool. It also provides a multi-function facility that delivers added benefits to you and your family. Further, if budget is not a limitation, you can also opt for automation to exude a touch of class and sophistication in your home.A well designed and executed plan for remodeling or renovation of your backyard swimming pool can bring many benefits to you and your family. It adds to the overall appeal of the pool as well as your entire home property. You can accentuate and add drama to the overall design by adding streams, fountains and waterfalls. By doing this, you can make the part of your yard as the centerpiece of your property where you can host parties and other outdoor activities for friends and relatives.You can further enhance the character that you want to project by deciding on the most appropriate decking option. You can use special concrete coatings, bricks, specially designed or textured tiles or slates on your pool so that it blends well with the overall theme design of your home. The overall objective is to make your pool look like an extension of your home.You can also decide to install free standing grills alongside the pool with a pool bar. Such a setup is both functional and attractive once it is properly incorporated in the overall design of your home improvement project. These are not just for practical use. They must be installed in such a way that it contributes to the aesthetic value of your home. You can also consider multilevel decks where you can put up specially designed tables and other patio furniture.You can top all of these amenities by adding conveniences like swim-up bars, benches, spas and tanning shelves. You can also explore the option of automation by having the operation of these facilities by remote control.Landscaping can do wonders in improving the overall look of your backyard. You can project an air of freshness that can sooth your senses. Lush greenery and rich foliage can simulate a green paradise.You should seriously consider the type and color of lights to be used in your pool area as well in other parts of your backyard. Carefully selected landscaping lights can create that light feeling as they flood the surroundings with subtle colors. You can utilize fiber optic lighting to give the visitors with an underwater display of assortment of light effects. Lights when properly utilized can effectively set the mood as you entertain your guest in your evening parties.

Generational Genocide – A Systematic Destruction of the Mind-Body-Spirit of Our Next Generation

On April 25, 2010, CBS 60 Minutes aired an amazing however, alarming story on college students’ use of Ritalin, Adderall and other psychiatric drugs to “get an academic edge.”As a clinician in the front line of treating destructions chemical dependence cause in the lives of addicted individuals, their families and the society at large, I was grossly disturbed by the story.For several years now, I have been working with citizens such as the young men and women who appeared in this story fight to gain sobriety and reclaim their lives from chemical dependence and addiction. Many of them started using drugs in college just like these young men and women in the story. Many of them started even before college, in grade school and High School. These citizens come from all works of life-layers, engineers, doctors, clergies and regular Joes/Jane. Even though many of them reached the pinnacle of their professions, they also lost it all too to chemical dependence.Many of my colleagues may argue that “genocide” for a choice of word in this case is too strong. I will make the case it’s not. It is genocide when we as a society condone systematic destruction of young minds of our next generation.Over thirty years ago, we sat around and watched drug dealers invaded our communities and schools, corrupted and destroyed the minds of our children. Our neighbors went about their business pretending the epidemic of drugs use among youth was not their problems because they did not think or believe their children were also addicted to drugs. Many of us finally woke up from that illusionary sleep. However, it was too late. Many of our children were getting arrested for drug use and distribution of drugs. Back then, drugs dealers were pimps and scum bags of the society. Today, the game has changed in the ways many of us never envisaged.Many times when corporations decide to spread their profits nets for potential future market growth, they target the college population. A typical example is the credit card companies and their infestation of credit cards in the hands of college young adult who barely learned the responsibility of keeping their rooms clean before going off to college. The outcome of this practice is that most often, these college kids destroy their financial stability before they get started.This new wave of college kids using psychiatric drugs to “get an edge” as they put it will prove to be more dangerous than anything the world has ever seen if we sit back and allow it to continue. This will threaten, and in many cases destroy the fundamental structure of every institution our society is built on. There is absolutely nothing positive that will come out of destroying our young minds with drugs. Majority of these young people will become classic white collar drug addicts with classic high risky addictive behaviors that most often threaten family and relationship stability, personal life, employment and almost every aspect of a person’s life.Here is where the society is in trouble. The drug pushers in the case of college kids are not the street pimps and low lives. Yes, these low lives are still out there working so hard to make sure our young ones do not make it through grade schools and High School. I know this for a fact because currently, every single day I give it everything in me working with young kids in an in-patient treatment facility fight to rebuild their lives these scumbags destroyed.Most of these kids who made it to college now have to deal with another type of drug pushers-the professionals in white coats with prescription pads in their hands. Let’s face it, most of these kids have experimented or actively using drugs. Majority of them are inadequately prepared for college life and academic discipline. Many of these kids came to college with the illusion that college life is one of intense party, socialization, free life and minimal academic work. Many of them believe they will make it through college by investing barely minimal academic work. Most of these kids party the nights away. Many of these kids have limited amount of sleep. These kids have this illusion that drugs can make them smarter and also do their academic work for them.Many of these kids also came to college with some of the worst classic addictive behaviors-what I want; when I want it; who I want it from and “I must have it” attitude. Some of these addictive behaviors also include manipulation and doing whatever it takes to get and support one’s addiction and addictive behavior.Addiction is the reason these collage kids claim psychiatric behaviors and illnesses they do not have to obtain drugs to support their addiction. These professionals in white coats with prescription pads make it very easy for these kids to support their addiction and addictive behavior. Let us stop beating about the bush. We must call this exactly what it is-addiction. These college kids are drug addicts.Here is where the professionals failed these kids and the society at large. Healing professional code of ethics calls for evaluation, assessment and appropriate diagnosis leading to intervention (healing process). If these steps were effectively followed prior to handing out drugs to these kids as if they were receiving candies, most of these cases would have revealed malingering and simply, kids seeking drugs to support their addiction. According to these college kids on CBS 60 Minutes, it is relatively very easy for them to walk into a psychiatric clinic and obtain prescription and refills for psychiatric drugs.Listening to these kids’ story, It appears minimal efforts are made in taking the basic steps to understand these kids and their psychiatric complaints before handing them prescription for psychiatric drugs to support their addiction and addictive behaviors. This is scary. Many of these drugs have serious side effects. There are very few if any, independent studies conducted on the efficacy of these drugs. It is very easy to get addicted on most of these drugs. These drugs present serious life challenges for individual fighting to get off of them.Here is one outrageous claim every conscientious clinician should be screaming foul! Yet other area clinicians in white coats and prescription pads have failed these young people thereby enabled their drug addiction and addictive behaviors. It is just as bogus as one dollar mansion in Hollywood to suggest that people who exhibit no evidence of psychiatric or neurological problems should be on psychiatric or neurological drugs to improve their mental or neurological functioning. It is ethically and morally wrong to push this fallacy on the society.This idea of cosmetic neurology or Neuro Enhancement, as wonderful as they sound are new clinical fancy phrases carefully planted in the consciousness of chemical addictive personality population of our society to manipulate or entice as many of them as possible into deeper chemical addiction. People suffering from addiction or who have addictive personality are constantly seeking reasons to validate their addiction and support for their addictive behavior. The worst modeling these addicted young kids need, even more so for most mental health consumer is a picture of a professional man glamorizing drug addiction as was shown in this 60 CBS Minutes piece. For most of these addicts, that picture is all they need for validation and support for their addiction and additive behavior.Consensus is that the field of neurology is still in its infancy stage. There is so much we are yet to learn about the structure and biochemistry of the brain. It is clinically and professionally irresponsible to implant in the mind of health care consumers the idea of neuro cosmetic or neuro enhancement in the same manner we perceive physical cosmetics. We can end up with a society full of chemically engineered human robots or lunatics. We must be very careful as a society, what we allowed to be pushed on us particularly, our young minds in disguise of mental health.We are still gravely suffering the mental health damaging impact of medication, and in so many cases, over medication of healthy “very active” children labeled “ADHD” particularly children from economic disadvantaged segment of our society. Those children labeled and treated for ADHD several years ago carry today’s new label “Bipolar” with the same vicious mental health cycle.I use the term “healthy,” very active children. Let us face the truth for a change. There was nothing wrong with many of these children other than the fact they were caught in the crossfire of complex societal trend and generational human crisis, from conception to birth. Each time I make my case in this issue, I always make reference to the story of the most active child I have ever known and so many other kids like him. I am referring to my sister’s middle son. This young man is a corporate lawyer. I will make the strongest case based on what I have observed over the years in the behavioral clinical field that this young man would have been chemically damaged beyond healing if he had been born in the western world particularly, United States or Canada both of which combined, have the largest number of ADHD diagnosed cases treated with medication than the rest of the world.Here is what I learned in my many years of experience working clinically with young people of this generation. They are amazingly scary smart. One can make a serious case that they are the most gifted, talented and intelligent of any generation. However, there are some distinct characteristic differences between this generation and the ones before them. This young generation is mentally lazy. They want easy life. They want it given to them and they want it right now. Patience is not a virtue in their book. They shoot for instant gratification in just about everything. They have poor work ethics. They are not deep thinkers like the generations before them.They speak their own language. They have very complex emotion. They have trust issues about the motives of adults in their lives, for many good reasons. They expect adults entering their lives to show their hearts and hands first. The heart the adult shows better have tremendous amount of care and love in it. Respect and trust are very important to them. They give the adults one shot and one shot only to make an impression, earn their respect and trust. They also expect the adult to show personal strength and integrity to hold them accountable for pushing the envelope. They push the envelope as far as they can be allowed to. However, they expect the adults to pull them back and hold them accountable. They would listen only if you speak their language. They want you to make your point first and then give the details if necessary.My intention is not to leave any impression there is something fundamentally wrong with this generation. There is absolutely nothing wrong with them. They share our gene and collective unconscious. What this generation doesn’t have all the previous generation before them have are parents who honor parenthood. This generation lack mentors and teachers. This generation has very few parents, teachers and mentors who value and take serious the role of parenting, mentoring and teaching. They have very few heroes and heroines that have invested years of life changing body of work that impact the society in ways they can relate to. They do not have heroes and heroine they have vested interest in.Previous generations have so many mentors, teachers, heroes and heroine they related to such as Martin Luther King, Elizabeth Taylor, Sidney Poitier, John Wayne, Joseph Stalin, Lena Horne, Luis Armstrong, Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, General Eisenhower, JFK, Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Bob Hope, Bill Cosby, Thurgood Marshall, Elijah Mohammad, Ronald Reagan and many others. Previous generations had parents who honored parenthood and were also teachers, mentors, heroes and heroines to not just their own children but also to children in their communities.Let us face the fact. Every generation is as good as the generation before them. We have to remember that apple does not fall far away from its tree. We have not delivered on our responsibility to this generation of young people. We have not done a good job parenting, teaching and mentoring this generation behind us. In so many ways, we short changed this generation we are responsible for raising.We failed in setting crucial early fundamental developmental boundaries with them. We failed to hold them accountable for their own responsibilities. We blurred the boundaries between the teacher and the students. The adults find it more important to be the kids’ friends and “cool” just like the kids instead of playing adult roles-teaching, mentoring, parenting and positive role modeling. We look the other way when young people seek us out for leadership and direction because we are afraid of challenges that come with holding their hands and investing in their future. We poison their mind in grade schools in the name of medication intervention in order to get them to comply with our wishes rather than supporting them in exploring and expressing their individualities and personal gifts. In many instances when we teach them, we model minimal expression of love, empathy, care and genuine positive emotion. In some arenas, we model gross disregard for the other person and in-your-face aggressive type behaviors, such as what we see in sports and politics. We tear down heroes and heroine just as quickly as we can build them.It would be interesting to know what type of “Neuro Enhancement or Psychiatric Pharmaceutical edge” Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Ralph Waldo Emerson and many of the great minds of our time had in college. My guess would be they did not have any. Human mind usually is at its best when it is not altered especially, chemically altered. We must teach this generation that the “edge” is not in the pill. We must teach them the “edge” is in gaining a deep understanding of self, discovering one’s special gifts, learning the importance and rewards of hard work, and appreciating investment in self and one’s future. We must teach young people that college is not a place for all night party. We must teach them that college is a higher level of developmental rite of passage. We must teach young people that college life is one that teaches a higher level of personal and intellectual discipline. College is a place where one develops a deeper sense of personal growth, consciousness, and strong work ethics.We must teach this generation of young people that “life rewards those challenge it.” We cannot continue to help them destroy their lives and future by helping them become drug addicts. It baffles me that Michael Vick went to prison for dog fighting. We care so much with passion about the environmental dangers facing sea living organisms, such as we do in the BP oil spills in the Gulf. On the other hand, we pay minimal attention with the least amount of passion when it comes to the destruction of the minds and brains of our young people. The world will witness an epidemic of drug addiction among this generation in the same magnitude we witness in AIDS epidemic if we as a society do not step up and do something very quickly about “cosmetic” drug use among college young people.To interact with Dr O’Banye visit International Institute for Wellness and Integrated Healing. You can also follow Dr O’Banye on the twitter @drchrisobanye.