The Challenge of the New Age
Edited by David H. McIntyre and William I. Hancock
Ken Senser and Jason Jackson Failing to plan is planning to fail. (Alan Lakein, American author and time management specialist) INTRODUCTION Hurricane Katrina was a life- and business-changing event for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Interestingly, though, the devastating impact of this storm did not come from its winds or rain. Hurricane Katrina was a national catastrophe because of a series of compounding events that stressed to the point of failure personal, community, business, organizational and governmental plans. For Wal-Mart, Hurricane Katrina was a test of spirit, endurance and process at all levels of the company. But for most, it was a turning point in the ‘psyche’ of the company – a galvanizing event that reinforced the core values for which the company stands. Dealing with hurricanes is nothing new at Wal-Mart. While we are not arrogant, we (like many others) went into this hurricane with confidence believing that it would unfold in the same predictable manner as the many before it. Unfortunately, our response ultimately turned from one primarily focused on business recovery to one more closely resembling a relief operation. This case study describes not only the Wal-Mart experience and lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina, but also the foundational elements that allow us to achieve the best possible outcome when faced with a crisis. Collectively, our nation and the world stand to benefit from examining the crisis leadership and response best practices demonstrated by many different individuals and organizations. No crisis response will ever go perfectly, particularly one to an event...
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