Two such proven leaders, Mary Gal­ligan and Stephen Flynn, recently spoke at Deloitte Uni­ver­sity on the topic of making deci­sions under pres­sure to an assem­bled group of tech­nology exec­u­tives. Gal­ligan is a retired senior-​​ranking FBI Spe­cial Agent in Charge who super­vised some of the FBI’s largest and most high-​​profile investigations—including the Sept. 11 ter­rorist attacks. She recently joined Deloitte & Touche LLP’s Secu­rity & Pri­vacy prac­tice as a director. Flynn is a dec­o­rated former Coast Guard officer, and one of the world’s leading experts on trans­porta­tion secu­rity and infra­struc­ture. He has acted as a secu­rity advisor to the Bush and Obama admin­is­tra­tions and cur­rently heads the Center for Resilience Studies at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity. They offered prac­tical advice for approaching a range of deci­sions in crisis sit­u­a­tions, including:

Brace your­self. Expect an unavoid­able event will, at some point, inter­rupt your company’s normal oper­a­tions and man­age­ment processes. It may be a nat­ural dis­aster like an earth­quake or hur­ri­cane, an inten­tional or inad­ver­tent action by an employee, or a cyber attack directed at crit­ical sys­tems. When some­thing goes wrong in today’s social media-​​obsessed world, news of the inci­dent often spreads imme­di­ately, leaving leaders with little to no time to get out in front of it and ampli­fying the risk that the inci­dent will turn into a full-​​blown crisis.

Don’t overly count on tech­nology. In the imme­diate after­math of an inci­dent, the tech­nology infra­struc­ture may be com­pro­mised, forcing leaders to make deci­sions without the usual tools at hand. Gal­ligan still holds onto the yellow legal pad she used fol­lowing 9/​11 as a reminder that you can’t fully count on com­puters and con­nec­tivity in a crisis.

Read the article at The Wall Street Journal →