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How To Survive A Crisis

The pilot and crew of the plane that landed in the Hudson River last month have been appropriately recognized as heroes, for the skill and experience they employed to save the lives of everyone on board. The passengers, as well as the nearby ferry crews, also deserve credit for the quick and correct decisions they made after the plane landed, which enabled everyone to exit onto the plane wings and then to the safety of ships. In a Newsweek excerpt of his new book, The Survivors Club: The Secrets and Science That Could Save Your Life, author Ben Sherwood posits that surviving a crisis has more to do with making calm, rational decisions than luck. According to survival psychologist Dr. John Leach, only 10% of us handle a crisis in this optimal way, knowing whether, when and how to act. But 80% are initially stunned and bewildered, frozen from action like “deer in the headlights” and 10% behave counterproductively, freaking out and making decisions with disastrous results. These alternative approaches to managing a crisis apply to the strategic and financial challenges faced today by nonprofit executives, as well as to transportation disasters and medical emergencies. Remaining calm and rational will help you make disciplined decisions about what changes to make and what changes not to make. Sherwood has also created a Survivors Club web site, with some resources you might consider checking out before your next budget meeting, as well as your next flight.

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