“We are the Hampton Roads Chamber,” began Ronald (Ron) Lewis, retired Army Gen. and CEO, LTC2 Consulting, during the Chamber Education Series: Crisis Preparedness, Crisis Management, & After Action Reviews. “We are business leaders and leadership is critical in a time of crisis.”
Ron Lewis has more than 30 years of senior executive experience in Department of Defense (DOD) contracting and operations, public affairs, global security, and the aerospace industry. Lewis is also a member of the Hampton Roads Chamber, serving as the Vice-Chair of Military Affairs.
“Prepared, Not Scared” is the 2019 theme of National Preparedness Month, taking place each September to promote crisis preparedness and emergency planning in the event of a disaster. The Hampton Roads Chamber is recognizing National Preparedness Month with the Chamber Education Series on Tuesday, September 17th.
“We, as business leaders, set the stage for how to respond,” began Lewis. Lewis asked audience members how they define the word “crisis.” Some responded that crisis is defined as “the worst-case scenario” or “unexpected failure.” Lewis said all of those definitions are correct and proceeded to define a crisis as, “a critical event or point of decision, if not handled in an appropriate or timely manner (or at all) may turn into catastrophe or disaster.” He stressed the importance of proactive planning and effective leadership in the event of an emergency.
Various crises that could impact business include recession, cyber-attacks, security issues, natural disasters, and more. The key question Lewis asked was how often do companies anticipate these crises, and the answer is not often. “We leaders should know what is most likely to happen inside our businesses and how to prepare for it,” said Lewis.
Lewis stressed that the process for crisis prevention centers on being proactive and reactive, involving three steps. Step one is considering all possible situations and the business impact it will have. The second step is developing and rehearsing a response plan, communicating the plan with your team, and step three is reviewing what you’ve learned and implementing that knowledge to prevent another crisis. “Your team is watching you,” said Lewis. “The ability to handle bad news well is going to help tremendously in managing a crisis.”
In closing, Lewis urged attendees to anticipate the unexpected, arguing that being better prepared to handle crises as they arise will help business. “Crises will happen, it’s only a matter of when,” Lewis said.
As the regions impactful advocate, powerful economic partner, inspiring ignitor and regional collaborator, the Hampton Roads Chamber recognizes how critical it is for businesses to have a plan in the face of disasters or emergencies.
Thank you to the following sponsors: Southern Bank (Presenting Sponsor); Managing Communications (Gold Sponsor); Prosper Insurance (Host Sponsor); and Bahama Breeze (Lunch Sponsor).