Managing the Crisis You Tried to Prevent Essay

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Harvard Business Review On Crisis Management ... Managing Crisis You Tried to Prevent Norman R. Augustine Originally published in November – December 1995 Reprint # 95602 A Harvard Business Review Paperback Managing the Crisis You Tried to Prevent Managing the Crisis You Tried to Prevent Norman R. Augustine Executive Summary NEWS REPORTS ANNOUNCING that yet another business has stumbled into a crisis—often without warning and through no direct fault of its

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Managing the Crisis You Tried to Prevent

There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to
fortune; Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in
miseries.
-William Shakespeare
... .........
From this incisive passage in Julius Caesar, Shakespeare shows himself to be
not only a brilliant poet and dramatist but also an excellent businessperson. For
as regular as the tide are headlines announcing that yet another business has
stumbled into a crisis —often without warning and sometimes through no direct
fault of its management. Earlier this year, a single day’s copy of the Washington
Post reported the almost unprecedented series of crashes suffered by American
Eagle Airlines; the possible connection between some of the crashes and aircraft
built by the French company Avions de Transport Regional; the bankruptcy of
Orange County, California, stemming from speculation in leveraged derivatives;
and Intel’s travails with its Pentium microprocessor. All in all, a good day for bad
news. Business as usual, some might say.
The airline, financial securities, and computer industries are, of course, not alone
in facing crises. And the tribulations of 1995 are hardly unique. Throughout
history, there has been no shortage of business crises. In 1637, speculation in
Dutch tulip bulbs peaked at today’s equivalent of more than
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