It took a matter of minutes for a small fire at Notre Dame cathedral to turn into a raging inferno that destroyed the iconic, 850-year old building.

Since the fire was put out, over €600 million has been pledged to fund Notre Dame’s re-building. More funds will be promised in the next few days and weeks; money will literally be no object to its restoration.

Disasters, it seems, create a visceral response in us that more gradual declines fail to achieve.

For example, over 200 people die every day in the UK from smoking-related diseases. The government and NHS have invested heavily in addressing these deaths, but I can’t help feeling that more would be done if those same 200 people were dying in daily air crash disasters, rather than individually – almost invisibly – in their homes, hospitals and hospices.

It can also be tempting to ignore gentle declines and plateaus in our businesses and respond only to emergency disasters. Great organisations, however, understand that recognizing these issues early and generating a sense of urgency around them is a critical first step to preventing emergency disasters and maintaining healthy growth and performance levels.

What are you focused on in your business? Is your attention solely on the emergency fires of your company, or are you also identifying and addressing the less obvious performance decays?


Off The Record: It’s The End Of The World As We Know It by REM

That’s great

It starts with an earthquake

Birds and snakes

And aeroplanes

And Lenny Bruce is not afraid

© Stuart Cross 2019. All rights reserved.