Old Bottle of Wine – New Label COVID-19

In the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic, reminds me of the approach, Dr. Richard Kobetz taught me where we might look upon many contemporary issues like an old bottle of wine with a new label. At the time of these conversations, the name read “terrorism.” In short, the implication is we don’t need to recreate the wheel every time something “new” occurs.

Be Prepared for the Questions

When faced with something new, our anxiety increases, and there is a fear of the unknown. As entrusted confidants and protectors, we cannot allow our fear to overcome the thought process. Reliance of your principal will quickly dwindle should you not present a presence of confidence. So do not let a new challenge overcome yourself – instead, look to history and see the similarities in solutions past; your toolbox if you will.

Maintaining the Continuity of Your Organization 

This idea of “social distancing” is nothing new to us from various perspectives. I point out the commonality of maintaining time through distancing of the threat as just one example.

In the prevention of and containment of the Coronavirus, we need to fall back to familiar best-practices. When there are so many unknown potential carriers of the virus, we need to take this to an extreme level of separation. But I ask, is it better to fight the threat or remove yourself from the danger all together?

The same mindset holds for the presence of the different principals of an organization, whether government or corporate leadership. We should follow the same rules established in our travel policies for traveling heads of our entities, whatever they may be for your organization. We must eliminate the presence of two or more leaders occupying the same space.

Making the Case

In 2009 more than 20 Bank of America employees were among the 150 passengers aboard US Airways flight 1549 when it splashdown into the Hudson River. This incident caused many companies to review or create travel policies for their companies. At the time, an ACTE (Association of Corporate Travel Executives) survey of 101 firms globally, 84 percent have policies restricting the number of executives that may travel on the same corporate or commercial plane. Sixteen percent of corporations in the countries surveyed did not have do not have a travel policy restricting executives traveling together. A survey prepared by FEMA in October 2014 states that more than 92% of the U.S. population has experienced a natural disaster, but fewer than 10% have planned or practiced for a reoccurrence. Finally, 30% of Americans will take their chances and ignore orders of evacuation in the next natural disaster threat.

I do not mean to belate the issue, but I want readers to understand not only the responsibility carried by advisors and protectors but also the accountability of those in leadership to their boards, the people they represent, and the overall well-being of their organization. 

Are You Prepared?

Major corporations and governments undoubtedly have a policy, plan, or procedure to address both separation of key role players (continuity) and planning during a crisis. Although not perfect, government agencies and corporations are more likely to have critical policies and plans when contrasted with smaller organizations. If any organization is to survive, they must understand the higher responsibility to their organization and have plans and procedures in place to protect the hierarchy of the organization.

Take Positive Action

So how do we put all of these ideas into an action plan? As I stated several times throughout, we begin with what we know; in this case, we start with an objective Risk Assessment. You will gather data to identify what risks exist, the level of the risks detected, and the steps necessary to mitigate those risks.

Some questions to ask yourself or others in your group:

  • Who is necessary to maintain the continuity of your organization?
  • How can you separate these individuals without interrupting workflow?
  • How long will you have to conduct business in this manner?
  • Is your organization self-reliant? How will you self-sustaining in your medical needs, food supplies, physical protection, mobility, and the like?¬†
  • How will you identify and utilize third-party resources?
  • Does your plan entail details in protecting outside people, including families of your organization?
  • How will you establish critical communication that is protected?
  • Have you included resiliency in the design of your plan through multiple approaches and two to three alternatives for each component of the plan?
  • Do you include intelligence sources to verify the abundance of reports made during a crisis?¬†


The purpose of my writing is not to provide you an all-inclusive plan for you or your organization in answering the challenges of the COVID-19 virus. I hope I have achieved my goal of opening your mind to the analytical approach you can take. You have the capabilities to overcome the challenges faced – maintain a factual and realistic approach.


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