Recap & Poll Results: Panel on Geopolitical Pandemic – April 29, 2020

Recap & Poll Results: Panel on Geopolitical Pandemic – April 29, 2020

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Atul Vashistha, Chairman, Neo Group


• Michael Aisenberg, Principal Cyber Policy Counsel, The MITRE Corp
• Valerie Plame, Former Covert CIA Operative Officer, National Security Commentator, Consultant & Author
• Kevin Zerrusen, Managing Director EY
• Davia Temin, President and CEO, Temin & Company, Inc,


Key Points:

• Pandemic – public health effects and economic devastation – has been added to the threats we as a species face along with threat of nuclear disaster and climate chaos
• The severe tension in democratic institutions we are experiencing leads to fear
• Fear means regimes will take advantage of the situation
• We will have to dig out from under economic catastrophe – massive layoffs that will lead to civil unrest
• Civil unrest will have an impact on national security

Crisis is an insufficient word for what we are experiencing
• We are somewhere between crisis and chaos
• Causality is broken – there is no assurance that if you do a then z will happen it could be f it could be something completely different
• Crisis rules don’t apply anymore

What every corporate and political leader should do in chaos:
• Set an intent / aspiration a human goal of integrity and true north and set that directionally point of view

Poll #1 Results

Shared Assessments Geo-political Risk Panel Poll - 1

Many companies and governments are trying to get people back to the workplace
• Federal and local Governments are involved to get back to a normal
• Most are thinking about their strategy and some are already starting to open up

Challenges businesses are facing as they plan to reopen business / return to the workplace:

• There’s still widespread fear
• Workers are questioning need to go into the office and risk infection from transportation system and workplace when they can work effectively from home
• Concerns about liability
• Cost of redesigning offices to allow for social distancing
• Wearing masks in the office – what message does that send?
• What happens when 2nd wave hits?
• During pandemics there’s almost always a 2nd and sometimes 3rd wave of infection that can be even more dangerous
• Highly likely in September, October, November 2nd wave will require additional social distancing
• May occur before there’s a reestablishment of the new normal

• Start to see re-calculation of critical vendors
• In past, squeezed the vendor for the best possible price
• May need the vendors more than the benefit of the lower price
• Want to think about building trust with vendors to cope with 2nd wave
• Infrastructure – broadband specifically – not up to the challenge in terms of commerce (working from home) and education system

We will be changed profoundly – globally, nationally, and locally and personally by COVID:
• Causality we had taken for granted (i.e. if, then) is broken
• Those that succeed on the other side of this will be able to quickly pivot
• The old ways of doing things in so many ways are not working
• Companies that want to succeed past this, can’t rely on what they did before

Three rules of crisis management that do pertain to this situation:

1) Deny Denial – if we go into denial on a 2nd wave will be behind
2) Redundant Systems – The more important the function the more important it is to have redundant systems
3) It’s not over until it’s over – it doesn’t end because we want it to

Poll #2 Results

Watershed principles that unfortunately are in conflict with each other but must be married together as we move past this:

1) Agility – essential to any company, agency, or individual responding in this previously unimagined and unpredictable situation
2) Trust – Trust takes a long time and requires experience, engagement, history

Key Takeaways:

• Restoration of trust in our institutions will be critical to get back
• Real leadership is humble, looks to support others
• Organizations need to review their mission and value statements and make sure they are living them
• You and your organization will be remembered for how you perform during this crisis/chaos:
• Whether you were self-dealing, told the truth with humility, kindness and humanity
• How you treated your clients, your employees, your suppliers
• Show up for your own people to help them with their pain
• Set the example
• This is a great opportunity to shine, don’t miss it
• Companies that succeed going forward will do what is right
• The silver lining may be the opportunity to change what hasn’t been working
• Accelerate adoption of solutions that enable real-time and continuous location risk monitoring and intelligence

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