Despite all the warnings about global warming contributing to a
10-year cycle of hurricanes, we're now told we concluded 2006 with
no significant hurricanes because of—you guessed
it—global warming. Apparently, the same rise in ocean
temperatures that was supposed to have accounted for the 2005
hurricanes also helped create an El Niño effect in the
Pacific Ocean, thereby mitigating the effects of warming in the
So much for messing with (or trying to outguess) Mother Nature.
Our industry was seduced by the amount of work hurricanes and other
natural disasters created in 2004 and 2005. New plants were built,
new employees were hired, new strategic plans were
developed—all based on the expectation of more
weather-related work. It was our own dose of irrational
The smart companies in our industry, we know with the benefit of
hindsight, continued to plan for typical business cycles and the
possibility of weather-related events rather than the
eventuality of weather-related events. They did just fine in
2006 though they may miss some opportunities during the next round
of hurricanes if and when they occur. But if companies are really
smart—and many are—they have developed contingency
plans without betting their futures.
Those plans include dealing with the media in the aftermath of a
natural disaster; prioritizing customers who might need emergency
help, such as hospitals and nursing homes; arranging for extended
lines of credit; ensuring suppliers will make products
available to them; and familiarizing customers with their
contingency plans. Business as usual, in uncertain times,
requires businesses that...
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