Corporate pandemic precaution advocacy: The time is now

first_img(CIDRAP Source Weekly Briefing) – Business continuity planners say they’re talking to their employees and other stakeholders about pandemic preparedness. Is it really happening?At the start of CIDRAP’s February 2007 Business Preparedness for Pandemic Influenza: Second National Summit in Orlando, 45% of attendees said communication was the most important preparedness priority for their company “beyond health and safety.” That ranked it No. 1. By the end of the conference, communication was No.1 by an even wider margin—67%.I asked participants which of two kinds of communication took precedence. One priority is a standby crisis communication plan—developed now so you’re ready to roll if and when a pandemic materializes. The other priority is a pandemic precaution advocacy rollout—actual communications, now, aimed at alerting employees and others to the risk, telling them what the company is doing, and urging them to get ready. The pandemic precaution advocacy rollout eked out a narrow victory, 32% to 30%, with 38% saying the two were equally important. These are the answers I wanted to hear, but I don’t trust that they reflect what’s really happening.Just about every time I’m invited to give a speech or run a workshop on pandemic communication, I ask my client whether I should focus mostly on crisis communication (“when the virus hits the fan”) or precaution advocacy (“getting ready together”). The usual choice is crisis communication. I have to argue hard for some attention to the prepandemic communication task of sounding the alarm.When I have a chance to run a workshop that covers both, I have learned the hard way to start with crisis communication. If the group works on precaution advocacy first, the messages it comes up with tend to be awfully mild—largely because participants haven’t imagined their way into a serious pandemic yet. Working first on crisis communication gives people a sense of the horrific messages they would have to deliver in the middle of a catastrophic pandemic. That sets a very different context for the second half of the program: “What can we say to people beforehand to help prepare for the exercise we just went through?”Good pandemic precaution advocacy now, in other words, can make pandemic crisis communication later a less impossible task. Not much of it seems to be happening yet from companies.What’s happening, what’s notIn fairness, some pandemic precaution advocacy is happening for some stakeholders. In particular, many companies are talking to their suppliers about pandemic preparedness—mostly in search of promises (unenforceable though they may be) to keep the supply chain filled no matter what. I hope the dialogue will move to a more realistic level, something like this: “We can manage without X and Y if we have to. What can we do together to make you likelier to be able to keep us supplied with Z?” But at least a dialogue is happening.Companies are less interested in initiating pandemic conversations with customers. I assume this is because companies don’t have good news for customers and are in no hurry to offer up bad news. “Don’t expect us to be able to meet your needs” isn’t a fun message to deliver. But in many cases, these crucial conversations are happening anyway, initiated by the customers.So far I have seen virtually no pandemic communication between companies and their shareholders. But the investor community may finally have pandemic risk on its radar screen. For a while, articles speculating on the likely economic impact of a severe pandemic became commonplace. As the lead sidebar article in this issue points out, the business press has lost interest in the pandemic story, at least for the moment. We can only hope that investors got the message already, and will start asking companies how prepared they are. The sooner the better.At the Orlando conference, Michael Evangelides, principal of Deloitte Consulting, LLP, presented data showing that CFOs were a lot less interested in pandemic preparedness than were continuity managers. That would change fast if huge pension funds started asking hard questions. Imagine how companies might respond, for example, if they got a letter from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) indicating that CalPERS was planning to screen its investments for pandemic preparedness.Corporate pandemic communication aimed at neighbors or the general public still seems to be extremely rare. In fact, business leaders have been shockingly silent in the general-interest media about pandemic risk. Thanks to Google News, I am able to read a lot of media stories (local as well as national and international) about pandemic risk. The main sources are usually health officials, politicians, or academics, not companies. The companies that manufacture antivirals are an obvious exception, and I’ve seen other exceptions—articles on the preparedness efforts of the grocery, telecommunications, and banking industries, among others. But finding examples of corporate CEOs speaking out on pandemic preparedness is hard.In late 2006, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University sponsored a 3-day conference on pandemic news coverage. I asked a lot of participants what they were writing about business preparedness. “Not much,” reporter after reporter told me. “It’s hard to find a company willing to say anything on the record about its pandemic planning.”Are you talking to employees yet?The single most important audience for corporate pandemic precaution advocacy is, of course, employees. Are companies actually talking to their employees about pandemic preparedness?I don’t mean vague assurances that employees should “rest assured that your company is doing everything possible to be fully prepared in the unlikely event of a bird flu pandemic.” I’ve seen some of those. I mean detailed, vivid communications that aim at three key goals:Briefing employees on company preparedness effortsInvolving employees in those effortsPersuading employees to launch their own preparedness efforts at home and in the communityI haven’t seen many corporate efforts to achieve these three goals.Judging from my clients, getting top management’s okay to talk frankly with employees about pandemics is an uphill battle. I hear two basic reasons for not doing so:”We’re not ready yet”—As if it made sense to wait till your corporate pandemic planning were nearly done before asking employees to get involved, and before urging them to do some planning of their own.”We don’t want to unduly frighten people”—As if the looming possibility of a severe pandemic weren’t “duly” frightening . . . and as if it were more important to keep employees unconcerned than to get them prepared.There’s a better rationale for not communicating right now: “Employees aren’t interested in pandemics. Until they are, there’s not much point in trying to talk to them.” This is, of course, the exact opposite of the we-don’t-want-to-frighten-them rationale; it suggests waiting for a teachable moment when frightening your employees will be more feasible. If your company already has its pandemic employee precaution advocacy messaging done and you’re just waiting till employees are in a mood to listen, okay. Don’t wait too long.But I’d bet my mortgage that’s not what’s happening. If anything, companies will be even less willing to talk candidly and frighteningly about pandemics when their employees are already buzzing with pandemic anxiety.Go ahead, get startedSo what are companies really waiting for? I’m afraid they’re waiting for a pandemic. The votes at CIDRAP’s Orlando conference notwithstanding, it seems to me that most companies have not yet made communication a priority in their pandemic preparedness work. In particular, they have not yet done much employee pandemic precaution advocacy.It’s time to get started.An internationally renowned expert in risk communication and crisis communication, Peter Sandman speaks and consults widely on communication aspects of pandemic preparedness. Dr. Sandman, Deputy Editor, contributes an original column to CIDRAP Source Weekly Briefing every other week. Most of his risk communication writing is available without charge at the Peter Sandman Risk Communication Web Site, which includes an index of pandemic-related writing on the site.last_img read more

It was access to water which drew in the potential buyers this week

first_img48a Sentinel Court, Raby Bay was the most viewed property on realestate.com.au this week. Picture: realestate.com.auIT was homes close to the water that drew in the most potential buyers this week. With three waterfront properties topping the list of the most viewed.A five-bedroom home at 48a Sentinel Court, Raby Bay topped the list for the most viewed property on realestate.com.au in Queensland this week.The home has won multiple Queensland Housing Industry Association awards.It has 680sq m of living space, a tiered media room, executive study and an outdoor eating area. 30 Central Ave, Paddington. Picture: realestate.com.auThe three-bedroom house has traditional and modern features. It has open plan living areas and is on a 368sq m block. The home has been renovated and has high ceilings, timber archways and fretwork.It is listed through Judi O’Dea and Michael Kleimeyer of Space Property Agents. 48a Sentinel Court Raby Bay. Picture: realestate.com.auAnd not only are there water views of the canal, the home has a water feature, fountains, a pool and a pond.There is an outdoor kitchen and bar, wet bar, sun deck, toy box, outdoor fireplace and pontoon.It is listed through Emil Juresic of NGU Realestate Head office.Water was also a prominent feature for the second most viewed property in Queensland this week, a beachfront home at 21-23 Webb Rd, Sunshine Beach which has been a on the most viewed list before. 57 Whispering Gum Ave, Eumundi. Picture: realestate.com.auThere is a large deck and a stand-alone 40sq m studio / rumpus room. The home is listed through Kess Prior of Hinternoosa Real Estate – Cooroy.Rounding out the top five most viewed properties this week was a home at 30 Central Ave, Paddington. 57 Whispering Gum Ave, Eumundi. Picture: realestate.com.auThe home, known as Seabank, has views of Mt Cooroy. It started life as one section of the large formal residence of John Maddock Hughes, built in 1910 on The Esplanade at Southport. In its new location it has been completely revamped. It has 12-foot ceilings and French doors, VJ walls and ceilings.center_img 30 Central Ave, Paddington. Picture: realestate.com.au 61 Gillian St, Norman ParkIt is listed through Tanya Douglas and George Petavrakis of Ray White Bulimba.The fourth most viewed property was on the Sunshine Coast, but inland.The four-bedroom home at 57 Whispering Gum Ave, Eumundi is listed for offers over $1,195,000. It is described as a modernised 1910 Queenslander. 21-23 Webb Rd, Sunshine Beach.The home, which is listed for $22 million has seven bedrooms and is absolute beachfront.The property also has a tennis court and swimming pool. There are large living and dining spaces and a commercial kitchen. It is listed through Nic Hunter of tom Offermann Real Estate – Noosa Heads.Third on the list was a waterfront home at 61 Gillan St, Norman Park. The five-bedroom home is on 1087 sqm with river access.More from newsNew apartments released at idyllic retirement community Samford Grove Presented by Parks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus21 hours ago61 Gillian St, Norman ParkIt has an outdoor entertainment area, swimming pool and a private jetty.The main bedroom in the three-level home has a walk-in robe, ensuite with dual vanities, an oversized shower and freestanding stone bath.last_img read more

Syracuse’s Tiana Mangakahia is a passer one game, a scorer the next

first_imgThree days after Tiana Mangakahia torched Georgia Tech to the tune of a career-high 44 points, then-No. 11 Florida State tried to clamp down on SU’s dynamic point guard.When Mangakahia seemed to slip free of her defender thanks to an on-ball screen, the Seminoles sent help to hedge hard and force the point guard to find an outlet. FSU wasn’t going to let Mangakahia beat them.She still did though, dishing 13 assists, namely to Miranda Drummond, who racked up 38 points and led the Orange to an upset win.“It’s about what we needed,” head coach Quentin Hillsman said. “We needed all 44 points for us to win the game, and she went out and did that. The next game, they kinda sat on her a little harder and she just found her teammates.”Roughly halfway through her inaugural season with Syracuse (14-4, 2-3 Atlantic Coast), Mangakahia has shown an innate ability to flip the switch from scoring to passing. On Jan. 4 against the Yellow Jackets, it was her turn to pile on point after point. Against FSU, she quickly realized she couldn’t be the main scorer and fed Drummond. One way or the other, game by game, Mangakahia can fill whichever role is needed of her.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“When I’m not having a good day,” Mangakahia said, “we can all step up, we can all contribute.”Dan Olson, the director of girlsbasketballreport.com, which is partnered with ESPNW, ranked Mangakahia as the top junior college point guard when she was at Hutchinson Community College. Then, she was entirely pass-first, and Olson called her the “purest of point guards” and a “distributor.”Earlier this season, Mangakahia fit that bill. She started the season with a six-point, 10-assist outing against Morgan State, and didn’t dip below 10 helpers until the ninth game of the season — a 79-39 blowout against Colgate in which Mangakahia played a season-low 28 minutes.Now, though, Mangakahia looks to pass or score based on what she sees from a defense, she said. Against GT, the defense “sagged” when she came off screens. This gave her room to move downhill and attack the basket.Kevin Camelo | Digital Design EditorThree days later, Florida State went out of its way to stop Mangakahia, so she beat them by helping Drummond light it up. Against FSU, the defense dictated Mangakahia’s play, Hillsman said.To slow Mangakahia down, the Seminoles sent an extra defender to the top of the key when she dribbled around a ball screen. If they didn’t show her a double team, the Seminoles hedged the screen hard, slowing Mangakahia enough to let her defender try and fight through the screen.But by choosing to doggedly focus on Mangakahia, the Seminoles left others open.“I did feel like they weren’t letting me get into the lane as much,” Mangakahia said. “… when teams start to take away something, you try something else.”When she is forced into passing, Mangakahia has excelled at making defenses pay — 11 times this season, she has racked up at least 10 assists.Some passes come in the form of drive-and-kicks, when Mangakahia will crash into the lane, causing the defense to collapse and letting her feed an open shooter. In other instances, she’ll bounce a pass to a back-cutting Drummond. When she looks for the bigs down low, Mangakahia will float a lob, letting the lengthy Digna Strautmane or Amaya Finklea-Guity grab it.“I just try and do whatever the defense gives me,” Mangakahia said. “Against Georgia Tech I felt like I could attack them, and I stuck to that.”During a five-game stretch starting in December, Mangakahia failed to eclipse 10 assists in any contest. However, she averaged 24.4 points per game over that span, the most of any Syracuse player.One of those games was a 12-point, nine-assist outing against UNLV on Dec. 22, but the day before, Mangakahia scored 20 against then-No. 5 Mississippi State. A week later, on Dec. 28, she poured in 26 in South Bend, Indiana, when SU faced then-No. 2 Notre Dame.Then, it was 44 against GT. It seemed Mangakahia was poised to continue her hot scoring, to fill it up every game, almost at will.But Florida State decided to slow her scoring, so she decided to pass. Comments Published on January 16, 2018 at 11:27 pm Contact Andrew: aegraham@syr.edu | @A_E_Graham Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

‘Our defense let us down against Nkana’ – Kotoko head coach C.K. Akonnor

first_imgAsante Kotoko head coach, C.K. Akonnor, gave his defence very low ratings after their 3-1 loss at Nkana on Sunday in their third Group C game in the CAF Confederation Cup.Kotoko’s central defensive pair of Abdul Ganiyu and Emmanuel Agyemang Badu failed to deal with the threats of the Nkana forwards on the day and were culpable in the goals the Reds conceded on the day.Speaking after the match, Akonnor said he was not pleased with what he saw and he was very candid in his assessment of the team’s rear guard.“Today, Nkana won the game based on one thing and that was our defence. We were not able to contain the crosses. We had seen the opponent and we knew their strengths and there was the need for us to stop the crosses.”“We lacked an understanding of the aerial situations and it cost us on the day. I had the players who I thought were capable of doing the job for us but they could not deliver and we failed as a team.”Kotoko’s leaky defence had been a concern for observers and even Akonnor as they had conceded goals all through the qualifying phase and their first two group games of the competition.In total, the Porcupine Warriors have given away 11 goals so far in the entire competition (comprising qualifiers and group games).They will hope for a quick turn of fortune as they face Nkana in Kumasi on March 3 in the first of the final three group games.As things stand, Kotoko are bottom of the group on 3 points with Nkana on top on 6 points, with Zesco and Al Hilal on 4 points each.–By: Citi Sportslast_img read more