We often remind students in our law enforcement courses that they should "train for the 1%". Basically, we're telling them to prepare for the worst case (the "one percent" refers to the historically small fraction of bad guys that are proficient killers). We believe that these officers have a responsibility- to themselves, their families, their fellow officers, and society- to maintain this level of preparation. This idea doesn't just apply to cops, though, it applies to all of us. Especially those of us in leadership roles. Are you ready for the worst case? Have you prepared yourself? Your family? Your organization?

If you prepare yourself for the worst one percent, the other 99% will be easy.

Most of us have been very fortunate. We've lived in a world that was generally very safe. The world is changing, though. The ongoing global economic crisis and other factors have created instability and desperation not only in developing countries, but in developed nations as well. Countries that were once fairly safe are now becoming more dangerous. The bad guys are becoming more sophisticated and more aggressive. Business people, tourists, and even humanitarian aid workers are being targeted by terrorists, organized gangs, and opportunistic criminals. Kidnapping for ransom and for human trafficking is becoming big business. Civil unrest and protests are becoming commonplace. The bottom line is that "worst case scenarios" are becoming more likely.

So what should you do? What steps can you take to get prepared? The first big step is to make a plan.


Whether you're the leader of a large organization, the owner of a small business, the patriarch of a family, or an independent, young, single person, you need a plan. It is essential that you know what you're going to do- and how to do it- in the event of an emergency. The plan needs to be communicated to everyone involved. Its a good idea to assign roles or responsibilities to each person. Rehearsing the plan can be very helpful. When that isn't practical, at least talk through what each person will do in various scenarios.

For individuals or families, the plan needs to address: evacuation routes and safe places to go; how family members or friends will communicate with each other and where they will meet if communications go down; sources of clean drinking water and food; supply of any medicines required; preservation of important documents; security for you, your family, and your property.

For organizations, crisis plans need to be as detailed as possible. Each location or office needs to have a plan that is specifically tailored to its unique situation or environment. Those plans need to be integrated into an overall organizational plan. This allows leaders at an organizational HQ to anticipate the actions of its people at affected locations and act quickly and decisively during the critical early hours of an incident.