Jack Briggs: Crisis Planning, Mitigation and Leadership

“What’s your organizational culture in a crisis?  Are you panicky or are you methodical?” -Jack Briggs

Today, we’re continuing the conversation that we started last week with Jack Briggs. Jack retired from the air force as a Three-Star General. After that he worked for NYU as their Vice President for Global Resilience and Security, before accepting the call to be the president and CEO of the Springs Rescue Mission in Colorado Springs.

One of the things that Jack has been doing since retiring from the Air Force is conducting a workshop on Crisis Planning, Mitigation, and Leadership. If you work for an organization that is a member of the CityGate Network, your organization may have had Jack conduct this workshop for its board and staff.

If not you’re in for a treat today. During the next few minutes, Jack’s going to be sharing with us some of the highlights of that workshop and maybe some of his experiences with dealing with crises. If the content of what Jack shares strikes a chord with you, Jack’s been kind enough to share his contact data with us. It will be in the show notes.

[00:00:00] Jack Briggs: So, crises are happening all around us. It’s the organization that sits down before a crisis happens and starts to think about their framework that will tend to do better.

[00:00:11] Tommy Thomas: Today, we’re continuing the conversation that we started last week with Jack Briggs. Jack retired from the air force as a Three-Star General. After that he worked for NYU as their Vice President for Global Resilience and Security, before accepting the call to be the president and CEO of the Springs Rescue Mission in Colorado Springs.

[00:00:34] Tommy Thomas: One of the things that Jack has been doing since retiring from the Air Force is conducting a workshop on Crisis Planning, Mitigation, and Leadership. If you work for an organization that is a member of the CityGate Network, your organization may have had Jack conduct this workshop for its board and staff.

[00:00:53] Tommy Thomas: If not you’re in for a treat today. During the next few minutes, Jack’s going to be sharing with us some of the highlights of that workshop and maybe some of his experiences with dealing with crises. If the content of what Jack shares strikes a chord with you, Jack’s been kind enough to share his contact data with us. It will be in the show notes.

Jack Briggs: Thank you for the opportunity and I’ve enjoyed the discussion so far.  As a former military leader and now and then as the Vice President of Global Resiliency for the 15 campuses in 11 countries at NYU And then finally, now as CEO of a rescue mission where we have a semi volatile population at times, depending on how things are going, it’s not lost on me that crises happen.

[00:01:44] Jack Briggs: Tommy, I’ll ask you a question right off the bat. What’s a crisis to you?

[00:01:47] Tommy Thomas: Maybe when I lose control of something and can’t see my way out.

[00:01:52] Jack Briggs: Okay. All right. So it’s this oppressive thing that happens in your mind is just, it’s like how fast can my mind move to try to solve this thing?

And that’s common. That is essentially the reaction that people have when a crisis occurs. And the way to get past that moment is to have a framework of decision making, an ability to identify and mitigate risk. We talked a little bit about risk already and then what kind of actions you’re gonna want to take right off the bat.

And then finally, I would say that probably one of the things that we don’t think about enough, but we really need to practice before something happens is how do you message what you’re trying to do as you’re working through the crisis. When I look at a crisis gosh, there’s all kinds.

Hurricane Katrina hit a hospital and several patients died.  They were sued. So, it’s a it was a catastrophic loss of life and they were sued. And the reason they were sued, and the reason these folks died is they lost power. They lost power to the facility because their emergency generator was in the basement.

And when it flooded, the neighborhood lost power. And then of course, their emergency generator lost power.  People couldn’t get the power that they needed, and some people expired.

Harvey Weinstein is a great example of a crisis in behavior. If you could have a behavior crisis in your organization where someone makes a mistake that is beyond just “oops, I made a mistake”, but it’s culpable for either an illegal activity or for something that could cause harm to equipment or people.

We have cyber crises all the time in organizations now, because the, at the rescue mission, we have donor information, right? So, we want to keep that secure. If we were to get hacked and breached, that’s a crisis because now we’re exposing data on our donors. And then there’s, you see it all the time, active threats.

It’s people going into schools, it’s people at Walmart. It’s all of those. So, crises are happening all around us. It’s the organization that sits down before a crisis happens and starts to think about their framework that will tend to do better.

When I think about this as a decision maker, a couple of questions I’d like to ask is:

  • What’s your organizational culture in a crisis?  
  • Are you panicky or are you methodical.
  • What organizational structure do you use in a crisis?

Meaning are you gonna use the same structure with the CEO down during a crisis or are you gonna break off a tiger team that’s gonna be your op center? Think about these. Who’s gonna solve what problem in your structure?

Because too often in organizations that haven’t practiced any of this it’s six-year-old soccer, everybody runs to the ball, whatever that is, and they don’t stay in their lane and solve the problem they should solve, whether it’s logistics or communications or whatever. It’s how do you make decisions?

That’s a process. How do you communicate? These are all kind of questions that when I get with a, a group, an organization, we sit down and we peel through these to try to understand from their perspective, how would they answer those questions. And typically we determine gaps when we ask these questions, the process should result in.

A crisis is not something you solve, you don’t solve a crisis, you solve problem.

Something where you have a crisis and a crisis is not something you solve, you don’t solve a crisis, you solve problems. What you have to do is you have to create or build a way to move the crisis into a solvable problem and then have some procedures that you use to solve that kind of problem.

Power outage weather problem a reputational problem. You come up with tools to solve these problems over time. When you have these problems and you do it routinely, the problems just become issues that you know how to deal with. And then once you’ve done that over a period of time, quite frankly, what used to be a crisis just becomes a day-to-day thing.

It’s gonna happen. You have your PR procedures in place, and you take care of them. So you decrease the drama and the trauma of a crisis to a day-to-day thing.  The first thing to do in that process is to understand risk. And you heard me say this, like what is at risk? But another thing is how much risk can you tolerate?

[00:06:15] Jack Briggs: Now, I gotta be honest with you.   I was a fighter pilot. I have always been an athlete. I have always been a bit of a risk taker. My risk tolerance is high. I need to know that because I might see something happen and go, eh, I, we’ll deal with it. I need people around me who are not at the same.

[00:06:34] Jack Briggs: This is what diversity is about. It’s finding people that are different than you and bringing them into the team with the same objective, but seeing it from a slightly different perspective because they’re gonna see things that you don’t. And that’s key because there’s always blind spots. There’s three I use b basically three magic words to determine what’s at risk and how I want to address this.

Three magic words:  Probability, Likelihood and Severity

In the three magic words. The first is probability. So probability means if I flip a coin, the probability is gonna turn up heads. It’s 50%, right? But I also use the word likelihood. Let’s say I take that same coin and I flip it a hundred times, and 80 times it comes up heads, okay? The probability that I’m gonna flip it that next time is 50%.

That’s the math, but the likelihood that it’s gonna come up, heads, again, is higher. And you have organizational likelihoods. Let me give you an example. Your front door is unlocked and is exposed to the street. It is more likely that someone could come in with a knife than if you had the door locked. The likelihood is higher.

[Now, the probability may be very low for the area that you live in, but the likelihood is higher. . And the last thing is severity. I mentioned this before, just what is at risk? How severe is the risk? So when you define that risk, now you start to mitigate things. You say, okay, we’re gonna lock the door, or we’re gonna have a scan, a scanner, or something like that.

But you can’t mitigate every risk out because somebody could hide a knife coming into your building. So you have to plan for how you’re gonna respond to that. So when we talk about the elements of decision making, I will tell you the first one is the perfect is the enemy of the good. Okay? All too often people are trying to get the perfect decision.

I used to say in higher ed that my academic friends were the smartest people I’d ever met. But when it came to crises, they loved to admire the problem.  What does the library have to say about this? Is there any good research on this crisis? And I would say to them, we don’t have time for that, we have to make the 80% solution or the 70% solution, and we have to keep moving because our time available may not be as much as we would like, or how many resources do we have available?

Another one is when you’re doing decision making these ideas of blind spots, you need to have people in the room that see it different than you and feel it different than you. And I mean that by gut feel. Okay, let so I’ll ask you, Tommy, when you make decisions based on their, your gut, is it typically turn out well or not so good?

[00:09:26] Tommy Thomas: Oh, me.  I don’t know. Probably not as good as it could have.

[00:09:30] Jack Briggs: Okay. I will tell you that my, I have a bad gut. All right. And here’s why. Because my risk tolerance is so high.  When I see something happen, I’m willing to wade into it because my risk tolerance is so high. It’s not that I’m a bad person because I have a bad gut.  It’s just my risk tolerance is so high, I recognize that. Somebody may be super risk intolerant, and so every time they see something, they’re like, oh, we can’t do that.

You need people around you that are feeling it slightly different than you, so that you get that balanced and they have to have the confidence that when they speak up, you’re not gonna take their head off.

Tommy Thomas  How do you balance that? Somebody like you who’s got a high-risk tolerance, and somebody who’s afraid they open the door? Hopefully you’ll have too many of those on your team, but how do you negotiate that?

[00:10:18] Jack Briggs: For me, because I know that my gut’s not all that good, I try to do the opposite of what my gut says.

So if my gut says, let’s do it, I’m like, wait a minute, maybe we need to think about that. And I’ll go get somebody else’s opinion, right? So I build a team of people around me who are empowered to speak up. No, I have the final authority and responsibility. That’s key. I own it, but I’m also acknowledging the fact that I don’t know all the answers.

As we move into these things, when we talk about decision making when something happens to you and it surprises you, you’re it. What fires in your head is your amygdala, which is way back here in the old part of your head, in your brain. It’s the small thing, and that’s that fight or flight thing.

Something happens and it surprises you and you’ve probably had that happen to you. Maybe you step off a street corner to cross a side a road and a car almost hits you because you didn’t see it, and you’ll freeze for just that moment. And what you’ve gotta do is you’ve gotta get yourself into a process where, when that happens, you start to make decisions that may be even automated because your decision making is back here and you’re frozen and you gotta get it up here in your frontal lobe, which is where you speak and rationalize and problem solve, right?

You’ve got to get your decision making from there to there. And there’s ways to do that. The very first thing is you must control your reaction. So I’ll use my hands. Okay? if something happens, and this is the scale of the top, of the scale of reaction. Okay. And I react right here As the leader, I give everybody around me, almost no room.

Now, why am I, why is my, are my fingers above my reaction? Because the natural tendency of your staff and people that work for you is they wanna react just a little bit more than you do. And it’s psychological. It’s because they want to show you that they’re as bought into whatever it is or more than you are, right?

They wanna show you their commitment. So, if I react here and their little space is right here, this is called panic.  What I have to do as a leader is I have to react way down here as low as I can, and then push it even lower every time so that I give them all this space to respond.

To take that moment to absorb what’s happening, not use the present body reaction, but my mental past, present, and future process to act, not to react, but to respond, right? And so you build these processes in.  One of the best ways to do that is to lay out some things for your staff. The first is, “what’s the information I as the leader want to know?”

I need to tell them that ahead of time so that when something happens and we respond, that they know what to respond with. And the first thing that my staff needs to tell me when something’s wrong is anybody hurt? Is anything broke? Is anybody in jail? Okay. They know that’s the answer. That is the first answer.

And what that does is it starts to move them from here. to hear because they know respond, responding wise. That’s what I’m gonna ask. Now they start to think, they’re starting to think about the next thing to answer that. The second is my intent. My intent is to protect people, protect property, and protect our reputation.

As a nonprofit, my reputation is key. I can have bad stuff happen, but if my reputation is I can handle it, I, my, my reputation actually can increase during a crisis, as an example.  I like to practice this with tabletops with people. So, I’ll have a staff meeting and I’ll just throw out a problem and we’ll walk through it.

I’ll talk about how to do that here in just a second. Phone trees. You should know how to call everybody who is gonna help you solve the problem. The issue today is, and I’ll pull it out is this thing. (Jack is referencing his cell phone) Yeah. So when I want to use this to make a phone call, I just tap somebody’s name. What if I don’t have my phone or what if the battery is dead?

Do I know their phone number, like their real number, like the digits of their number? Probably not. So, I have to have that written down somewhere on a piece of paper that’s near my desk. So, I’m literally pulling from underneath my desk. I can’t really, it’s hard to see. Yeah. But that’s a phone tree on the back of a checklist that I have that’s laminated.

[00:15:08] Tommy Thomas: And everybody’s got one of those,

[00:15:09] Jack Briggs:  For all the people that you’re gonna call? Yes, that’s what we have. And it’s got their phone number on it.  If I have to use somebody else’s phone, or if I have to get a land phone or I don’t know, a payphone, I, you find one you would, that’s what you would do.

The last thing here in tools is know your employees. So there’s three tiers of employees. They’re the first tier, are the people that are, have to be at work to do what they do. So at the Rescue Mission, that’s shelters, supervisors, they gotta be there. The second group are people who don’t have to be at work to do what they do, but they still have something to contribute during the event.

That could be maybe my marketing guys who turn into my press guys and my media people. Okay? The third are people that don’t need to be at work and don’t have anything to do at this moment. But that doesn’t mean they’re not important because they’re the backfill for the first two groups, right? So maybe it’s, I don’t know, somebody in finance or something like that we don’t need right now during the crisis.

But if we go longer than 12 hours, I need somebody who can fill in for the folks that need to go home and sleep, right? So I, we cross train people so that third tier becomes the backup for the other first two tiers.

So, when we do this I’ll talk about this now, this idea of a checklist, and I just gave you one very simple one, which is anything broke or anybody hurt, anything broke, anybody in jail. But we also have, as I mentioned, these checklists. And these checklists are for senior leaders and for our point of service, meaning where people are actually engaged with clients and they’re slightly different.

The Importance of a Checklist

[00:16:51] Jack Briggs: But the idea is the same. If you have something happen and you have a checklist that you can use, the military uses it, the medical community uses it. What it does is a checklist identifies threats ahead of time. So it reduces risk. It lays out the steps that you’re gonna take ahead of time so that you have a process.

It’s a common reference for everybody, so everybody knows what everybody else is doing. So you don’t have to play six year old soccer.  It enhances communication because now I know if you’re running a checklist, you don’t have to tell me everything you’ve done, you can just tell me the checklist is complete and it’s done. And I know all the steps that you did in there. And it’s proven, like I said, in the military aviation medicine. I’ll give you two examples. The first is, as a pilot, if I want to land, what do you think one of my checklist items is,

[00:17:45] Tommy Thomas: Can you see the runway?

[00:17:46] Jack Briggs:  Okay, that’s a good one.  Find the place you’re gonna land. Yeah, that’s a good one. The second one that I like to say is put the gear down. Yeah, okay. The landing gear, because if you don’t put the landing gear down and land, that is called a crash, right? That’s not a landing, that’s a crash. This process that pilots go through is a checklist.

So if they don’t forget things, Medicine. There’s somebody in that or in the operating room that’s running a checklist of how much equipment was used. Why do you think they do that?

[00:18:27] Tommy Thomas: I have an idea. What’s left for the next surgery?

[00:18:29] Jack Briggs: That’s one thing is yeah, equipment, supply, maintenance.

But it’s also – Have they accounted for all of the sponges that they have? Oh, so that they don’t leave a sponge in you or a scalpel. So there’s someone detached back from the whole process cuz a surgeon is doing this four or five times a day and his muscle memory right is sponge in, sponge out, sponge in, sponge out.

He’s repeating it so many times that he’s not gonna be able to account for it every time.   So, they use a checklist at the end before they close everybody up. They say, okay, we, we used eight sponges.  I have seven sponges in the, the bowl. Oh, we’re missing a sponge.

Oh, there it is. Pull it out, put it in there. Okay, now we’ve got all eight. That’s this checklist mentality. So it does all of these things. It helps reduce risk, it helps you, make those first steps from here to here. And it helps everybody be on the same sheet of music. So checklists are really a valuable way to do this.

The OODA Loop – Observe, Orient, Decide, Act

The other piece to this is how do you make a decision Now, the Air Force, there’s this guy named John Boyd, and he came up with this thing called the OODA loop. The first O is to observe. You observe what is happening. The second O is to orient. You orient your processes and your procedures to what is happening.

Nothing will ever go perfectly right on top. You have to adjust just slightly to get it to work. The third thing, the D, so it’s observe, orient, decide what you’re gonna do. Make a decision for goodness sakes that I tell people this all the time.  Make a decision. Make one.  If you’re not sure which one to make err to the conservative, but make one.

Don’t just hang there and then act. And once you’ve acted, you’ve observed oriented, you’ve decided now you’ve acted. Now observe the reaction to your action and do this process again. The speed of this initially is very fast because you’re trying to get ahead of the problem. But as you start to get the problem in focus, it will slow down.

This is how you slow a crisis down. by making this pathway of decision making, right? And you’re using your checklist as you do this, and your checklist is informed by the risk tolerance and the risk that you identify that your organization may be at in terms of probability, likelihood, and severity. So, this kind of all nest together, right?

Four Questions about Messaging

  1. What do we know?
  2. What don’t we know?
  3. What are we going to do about it?
  4. Who else needs to know?

Last thing we’ll talk about is messaging. So there are four key questions. These are the E four things that my staff, once they’ve gotten themselves into this UTA loop business, is these four questions. The first is, what do we know? Now, when I say that, what do we know? As a fact? Don’t hypothesize.

Don’t tell me what you think. I want to know what do we know? And that could be a very small little group to start with. The second question, and this is probably the most important question of it all, is what don’t we know?  This is probably big, but you gotta empower your staff to be able to tell you. I don’t know, honestly, I don’t know.

Then the third question is what are we doing about it? That’s a legitimate question. We, what are we gonna do to fill in the gaps of what we don’t know? And then the last one is, who else needs to know? Now, a lot of CEOs will not understand what I’m saying here, not because they’re not smart, it’s because they’re focused at the high level.

What they need to remember is folks lower in their organization typically are working bilaterally or laterally or with peers, maybe even peers outside the organization that would probably need to know about this. But as the CEO, I wouldn’t know that. So, you gotta empower folks throughout the chain to be able to say who else needs to know about this?

That group over there.  For us it might be the Red Cross or it might be another shelter or it might be, something like that where we gotta tell them because they may have to take clients or something. I don’t know. So when we talk about this, the second element to there’s really three elements to this in terms of communication.

Three Rings of Communication

  1. The People affected by the event
  2. The People who can affect the event
  3. Those who are neither affected by the event, nor can they affect the event.

The first is those four Q key questions. The second is, are the three rings of communication. So the first ring of communication is, let’s imagine you have on a piece of paper, a star in the center of the pace paper. Okay. That star is the event. Okay. And I have, I draw a circle around that star those people.

Are the people affected by the event? Now let’s go do higher ed here, and it’s a dorm fire. Okay. So who would that be?

[00:23:28] Tommy Thomas: It’d be the residents and the resident advisors.

[00:23:33] Jack Briggs: Yeah, the people in the dorm, right? The second group of people would be a circle around that first circle that I did. Just a little bit farther out, a concentric circle.

[00:23:44] Jack Briggs: These people can affect the event. Who might that be?

[00:23:50] Tommy Thomas: The fire department. The police department. First responders.

[00:23:52] Jack Briggs: First responders, right? And then the third circle is even greater than that. And it’s around it All. Those are the people that are neither affected by, nor can they affect the event, but they still need to be informed.

[00:24:09] Jack Briggs: Who might that be? That’s

[00:24:10] Tommy Thomas: the general public or the parents of the parents.

How do you handle the Press?

[00:24:14] Jack Briggs: Parents. Your kid is safe. They can’t do anything about it, but they want to know. The other group at that is, is the press. The press cannot help you. But they want to know. So how do you talk to them?

And I will tell you that that can be the stickiest thing because people will respond to the press. So here’s my press statement. I’ll just give it out to you right now cuz this is my press statement. We’re aware of the situation, we’re taking the appropriate actions and working with our community partners.

[00:24:43]When we have further information, we will inform the community. Done. That gives me about an hour. . Okay. Now I have had, when this happens, I’ve had reporters say, so you’ll call me back when you know more. I said, Nope. When we know more information, we will let the community know. I don’t, because I don’t work for the reporter.

[00:25:04] Yeah. That they have a job. I totally get what their job is. But I don’t work for you. I work for the people that I’m trying to help and the people who can affect this situation. So how do we communicate to these people so that, that inner circle, the ones who are affected by it, you have to have some sort of big voice is what I like to call it.

[00:25:25] It’s a loud thing that says, get out of the building. Maybe it’s a fire alarm, maybe it’s a stereo system, or something that announces it to the second medium voice. How do you talk to people who are gonna address the problem? In this particular case, it’s 9 1 1, but maybe it’s a internal communications capacity that you have with email or teams or Slack, or you need to have something that you can communicate internally with to address the problem.

[00:25:52] And the third thing is the small voice. And I like the small voice because it’s people to people. Communication. You’re now getting into the people that are involved. How are you going to solve this problem with the people that are going to help you do that? You need to know what you’re gonna say. So you should have a canned sort of thing.

[00:26:11] You’re gonna tell the press as an example. I use that, right? The way you practice all of this is you do this with tabletops, and tabletops are simply, you gather your team you, they’re sitting around a table and you say, what if this happened? So let’s say this I hear reports of loud bangs that sound like gunshots in the courtyard of my rescue mission.

What we know is that, and we also know that people are running around and panicking. We also know that we see people lying around in the courtyard. Now, if you’re familiar with the rescue mission, you will know that people lie around, yeah. , that’s what they do, right? So that’s maybe that’s not a shooter.

[00:26:55] We don’t know, right? But we know that those are all facts. What we don’t know is this, is it a shooting? , what’s the impact of client, staff and neighbors? Has emergency services been called? Okay what are we gonna do about it? We’re gonna communicate to our staff safety and security. We’re gonna activate our emergency protocols or our crisis protocols.

[00:27:17] Jack Briggs: We’re gonna get our checklists out, right? And we’re gonna start to evaluate the situation. What do we observe? What do we orient ourselves to? What do we decide? What do we act? We get that loop going. And then who else needs to know? Community leaders, the mayor my board of directors, maybe the board members need to know.

And then finally, the press. Now again, I’m not gonna reach out to the press. If they call me, then I’ll talk to you and this is just me as the CEO throwing this out on the table. And then we work through these and we just practice going through that process. and then periodically we’ll do a little, more live activity.

You make sure that people around, you know that’s gonna happen. And that leads to the, basically the last thing, which is partnerships and resources. You don’t have to do this alone. You should pull in your local law enforcement and emergency services, your office of emergency management for your county or city.

[00:28:10]  If you reach out to them and say, Hey, can you walk this with me? They’d be love. They’d love to, they get money to do it actually. I mean that literally they get money to do this. And then you’ll use that for your planning and exercises and to build communications tools. There’s apps that work, there’s, if you get too complicated, you’ll probably get out in front of your own headlights and doing that thing.

That’s really when we talk. Decision making in a crisis. If you can build a framework, if you can identify the risks, what is at risk in your organization and what’s the, the probability and the likelihood and the severity. What mitigation steps are you gonna take? What plans are you gonna create for the things that you can’t mitigate?

[00:28:51] Jack Briggs: And then develop and practice acting through this process of checklists and this idea of observing, orienting, deciding and acting and  observing and orienting and deciding and acting. And then build some messaging capacity for those that are affected, those that can affect it. And then the general public, or, those that can’t fix it, but want to know you’ve got this kind of a package that you can then practice periodically.

If you do that you put yourself in your staff. Into a situation where a lot of these things that were crises over time become those problems that become just stuff, issues that you deal with, that you deal with on a day-to-day basis. And they are no longer crises.

[00:29:41] Tommy Thomas: We can get in trouble with gross generalizations, but what percentage of the nonprofit community do you think is aware of this or already? Maybe that’s a be better way to put it – are ready for the crisis?

[00:29:57] Jack Briggs:  I would say that some of the larger, larger nonprofits actually have offices that do this.

You think about a national nonprofit probably has folks that do this. My talk really is more for those smaller organizations that don’t have the staffing to, to do this independently. And how do you do this as a, a smaller organization? And those organizations, the numbers aren’t large.

Hope is not a plan – It’s just Hope

Yeah. I’ll just put it that way. They’re hoping, which is, hope is not a plan, by the way. It’s not a plan. It just a hope. And so if you can do a little bit of this, you will instill confidence in the rescue mission world and in a lot of nonprofits that are social services, safety.  Security is hospitality.

No one asks me what my volleyball court looks like, when they’re gonna be a client here, they wanna know if they’re gonna be safe. Yeah. So this is part of that.

[00:30:53] Tommy Thomas: Can you offhand, can you think of a crisis where you think the people responded and it and the proof was in the pudding, and then probably more where they didn’t and the proof was was in that pudding also?

[00:31:07] Jack Briggs: Oh gosh. We’ve had so many of these shooters. But I’ll, okay, so I’ll give you the Parkland shooting, right? That’s a Florida thing. A disaster, right? Just horrific, but there were acts of heroism and acts of decision making that saved people’s lives.

One of the, in one of the hallways where the perpetrator was, and it’s as an example people running all over the place inside the facility because when he was shooting, it was echoing, right? And so people thought the shots were coming from one direction and they were running towards them and away from them.

And there were two teachers, one teacher stuck their head out and and saw people running by and was grabbing them and bringing them in the classroom and put them in a storage closet now in, in the room. And had tens of people in that closet, right? A couple of classrooms down. A teacher was outside the room and froze, saw the shooter, froze shooter went that direction.

And so it, it’s e even inside an event, you’re gonna see things that happen. So training is always key. If you can get people to, there’s the run, hide, fight of a thing. If you can get away. That is the thing, right? Escape if you can. There’s no reason to take anybody on.

[00:32:33] Jack Briggs: There’s none of that, right? If you can get away, if you gotta hide lock your door jam stuff in front of it be quiet. And if you gotta fight, you gotta fight, right? And fight dirty. I, I tell people one of my, one of my favorite pieces of equipment in a fight, a fire extinguisher.

Fire extinguishers are awesome. 100% of people don’t like to have foam sprayed in their face a hundred percent. if you know you’ve got one of those that’s got like a little hose on it and that person’s coming in, you can surprise ’em from an angle and spray it right in their face.

That will incapacitate them for long enough for you to maybe tackle ’em or hit ’em with the, the fire extinguisher or do something like that. But you gotta cheat. This is not a fair fight at this point. that’s not really the thing that I hope people take away from this, because what you can do way ahead way, way ahead, is have the doors locked so that the guy can’t get in.

On a couple of these cases, the perpetrators have just walked in because somebody’s kept the door open by jamming it open. because they don’t like the idea of having to swipe in or, turn a key or something. Prevent a lot. Yeah. You can prevent a lot of this ahead of time.

[00:33:51] Tommy Thomas: Jack, this is great. This is great council. I’m sure the people that come to your CityGate seminars and workshops, walk away better equipped and thank you. Thank you. Hope yeah, this, I’ve had three or four people on and we’ve talked about this kind of thing, and I don’t think we can ever hear enough about it.  So, thank you for that part you’re playing.

[00:34:13] Jack Briggs: If your listeners have any kind of questions or anything like that, it’s [email protected] and just send me a note and we’ll have a chat.

[00:34:29] Jack Briggs: Yeah. And that way if people wanna reach out and just chat about it, I’m happy. This is my goal, is to talk to people about this and help them understand their situation a little bit better.

I hope you enjoy listening to this conversation as much as I did Jack’s comments on the importance of having a checklist brought back memories of someone else who lived and died by the checklist. In my mid-twenties, I was living in Birmingham, and I had a roommate who had been a C-130 pilot in Vietnam.

He didn’t talk much about the war, but I can remember times when he would mention the checklist and how he would mentally go through the checklist as he prepared to land the C-130.

Jack mentioned his contact data, [email protected]. I’ve included this in the episode notes. If you look at the episode notes, you will find that rather than attempt to write cryptic show notes, I’ve started to include a transcript of the conversation.

Thank you for listening. I hope that you will share Jack’s message on crisis planning, mitigation, and leadership with the nonprofit leaders in your network.

“I need people around me who are not all the same.  This is what diversity is about. It’s finding people that are different than you and bringing them into the team with the same objective but seeing it from a slightly different perspective because they’re gonna see things that you don’t.” -Jack Briggs


Links and Resources

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Next Gen Nonprofit Leadership with Tommy Thomas

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