Question: Suppose we had known about the problem in the middle of the night, what could we have done ? Nothing! At least not on the operational level. Everything! Especially at the information level. We should have been able to inform our uppermanagement, eventhough it was already after midnight. All (upper) managers have Blackberries. Suppose your COO has troubles falling asleep that particular night. He hears on the 3 AM news there is a major problem at the airport endangering the supply chain of all airport customers. Wouldn't you like him to find already a message about the problem on his Blackberry? Just to show you are on top of things ? I would. The COO knows nothing can be done, that it indeed will hurt sales, yes, but in the meantime he is reassured he has the right people on the job, just because they know, or show they know, or pretend they know it is important to share critical info, so at least immediate action can be taken first thing in the morning. It is this feeling of reassurance that ultimately will stay behind in the mind of the COO. Not the fire.
(picture: the destroyed technical warehouse at Brussels airport disrupting the supply chain of The Wall Street Journal Europe)
Look for disasters.