Don’t Let Terrorism Succeed: Get Back To Work!

It might seem insensitive, given the recent tragic deaths in New York and Washington, but it’s not. If you take a step back and think about it, in a time of war we all need to act like “Rosie the Riveter” and get back to work in order to rebuild the economy.

They Declared War on Our Economy ? It’s Economic Terrorism

Let there be no doubt in anyone’s mind: it’s no accident that the prime target of the terrorist attack was both the symbolic and actual center of the financial economy of the United States. As citizens, employees, and managers we can’t be na?ve. Realize that no terrorists group is strong enough to hurt us militarily. They wouldn’t even try. The terrorists specifically targeted the Wall Street area and the World Trade Center, not just with the goal of destroying buildings, but with a much more dastardly objective: to kill our financial leaders and to disrupt our economy and financial markets.

The Goal of the Terrorist: “It’s the Economy Stupid”

We are the business and economic leader of world. We are the symbols of successful capitalism. Those that wish to harm us could have killed many more people by crashing into a packed sports stadium. Instead, with deliberate intent, they struck at the heart of our economy. To put it bluntly, the terrorists sought to kill our financial leaders and to distract and disrupt the thousands of hardworking individuals that run our financial markets. They struck with the intent to crush consumer confidence and to drive us into recession, because that is where terrorism can have the biggest impact, if we let it!

What Can You Do?

Although recent terrorist events may have occurred thousands of miles away from where you work, you need to realize that the terrorists were aiming directly at you and your wallet. Each of us can’t rebuild the World Trade Center brick by brick. However there are many things individuals, employees, managers, customers, and consumers can do to help us win this war against our economy. What can you do to thwart the undermining of our financial institutions and our economy? Start with these nine steps.

Nine Economic Weapons for Defeating Terrorism

  1. Time for mourning. Yes, we need time to mourn our dead. Individual managers and corporations can do their part by allowing us the time and the flexibility we need to get over our hurt and anxiety. Managers can use this catastrophe as an opportunity to show they care by asking workers individually what they need to get over their anxiety and then providing it to the point where it exceeds their expectations. As individual employees, we must be strong and rapidly get back to work, because the longer we delay, the greater the terrorist victory.
  2. Work smarter. As individual employees, we also need to work harder and smarter in order to increase our productivity. By doing so we send an immediate message to the terrorists. That message is, you can kill thousands of our citizens but the remaining employees, union members, government workers, and managers will respond by working together and increasing our nation’s output to beyond what it was before you struck.
  3. Be confident. As consumers we were targets, not directly from an airplane crash, but indirectly through the loss of our confidence in the economy. We can’t let the terrorists win. Instead as consumers, we must act as soldiers in the economic war. We need to remain confident in our economic and financial institutions. We need to keep spending and to urge others to spend wisely. In addition, we need to plan for the future, buy American, talk up the economy, and remain optimistic.
  4. Keep traveling. One way terrorists expect to stifle our economy is by slowing our transportation system through the delays caused by increased security and an increased fear of flying. But we need to be strong and to continue to travel. We must meet any delays we encounter with a smile. Individuals need to overcome their fears of flying and keep commerce moving. We need to show our support for the airline industry in general and for the employees of United Airlines and American Airlines specifically, who have suffered through great personal adversity. They lost many friends and colleagues, but they also got back to work and kept on flying.
  5. Buy stock. The terrorists aimed their flying bomb at Wall Street to depress our stock and bond markets. Our natural reaction during these times of uncertainty is to be cautious. But that only works in the terrorist’s favor. Instead, we as consumers and fund managers need to be confident and increase our purchase of stocks and bonds in order to immediately build the stock market back to a level higher than where it was last week, before the terrorists hit.
  6. Buy from the targeted firms. Both companies and consumers need to come to the aid of firms that were targeted as tenants of the World Trade Center. Corporate purchasing managers and consumers need to go out of their way in order to do business with these “damaged” firms so they can get quickly back on their feet. If you are already one of their customers, you need to be tolerant and understanding, because it will take them a little while to get back on their feet. If you are not a customer of these targeted firms, become one. Buy their products and services and recommend them to others.
  7. Visit New York and Washington D.C. The terrorists had as part of their intent the weakening of the economies of our great cities. Terrorist want you to cancel business and tourist trips. They want companies to cancel conventions and conferences. But don’t let the bad guys win. Find a way to visit these great cities in order to build their economies and make them strong again. If you can’t visit, encourage your friends to and instead buy products made in these great cities.
  8. Cooperate and help out. If you are a competitor to one of the targeted firms, take a step back and give them a break for a short period. Instead of competing, cooperate and help them rebuild by lending them office space and equipment. Provide them with advice and resources. Help them by saying positive things about them to your colleagues and customers. Become a “cooperative competitor.” Once they’re back on their feet you can begin competing again.
  9. Don’t buy from the enemy. When the perpetrators are identified, let’s hit them with our economic punch as well as our military punch. Refuse to buy products from and to travel to countries that harbor terrorists. Encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same. On the positive side, support the nations that cooperate in fighting the terrorist with your dollars.

What Does This All Mean?

We can’t let the terrorist deal us a crushing economic blow. As individuals we must be strong. And even though our natural reaction is to be anxious as a result of this catastrophe, we need to do the exact opposite. As employees we need to work harder, work smarter and cooperate with our managers for the common good. As consumers we need to be optimistic and spent wisely. That there be no doubt that the target of the terrorist was the economy. They didn’t attack a military base. Instead, they attacked the very foundation of our financial system, in order to cripple our economic way of life. We must recognize this new enemy and its real target. Then we must respond just like “Rosie the Riveter” did during World War II. We need to get back to work…and the time is now!

About Dr John Sullivan

Dr John Sullivan is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high business impact; strategic Talent Management solutions to large corporations.

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