How NOT to Manage a Crisis

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My manager apologized for coming in late for the meeting.  She came from her home at Marikina but got stuck in traffic because she couldn’t use the LRT-2 commuter train.  The LRT-2 station nearest to her home has been closed since October when two (2) rectifier transformers tripped and caused a fire.  (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/four-4-starting-points-getting-reliability-you-want-ellery-samuel-lim/)

The Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) proudly testified in a congressional hearing that the Marikina station and two others would reopen in June 2020, about a week ahead of schedule (https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1233945/shuttered-lrt-2-stations-to-reopen-by-june).  They assured the Philippine Congress that the bidding to purchase the replacement transformers has finished and they just needed to hire a full-time consultant specialist.  The LRTA notified Congress, however, that trains may run below par at the onset. 

The closing of three (3) LRT train stations constituted a crisis for commuters. But after more than four (4) months, there is yet no purchase order for the transformers.  Worse, the LRTA warned that trains may run at limited speed and schedule when the stations reopen. 

This is a good example of how NOT to manage a crisis. 

No sense of urgency.  The LRTA proudly declares they’re done with the bidding after FOUR months.  How long does it take to find the best vendor to buy the transformers from especially in a time of crisis?  Maybe four (4) weeks, but not four (4) months!

No competent person to handle the technical ramifications.  Saying that a full-time consultant specialist is needed for the installation of new transformers implies that the LRT-2 has no qualified technical people to begin with. How can a commuter railway system survive without technically competent people to oversee operations?  How does one select a vendor without technically competent people evaluating the bids?

And how does one assure operational reliability for the long-term? 

With no permanently assigned and qualified technical people and with a management approach that shows no rush to restore service, the LRT-2 commuter train is destined to be unreliable, unproductive, and expensive, all of which commuters and taxpayers would end up shouldering the burdens.  

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