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Bill Gray on Preparing for Disasters

November 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Bill Gray, the retired Co-Chief Executive Officer of Ogilvy Group North America, served as the Chairman of the Board for the American Red Cross of Greater New York from 2002 to 2008. The former executive continues to act as Chairman Emeritus and to promote Red Cross programs.

September is National Preparedness Month, and the American Red Cross wants everyone to prepare for unexpected disasters. In a disaster situation, good preparation can reduce panic, hasten evacuations, and save lives. The organization wants every American household to build an emergency kit, prepare a disaster plan, and stay on top of news events for their area.

A good disaster kit should have food and water supplies for several days, a light source, a battery-operated radio with new batteries, any necessary medications, and first aid supplies. It should also be easy to load into a car or carry onto a bus in an emergency evacuation situation. The Red Cross recommends that the kit contain 3 gallons of water for each member of the household and a week’s worth of necessary medications.

In addition to packing a disaster kit, families should create an evacuation plan and designate meeting sites in case of separation. They should divide up emergency tasks and practice them. In an evacuation situation, there is not much time to think. A well-practiced emergency plan can help guide scared families through the process.

Finally, the Red Cross wants people to stay informed. Pay attention to weather alerts and other emergency announcements. If your local authorities order an evacuation, do not hesitate. Get your family and get out as quickly as you can. Unfortunately, we cannot always predict disasters, but we can certainly prepare for them in advance.

Advice for New CEOs

By Bill Gray

Bill Gray was Co-CEO of Ogilvy Group North America and has dozens of years of experience in the business world.

One of the most daunting transitions in the life of a successful businessperson has to be when that person becomes the CEO of a company for the first time. They suddenly find everyone reporting to them, begging for their time, and even though this may feel as if they are in a position of authority, they still have to answer to the board. But there are a few tips to help new CEO’s navigate through the world of modern business.

1.) Remember, you are not micromanager in chief. Whatever position you were in before you became CEO likely had you throwing yourself full on into your projects, tweaking them until they seemed perfect. While that impulse to micromanage your work might come naturally, if you’re running a company of any size, you’ll be unable to keep an eye on everything. So save your attention for the most important tasks. Your time as CEO is a time to think of the big picture, not the small one.

2.) Trust your people. You can buck the tendency to micromanage by having faith that the people who report to you, and the people who report to them, will do their jobs and do them well.

3.) Social media is your friend. If you are in change of a large, international company, you might find it difficult to foster a relationship between you and the employees you never see. Social media solves that problem. Pitch Facebook and Twitter updates to your company’s workforce. It will help keep morale high.