Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Two events this past week provide a strong comparison of how to handle a crisis: the heroic landing of the U.S. Airways jet on the Hudson River, and the release of  more money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).  The first is the story of how a crisis is defused  by levelheaded action. The second story demonstrates just the opposite.

First the Hudson River heroics, the pilot,  “Sully” Sullenberger, safely crash-landed the plane into the river, after geese apparently were sucked into the engines.  The 155 passengers and crew were safely evacuated from the plane.

According to a CNN.com story, “An official who heard tape recordings of the radio traffic from Flight 1549 reported the pilot was extraordinarily calm during the event.

“There was no panic, no hysterics,” the official said. “It was professional, it was calm, it was methodical. It was everything you hoped it could be.”

Prior to ditching the jet, the pilot discussed with the air-traffic controller several options, then decided to land in the Hudson River.  After splashing down and evacuating the plane, Captain Sully WALKED the cabin twice to ensure no one remained aboard. Only then did he make his own way to safety.

This crisis was marked by calm deliberation; options weighed, decisions made, and calm, deliberate follow-up by the captain to ensure that everyone was safe and sound.

Contrast that to the release on the same day of $350 billion, representing the second tranche of the bank bailout money by the U.S. Senate.  A Gallup poll conducted January 13 noted, “A majority of Americans (62%) say Congress should block President-elect Obama's request to release the remaining $350 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds until more details are provided about how the funds will be spent.”

Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.