Critical Decision-Making for the “New Normal”

Have you ever been in a situation where you needed to make a critical decision without having much time to think it over? It can be a heart-stopping moment that raises your adrenaline levels, especially if it is life or death.

Do or Dive.

Once upon a time, I was scuba diving off the beautiful island of Ireland. On this trip I had not yet finished my final PADI dive certification. At about sixty feet beneath the surface, and while using mostly rented equipment, I noticed my air levels were getting low. I beckoned to my buddy and began to ascend. On the way up, my weight belt suddenly slipped down around my ankles and fins. I grabbed it just before it came off, but it threw me into a series of somersaults. As I wrestled to hold on, now upside down, neither rising nor falling, but consuming more air, I looked deep into the abyss where my fellow divers were still congregating. 

If I let it fall, I risked injuring one of them. This would also result in me, most likely fatally, torpedoing to the surface. I had to quickly figure out a way of saving myself and protecting my fellow divers. With my air critically low, and with great difficulty, I maneuvered the belt off and over my fins and held onto it by linking it through my arms. I then carried out an emergency, controlled swimming ascent, and finally boarded the dive boat – utterly exhausted.

Be Prepared.

As the Scout motto says, “preparation is everything.”  Having a plan, A, B, C, etc., is critical. Using older dive equipment got me in trouble. I never dreamed that would happen to me. I “assumed” it would work. In the same way, a weak Control System strategy will get you in trouble. A burgeoning “new normal” is ransomware attacks. Review your Cyber Security strategies, TODAY.  Not tomorrow. Assume that someone will get in. What can and will they do next? 

ACT – Assess. Confer. Time.  

Assess – If you do get yourself in trouble, pause, assess your situation and options. Try to step back and see the big picture. Quickly take notes of what happened, any changes that were made, the pre- and post-states. They will be needed later. 

Confer – Reach out internally and externally to experts in the field. The latter are more ethically minded than you might think and have a fix it first approach. Better companies want to help you, not sit back and say, I told you so.

Time – Do not hang around weighing up peripheral aspects. Sometimes a fear to admit failure or fear of the cost may delay your response, making the situation much worse.

We are always here to help. Honest consultation or help if you need it.

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First published by Smart Industry, part of the Putman Media Group:

Pete Diffley, Senior Manager Global Partnerships – Pete joined Trihedral at the end of 2019 and brings with him 30 years of experience in the automation industry, most recently being the Director of Systems Engineering Solutions for Xylem.  During this time, he worked closely with Trihedral on the development of the screen templates and interfaces for the MultiSmart Intelligent Pump Station Manager along with other applications such as the deployment of a large cloud based VTScada solution for the company.   He has a strong background in SCADA, PLCs and system integration, having run a number of such businesses that covered the water, power, food/beverage and pharmaceutical industries.  He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Digital Technology, Design and Innovation from the D.I.T. in Dublin, Ireland, along with degrees in Telecommunications & Electronics from the L.I.T. in Limerick, Ireland.