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What ‘Game of Thrones’ Says About Resilience


By Dan Hounsell Emergency Preparedness
Metal knight swords as throne background

Institutional and commercial facilities are taking a closer look at worst-case scenarios. From cyberattacks and active shooters to rising ocean levels and other natural disasters, facility managers are starting to understand the importance of emergency preparedness, business continuity and, ideally, resilience in protecting their facilities and the broader organization.

A growing pool of resources is emerging to help managers in this quest, but potential resilience lessons also might have come from an unexpected source: “Game of Thrones.” The program’s final episode, in addition to bringing important story lines to a close, provided insights and created opportunities to discuss resilience, according to an article in Forbes.

“At its heart, the show was never the story of a charismatic leader’s rise,” writes Chloe Demrovsky. “Rather it was a masterpiece of sociological storytelling that showed us how people are shaped by the structures and institutions around them. King’s Landing, in particular, has a long road ahead to recover from the ashes of the Dragon Queen’s wrath and build back better for a more resilient future. Watching the beautiful city burn in the penultimate episode, I couldn’t help fearing for the actual city of Dubrovnik, Croatia, where the King’s Landing sequences were filmed. Dubrovnik is a historical treasure of renowned beauty and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But is it a resilient city? Is it actually protected against dragon fire and other more worldly hazards? Could it burn like that in real life?

“We saw how complex it can be to respond to a fire in a historic site with the recent tragedy that engulfed Notre-Dame de Paris. (Heritage) sites and treasures housed within them are often one of a kind and once lost are lost forever irrespective of whether or not they were insured. Protecting them may involve altering or otherwise damaging these historic places in order to install state-of-the-art protection systems. Notre-Dame was just one historic building, albeit a mighty one. What would happen to an entire historic city under duress?

“Well, we had better put resilience plans into action all over the globe or we all risk becoming very brittle and collapsing like Brienne in her weepy farewell to Jaime Lannister. How do we do that? Resilient organizations, whether cities, businesses, or for that matter countries, are not built solely by strong leaders, although they are shaped by them. They require strong processes, institutions and a culture of learning from the mistakes of the past.”

Dan Hounsell is editor-in-chief of Facility Maintenance Decisions.

 

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