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Rules For Dealing With Crisis

By Ken Veit

Editors’ Note: Ken Veit is a man of immense experience. A trained actuary, he managed an international firm for many years as well as a successful local business.  He has worked and traveled extensively abroad and is one of the most well-read people we have ever met. In a world that could use some wisdom, Ken can help.

Herewith are “Ken’s Rules” which I have accumulated over the years. There are 3 sets. One has to do with handling crises and which we all experience. A second set covers doing business internationally, an area where my expertise was hard-earned through many faux pas. The final section covers relationships with women, an area of great mystery for most men, including myself.


Don’t panic.

Don’t lie, especially not to yourself. The situation is what it is. Deal with it.

Stop the bleeding. (Sometimes expressed as, “When you are in a deep hole, stop digging.”)

Focus on fixing, not blaming. If the crisis is your fault, don’t waste time beating yourself up.

Don’t try to shift blame. The truth usually comes out in the end.

Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

Don’t waste time bewailing your bad luck. It happens to everyone from time to time. This is just one of those times for you.

Focus on the big problem and ignore things that are unimportant but give a false sense of comfort when you deal with them.

Face courageously what you will do if everything happens that you dread most.

Do not hesitate to ask for help from anyone. Don’t expect a hero to appear or try to be one yourself.

Be aware of who might cheer if your crisis becomes a disaster.


The Golden Rule is global in scope.

Assume nothing. Things that are unacceptable or illegal at home may be OK elsewhere, and vice versa.

Trust but verify (Ronald Reagan). That cuts both ways. Foreigners may need to feel they can trust you before they offer friendship. American informality and seeming instant friendship can confuse them.

Respect local cultures. Try the local food, even if the thought turns your stomach. It is OK to not like it, but unless you show respect, you will never be accepted. You haven’t lived until you have tried swallowing a sheep’s eyeballs.

Avoid arrogance. No one likes being made to feel inferior. As American culture has displayed more unattractive features in recent years, it is more and more inappropriate to act as though foreigners are “natives” or less sophisticated. In fact, for all our technological brilliance, the U.S. is falling behind much of the world in its cultural superiority.

Talk less; listen more. You will be surprised at how much you must learn.

Humor makes friends. Every culture loves to laugh, but be careful, because humor varies widely from one place to another. Laugh with, not at.

All peoples need a sense of belonging. Be inclusive, not superior. Foreigners may be as uncertain about you as you are of them.

Identify a reliable local guide who can tell you when you are making a fool of yourself. This is harder than you think, both for you and for them.

Learn to say “Please”, “Thank you”, and “Sorry” in the local language, and pronounce them correctly.


They always want options before deciding.

They don’t always ask for what they want. They expect you to know.

They are more likely to respect rules than men (who typically seek ways around rules).

They are amazingly able to talk and listen simultaneously, a skill most men lack.

They prefer men just listening to their complaints with sympathy, rather than necessarily trying to fix them.

They notice little things that most men are oblivious to or simply ignore. When a wife says, “Oh! There is no cap on the toothpaste again”, a man can safely interpret this as the filing of a domestic grievance.

In an argument, logic alone may not move them unless their feelings are also convinced.

They generally are more loyal than men and probably work harder than their male counterparts, perhaps because they feel they are still on probation in a man’s world. Anything a male boss can do to dispel such apprehensions with feelings of security will yield a big dividend.

They generally enjoy nurturing more than men, and they are more aware of the level of harmony (or disharmony) in a group. They appreciate that skill being acknowledged.

They are formidable enemies. “Hell hath no fury…” does not just operate in sexual breakups.

They find humor in a man sexier than physical attractiveness. Walt Disney explained this in the cartoon character Jessica Rabbit.

They resent being treated as somehow lesser than men, as hothouse flowers needing protection, or as potential bedmates.

I must caveat the last set of observations as being those of an old man from an era that is now past. It may well be that women today are as ambitious, arrogant, competitive, competent, focused, grasping, intimidating, inspirational, mendacious, objective, obnoxious, realistic, risk-seeking, and scheming as any man. I can only speak of females as I have experienced them. I confess to appreciating the sharper and more worldly women of today but regret that it has often come at the cost of a reduction in their softer side. As women like to nurture their men, so men like to feel they are protecting their women.


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