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Hack the Clock

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“Hack the clock,” my friend told me, “Just hack the clock.” Most people probably don’t understand what this means but my friend new I did. And he knew it would have a profound impact on our ability to succeed together and what I did next in the crisis-situation we were in. It was and is wise advice. I think it can help you too.

Hack the clock is a term used in the aviation industry when an incident occurs that threatens to disrupt the flight. Failure to hack the clock results in bad reactions and actions such as pilots shutting down the one good engine and leaving the burning one running. Or maybe in the midst of a crisis the pilot forgets to lower the landing gear or flaps resulting in a lot of shards of metal and sparks flying off the belly of the plane as they slide along the runway. Worse, failure to hack the clock frequently leads to people not surviving the event.

Hacking the clock is really a call to do two things –

1) slow down, focus and take stock of the situation and

2) it triggers a series of pre-programmed, memorized steps or actions

What hacking the clock leads to is the pilot flying the plane and bringing it safely home.

“So what” is a question another mentor, friend and professor always asks me – so what can hacking the clock do for us in Security and Compliance? What can hacking the clock do for us in leadership? Much like it allows the pilot to fly the plane safely and calmly in a aircraft emergency, hacking the clock in an incident response scenario allows to slow down, think and make the right moves that results in faster containment, eradication and restoration of services. In leadership it allows us to remain calm, collected, and in charge. In both situations, hacking the clocking ensures success rather than failure.

Next time you are in a tough, crisis situation – hack the clock.