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Plan ahead.  We as PR practitioners say it all the time:  "Have your crisis plan written now so that when you need it, it's ready to go."   Despite the pleadings, not many do it.

Not even George Washington did it.  During the French and Indian War, when Washington was still leading the British Army prior to the American Revolution, he was forced to build "Fort Necessity."  It was a reactionary move to a previous battle in which a French commanding officer, Ensign Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville, was killed by Half King, a Mingo chief allied to the British, while being interrogated by Washington after the battle.

Because of the gravity of the situation, Washington knew a counter attack was coming -- and the fort was built out of necessity.  He ordered his men to begin constructing a log palisade. Placing the fortification in the middle of a meadow, Washington believed the position would provide a clear field of fire for his men. Though trained as a surveyor, the 22-year-old Washington's relative lack of military experience at the time proved critical as the fort was sited in a depression and was too close to the tree lines.

The poorly-planned, geographically-vulnerable, quickly-constructed Fort Necessity led to the only defeat-by surrender in Washington's military career.  Washington obviously rebounded and had a world-changing career as a military and political leader -- but better planning for a crisis situation would have prevented the extreme embarrassment and turmoil he had to face early-on.

Is your Fort Necessity already built?

Scott Hanson
Scott Hanson
President Scott is president of HMA Public Relations and a founding member of the Public Relations Global Network. He’s a Phoenix native, husband, father of two and a fan of all sports and a participant in some. Check out Scott's full bio

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