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In this series, alumni experts from St. Edward’s University tackle tough questions about business and careers. They’ve got answers — and now, so do you.

Hurricanes. Flooding. Financial disruption. Linus Akanoh Jr. helps clients recover — and build resiliency — from crises and catastrophes like these. With bachelor degrees in Accounting and Computer Information Technology, as well as a master’s in Professional Accounting, Akanoh is an advisory manager in the Strategic Risk practice at Deloitte. Based in Austin and an adjunct faculty member in The Bill Munday School of Business at St. Edward’s University, he frequently hops a plane to places most people want to leave. Here, he offers advice on getting prepared for the next “big one,” whether it comes from Mother Nature or fellow man.

How can my business survive the next “big one”?

When crises strike, they usually make big headlines for a few days, maybe weeks, and then disappear from the news. What most of us never see is the full scope of the disruption and the intense (and long-term) recovery efforts that take years to complete. I experience that every day.

We live in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world, and disruptions are the new normal. I tell my clients to ask themselves two things when it comes to crisis management. First: What are your biases? People tend to think, “This can’t happen to us because we’re stronger, we have really good processes and controls, or we’ve been in business for 100 years.” Not true. It can happen to anyone. Acknowledge — even embrace — that fact.

Second: What is tomorrow’s reality? Focus on thinking about what nobody has thought about. Start imagining multiple permutations of the future and how your business can thrive in that future. Whether it’s technology to adapt to global warming, advances against cyber attacks, the rise of digital media — remember when Blockbuster had the chance to buy Netflix? — how can your company take advantage of these disruptors and inevitable changes? You can’t control what the world does to you, so control how you respond instead — then transform it into a competitive advantage.

The MBA program at St. Edward’s University builds highly sought-after skills in entrepreneurial thinking, social enterprise, innovation, global collaboration and business analytics — the areas business leaders (and entrepreneurs) need in today’s business world.

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