It’s easy to identify a panic and neglect cycle in terms of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Some governments were somewhat prepared, but others were in a phase of neglect.
There is an organization that was setup by the World Bank and the World Health Organization to “provide independent monitoring and accountability body to ensure preparedness for global health crises”. It’s aptly named the “Global Preparedness Monitoring Board”. Here’s an excerpt from their report last year:
There is a very real threat of a rapidly moving, highly lethal pandemic of a respiratory pathogen killing 50 to 80 million people and wiping out nearly 5 percent of the world’s economy.
For too long, we have allowed a cycle of panic and neglect when it comes to pandemics: we ramp up efforts when there is a serious threat, then quickly forget about them when the threat subsides.
It’s common to see a cycle of panic and neglect in the public sector, but it’s also possible to identify the cycles in private organizations. Security is one example. After a breach, there’s panic, but after time passes, a period of neglect often occurs.
I can also identify this cycle on a personal level even in small ways - for example after a period of “dietary neglect” I’ll panic-fill my fridge with vegetables!
Can you identify any cycles of panic and neglect in your personal or professional life?