February 04, 2023

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Known unknowns

One of the most interesting bits in Richard Warnica’s profile of Rogers CEO Tony Staffieri in today’s Toronto Star is this quote: “We didn’t know what to say”.

You don’t need a global consulting firm to develop a SWOT analysis to determine that your #1 threat or vulnerability is a possible network failure which could affect 10 million Canadians, debit and credit card machines and block access for many to 911 lines.

It’s what former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld called known unknowns.

“There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know.”

How could a company of this size, providing an essential service, not have a crisis comms strategy ready to go, and instead find itself not knowing what to say about this known unknown?