“Colonel Conley, Take us to DEFCON 3 and get SAC on the line…”

If you were still a kid in the 80’s, “War Games” is a movie you probably still fondly remember (if not, you’re dead to me, but that’s beside the point.) Matthew Broderick plays “David Lightman,” the geeky teenager who manages to accidentally hack into NORAD and start a full-fledged panic by the US Military, almost to the point of an unprovoked nuclear missile launch. The movie requires quite a bit of suspended reality, but it was pretty entertaining back in the day.

The real star of the movie is General Beringer, played masterfully by boiler-plate Texan Barry Corbin ~ when he’s not shoving a a wad of Red Man into his cheek, he’s dispensing nuggets of cinematic gold (“Dammit, I’d piss on a spark plug if I thought it would do any good!” ) while deliberating on how to properly respond to the potential of starting World War 3.

According to the scale we’re taught in the movie, “DEFCON 5” is peace on Earth, DEFCON 1 is goodnight Earth ~ a huge neon board indicates the state of affairs at any given time . It’s a pretty solid and simple idea really…perhaps companies should use a similar board:

  • DEFCON 5 ~ (Not sure, someone else will have to tell me what that looks like)
  • DEFCON 4 ~ National Sales Meetings*, Office Christmas Parties, sub-standard Quarterly Report #1, outsourcing existing job functions, harassment claims, sudden influx of well-dressed “guests” attending closed-door meetings, ADA claims, increased use of the word “deposition”…
  • DEFCON 3 –  Mergers (on the acquirer side), private scandal, consecutive sub-standard Quarterly Reports, workplace violence incident, patent expiration, loss of key talent to key competitor…
  • DEFCON 2 – Layoffs, “right-sizing,” down-sizing, mergers (on the acquired side), product recalls, public scandal, bankruptcy claims, Jim Cramer downgrading you to “Risky,” lead story on Nancy Grace
  • DEFCON 1 – Probably unnecessary, as anything this serious will probably announce itself, if ya know what I mean….(see Enron, Arthur Anderson, et al)

It would certainly help Human Resources to have an indicator at the front entry, give us a little prep time for what lies ahead? Looking at the abbreviated list of events listed above, you can quickly target those areas where you may be able to make a difference – for the other events, chances are we’re sharing the same life raft with the rest of the employee population.

What did I miss?

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(*National Sales Meetings – Take hundreds of sales people from around the country, put them in a hotel for a week, add “hospitality suites” and late evening dinners, allow to simmer, and…….”work baby!”)




"remember that Vegas meeting last year?

“remember that Vegas meeting last year?






Now, wouldn’t you rather play a nice game of chess?