CHARLOTTE – We will be talking about what New York’s Governor called “the Miracle in the Hudson” for a long time. Here at WBTV, when the first reports came in, we went into newsroom style crisis management or what we like to call “war mode.”
News Director Dennis Milligan called the troops together, found out how many boots he could put on the ground, and launched our newsgathering efforts. We knew it was a plane headed for Charlotte. We knew our neighbors would be on board. Experience told us this would be a rough day.
From our perspective, this would be a story about the plane, the people on board, the rescuers, and hopefully – the survivors.
But when I heard for the first time from someone in New York City, I realized this story was much different for them. I suggested to a witness that this was not the first time we’d seen a plane crash into the Hudson river, thinking back to other airline accidents. He said his first thoughts were of September 11, and that this was another terrorist attack.
That thought surprised me. It shouldn’t. Of course New Yorkers there for the attack on the twin towers will always go back to that day emotionally when anything similar happens.
Isn’t it true we often assume what the other person is thinking, before he says a word? Do we recognize that most often, our assumption is wrong? It seems this can become especially detrimental in workplace and personal relationships.
The next time you think negative thoughts like, “he’s out to get me,” “she doesn’t appreciate me,” or “she doesn’t want me to succeed,” consider your perspective. False assumptions can lead to misunderstanding at the least. At their worst, they can lead to bad feelings, hostility and resentment. Ask questions. Seek truth. Honest communication is the key to peace, even when you’re in “war mode.”