I wasn’t sure what to expect when we visited the 911 memorial at Ground Zero. Truthfully, I think I expected something quite tacky and schmaltzily American that I would not be able to relate to.
The reality was a very moving memorial on a scale I was quite unprepared for.
I found myself very moved by the huge twin reflecting pools, which are sited in the exact footprints of the twin towers. Around the edges are the names of the nearly 3000 people who perished in the attacks on New York and the Pentigon, with those on the planes used to create such distruction and the NY firemen who also perished.
Around the edges of the memorial site, the rebuilding of the World Trade centre is well underway. I had not reallised that nearly every tower in the complex was destroyed on September 11th 2001, either directly, or later as a result of damage caused by the falling debris from the twin towers.
Some of the new buildings are being rebuilt in the foot prints of their predecessors and others, such as the completed new 1 World Trade building, are close by.
Incidentally, if you look at the skyline of downtown New York today the dominant 1 World Trade building is, I think, more beautiful and impressive than the tower it was named after.
The builders have learned from the problems caused by the way the original towers were built and the result is, hopefully, a far more resilient structure.
I think the way the Ground Zero has been developed is a real lesson for all of us in business.
The mixture of remembering what happened whilst moving on and rebuilding was spot on.
In business we often dwell on decisions we have made, which turned out to be wrong, or worry about things we have no power to influence.
Instead we should acknowledge mistakes we have made, so we can learn from them, and focus on positive actions we can take to make sure our businesses are stronger in the future.
I don’t think we should let our businesses should be defined by the problems they face but how we respond to those problems.