For Sgt. Matt Eversmann, Oct. 3, 1993, was a defining moment that would forever change his perspective on the many opportunities and crises that shape our lives.

That day, nearly 20 years ago, was an extreme lesson in crisis management for Eversmann, who led his chalk of Army Rangers into the heart of a hostile city. His experience in the Battle of Mogadishu has been immortalized in print and in the film Black Hawk Down.  As Eversmann described it in his keynote speech at Safe Systems’ NetConnect conference, the event was an exercise in overcoming strategic shock.

For Eversmann and his unit, strategic shock manifested itself in an ambush on city streets, the shooting down of two Black Hawk helicopters and subsequent fight for survival. For a bank, strategic shock might manifest itself in the form of a hurricane or tornado, a fire or flood, or even something as seemingly innocuous as a fallen tree branch knocking out power or Internet at a branch or a server going offline.

Strategic shock is unpredictable. It’s unplanned and unavoidable. However, as Eversmann explains, strategic shock can still be prepared for.

“How do we get through it,” he asks. “It’s about the individuals and about the unit.”

That is, you’re only as good as the weakest team member. And in the case of an unpredictable event where things go wrong, you have to be able to rely on the training and processes in place to meet those disasters to be able to respond quickly and effectively as part of a team.

Eversmann also suggests that in the enterprise, and in the individual, surviving a crisis requires three key qualities.

“Be selfless, be courageous, be dutiful,” he says.