Disaster plans are one of those things we all know we need but never get around to creating. That tends to bite our business right in the rear when trouble comes. The weather events of the last few months have brought this topic to the top of everyone’s minds, and I want you to think about acting while the memories are still fresh.
No matter where you are in the country, there is potential for disaster. The hurricane coastal regions of this country deal with extremes on a more frequent basis, so most of them have tried and tested plans in place. You might be in a different area, but big problems can still disrupt your business. Fires, floods, earthquakes, and tornados are some of the big things you should be planning for, but don’t forget the smaller things that could hurt your company. What would you do if your office was going to be without power for a week or more? How about cell service getting knocked out? There’s no guarantee these things will happen, but you should be ready.
When I’m coaching, I’m asked about these things all the time, but usually after something has already happened. The conversation usually begins with some form of, “How can we make sure we are ready next time?” My answer is always the same: You need to sit down as a team and figure out what could go wrong and what you are going to do about it. I’ll sketch out a quick example:
Disaster: No power to the office for an extended period
- Unable to communicate with customers or our own people;
- Inability to access our technology; and
- Possible unsafe or uncomfortable work environment.
- Set up a temporary office outside of the affected area;
- Forward our phones to that office or at least place a message on the system explaining the situation;
- Generators capable of powering essential systems;
- Have website explain situation; and
- Technicians and staff agree to meet at a designated point during an extreme event.
This is by no means an example of a perfect plan, but I hope you get the idea. Meeting with your team is an important part of any strategy, and I would encourage you to bring them in on the brainstorming. Start by thinking of all potential business interruptions with the knowledge that you can’t possibly predict them all. Know that the plans should revolve around events that prevent you from conducting business as usual and the measures you need to take to get back to normal operations.
Publication date: 10/4/2017