Business Continuity Planning is unfortunately brought to the forefront of our minds when tragedies like Hurricane Sandy strike. Most importantly, our best wishes go out to all of the people affected by the storm. Once the immediate urgency of the disaster has subsided, the conversation inevitably turns to analysis of how to be better prepared.
Instead of focusing on the “what ifs”, we will focus on the “why” in this posting. Steve Covey noted in his best seller “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” that human nature is to concentrate on activities that are both important and urgent. Certainly recovering from a disaster falls into that category but in our day to day activities these urgent and important activities can come from a variety of areas and may include tasks like getting that RFP out by the deadline or getting payroll out the door. These types of activities are called Quadrant I activities by Covey as is described in the illustration below.
Covey goes on to point out that truly effective people spend the bulk of their time working in Quadrant II, not Quadrant I or III as most people do. These are important but not yet urgent activities. Spending time on these types of issues often prevent those issues from becoming urgent by addressing them proactively. Business Continuity planning falls into this category. Covey laments that too many of us allow human nature to dictate our actions and we do not act as effectively as we could.
If you have been affected by a disaster, you already know the importance of preparation. According to a study done by the Insurance Information Institute 40% of businesses that suffer a major disaster will fail. That figure is 25% according to a similar study by the Small Business Administration. It is unfortunate that often times a disastrous event is what triggers preparation for the next event. Disasters can come in many shapes and sizes, not just natural disasters. Our reliance on the power grid has been underscored recently but alternatively perhaps your business relies on a specific person too heavily. The loss of that critical person could constitute a disaster for your business. (consider Key Person insurance) The point we are making is that every business has risks and the preparedness of a business correlates directly to the amount of forethought provided by the company management. (not just the IT staff)
At Colden Company Inc. we are Certified Business Continuity Planners and we can advise on a number of issues including helping develop contingency plans for your business. The process begins not with technical conversations but by developing the mindset and ultimately developing the effective habits inside your business to focus on the important and necessary (although not yet urgent) work. Many of you will read this and agree that business continuity planning is important. The question is “Where will you spend your time today?”. Will you work on Quadrant II activities like planning or on Quadrant I or III activities? Be an effective leader and reach out to us at (888) 600-4560, at firstname.lastname@example.org as well as on Facebook and Twitter (@coldenco).