It should not surprise anyone that hurricane season is upon us – it happens every year. What is surprising is that it takes the devastation of a hurricane to make the people who live in those regions take preventive measures seriously.
Businesses and organizations often take the same approach. They know what could happen but they don’t see the threat as a real and present danger so they get on with the urgent and important of the day instead of dealing with the potentially devastating. The ostrich approach!
What makes crisis preparation so difficult?
Here’s my list of reasons:
- Not today’s issue (procrastination)
- It’s unlikely to happen to us
- I don’t want to think about bad things happening
- It’s going to cost a lot of money to prepare
- We don’t have time in our schedule for this
The stark reality is that when a crisis does strike, it is the only issue of the day, it takes a lot of money to fix it and there’s no time for anything other than dealing with the crisis.
Making preparation easier
Crisis or disaster planning can be integrated into the normal business planning cycle. Often by looking at the terrible things that could happen, businesses are able to identify issues within existing business processes that will not only prevent and/or mitigate potential crises, they will also result in more efficient processes.
A side note here: in the examples of hurricanes, the cost of prevention/mitigation will appear astronomical – Think levee upgrades in advance of Hurricane Katrina. But those costs must be compared to the costs of recovery after the damage has been done. For most organizations, there will be either a small incremental cost or some cost savings with efficiencies when they are prepared for a crisis to strike. It’s a small price to pay for business continuity.
Most of my clients come to me after the hurricane hits. After I have supported them through recovery, they build the prevention strategies into their overall planning because they finally “get it”.
It is the enlightened client that acts before the crisis strikes and is ready whenever it happens.