Our Fearless Leader and Eagle Scout Ed Schipul was invited to participate in a hurricane and disaster preparedness Webinar with (client) Firestorm and the distinguished Lt. General Honore. Here are some of the points discussed during the ‘Plan. Predict. Perform’ discussion:
Families trump business – you must have a plan in place to make sure all of your employees are covered at home. More than 95% of polled employees do not have a plan for their families, or just focus on a single risk and do not take into account more than one potential disaster or occurrence.
Almost 2/3 of companies that have gone through a disaster have lost business. 40% of those businesses never re-open and 25% fail within 2 years after a disaster.
Regular points of failure seen in businesses:
- Failure to control supply chains
- Failure to train employees to work from home
- Failure to identify and monitor all threats and risks
- Failure to conduct exercises and plan
- Failure to develop crisis communications plan
Jim Satterfield of Firestorm told an eye opening anecdote from a previous employer on 9/11. After a company meeting deciding the next course of action, the HR director sent out a company-wide email saying: ‘If you want to live, leave’ instead of ‘If you want to leave, leave’.
Morale of the story, you MUST have a disaster plan in place before the crisis happens and have the messaging ready to go BEFORE it happens, to avoid missteps and panic-induced mistakes that could cause chaos or massive confusion internally and externally.
Some homework for the listeners: think about your critical suppliers, employees and their functions during a time of crisis. Conduct ‘what if’ exercises, what will you do if this or that occurs – actually perform real world drills to get your brain used to going through the motions. How will you monitor breaking events and keep up with events as they happen? How do you communicate in the heat of it with employees, vendors and clients?
Things never return to ‘normal’, rather they return to a ‘new normal’. Your company must make it back there (the ‘new normal’) and through the difficult times.
Predict – Plan – Perform
Lessons from Katrina – See first, understand first, act first. People still haven’t incorporated disaster response into their business plans. A little bit of planning and a well executed response strategy by leadership will make a huge difference.
Spend $1 on preparedness and save $9 on response.
Business owners have absolute responsibility for their business, their employees and their Community. Few businesses you can think about that would not be eligible for this responsibility — look at your business and think how can we help this Community in the event of disaster and decide what you can do.
Preparedness must be of equal in importance in your business as other elements that keep you running. Luck is not a strategic plan. Continue reading “Preparing for disaster at home and in the office – are you ready?”