It is winter. As happens in winter, Europe and the United Kingdom get their fair share of snow, ice and generally wintery weather. This happens every year. But for some reason, government officials, city officials and even the residents of these snow-covered communities insist that this “never happens”. Unfortunately, things have changed and winter is now a fact of life for much of Europe and the United Kingdom. Snow is going to come and it will wreak havoc on people’s day-to-day lives.
Times they are a-changing.
The interesting thing about this snow phenomenon is that it comes regularly and more forcefully year after year, and people still think “it never happens.” Vicki Thomas is an associate of ours that lived in Belgium for four years, and also happens to cyclo-cross. All four years that she was in Belgium, she was forced indoors to train due to the snow. And yet, people still told her “We just aren’t prepared for the snow. It never snows here.” Vicki told us of people driving through snowstorms with summer tires. Some simply never left their house when it snowed! Imagine living in Canada or the northern U.S. and not leaving your house when it snows!
Let’s look at this from a business perspective. Imagine you’re the CEO of a company and every year you and your management team make the same mistakes. Things like poor planning, failure to communicate ideas, and impractical accounting decisions. Now think about the impact this has on your business. Year after year making the same mistakes, and when someone asks about these mistakes you respond with “but this never happens”. The company would eventually fail and you are left wondering what went wrong.
Preparation is key!
Prevent this from happening with proper planning, learning from past mistakes, and business analysis. Recognize what has and hasn’t worked in the past. Take the snow in England; if government officials learned from past years that they really do need snowplows and qualified snowplow operators, the roads today would be clear of snow and people would not get stranded in their cars on major highways. Think about the CEO; if they learned that their failure to communicate their message was affecting the bottom line, they might still be CEO.
Business continuity planning in action.
So what does this have to do with business continuity planning? Well, learning from past mistakes, planning ahead and using thorough business analysis of threats and risks is all part of business continuity planning. Governments and businesses in Europe and the United Kingdom should have plans in place so that, when the inevitable happens and the snow falls, life goes on pretty close to normal. Roads get cleared, schools stay open, and businesses and airports continue to function. Imagine how different things would be today for these snow trapped citizens if their governments had done their due diligence and recognized their past mistakes, done a threat risk analysis, put together a plan and were ready for the snow…
Where does this leave you? Well, the next time you hear someone say “but this never happens”, really pay attention and think back to years past. Has this “really” never happened? Is this not the same mistake occurring over and over again? If so, it’s time to start asking questions about preparing business continuity plans and basically ask the hard question “so what will you do if it happens again?”.
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