Posted on 14/03/2013 · Posted in Change

For those of my readers living in the Channel Islands it has been a pretty unusual week – the worst snow storm and blizzards for 30 years, trees down across the islands, roads impassable, schools closed for three days etc etc! The result was a significant disruption to business across the islands.

For local businesses with local clients the impact was probably not too severe. If you couldn’t operate your business it wasn’t the end of the world because your customers were all playing in the snow or stuck at home looking after children so wouldn’t be buying from you anyway.  However, for those running essential services or with clients in other jurisdictions the need to operate as close to ‘business as usual’ as possible was very important.

So, how did you cope?

Were you able to contact your staff? Did you even know which staff were likely to able to get in?  i.e those living in walking distance without school age children to consider. Were you able to easily prioritise your services and allocate your limited manpower accordingly?

It is very easy to just put this incident down to experience and hope that disruption of this kind won’t happen again for another 30 years, but that is not a good way to run a business!

As business leaders we must be continuously aware of the potential for major disruption and have plans in place to ensure the continuity of our business.  Some of these events can be planned for, if not predicted, such as weather events, power cuts and staff illness.  These are the ‘known unknowns’.  What about the ‘unknown unknowns’ the things that you aren’t even aware of that could happen and disrupt your business.  Until this week a three day snow event almost fell into this category!

Whilst this disruption is still fresh in your mind, it is an ideal time to review your Business Continuity Plans to asses what worked well, what didn’t and what needs to change.  This is where it can be very beneficial to get an external facilitator in to help with this review and to ask those uncomfortable questions that we try to avoid when doing an internal review!

So don’t delay give me a call and we can put something in the diary now and be more confident that next time disruption strikes it will be easier to cope.