As we watch the news, we can see that the world is changing quickly and this can affect business or non-profit organizations. The latest events around the temporary foreign worker situation have the possibility to affect not only businesses but also the communities that these folks work and now live in. This raises the whole issue of how one builds a business model and if contingency plans have been put in place to address the changing sands of today’s economic climate. I know that I have raised this in past newsletters but does your business or organization have a business continuity plan. The businesses in downtown Calgary and High River probably did but did they plan for a major disruption in their business? You can be certain that they are revisiting those plans now.
Being prepared for a major set back is one of the things that any business or organization can do in order to survive any minor or major event that will impact on them. So what is involved in this type of exercise? I recently attended a talk by Chris Hatfield and he spoke of how they prepare for going up to the international space station. His one key message was that they continuously planned for failure, not success. When one enters that environment, they have to be ready for anything that goes wrong as they simply can’t go out to Canadian Tire to get a spare part. So they do thousands of drills and exercises to deal with potential failures. He gave one example of Nassau wanting them to try some new software and it crashed the whole operating system of the space station. This included computers, lighting, communications, etc. So their back up plan was to use a ham radio on the space station and they actually used a ham operator in South America to communicate with Nassau to get them operating again. It made the day of the ham radio operator and it showed how important it is to plan for failure or unexpected events.
So the bottom line question is: “are you ready for anything major that might impact on your business or organization?” If not, then it’s time to look over your business continuity plan to ensure that you are.