Florida is reeling (and recovering) from Hurricane Irma. I am currently living in Florida, and was fortunate to suffer minor damage and limited time without power. If you doubt how much power, cable, and internet access means in our modern lives, try to go without it for a while (hopefully without a major storm).*
We were prepared this year. We were prepared because we were less prepared last year (with Hurricane Matthew). Last year, we had gas, water, and food. But we did not have a generator to keep our food cold. We learned. This year we have a generator. This year we did not have hurricane shutters. Our windows shook to what seemed like the breaking point. We will be better prepared next hurricane. We learn from these incidents.
We at Impact Capitalist constantly talk about understanding, managing, protecting, and growing your resources/business. How much time do we really spend on understanding and protecting the business? After all, it is more enjoyable watching the business grow and thrive than pondering what can go wrong.
Here are some quick and basic crisis preparation questions:
Are you prepared for crisis and/or disaster? It can be natural (as in hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, and earthquakes). But there are also many other internal and external environmental factors that can impact or harm your business. And the worst part of it is that, as much as we try to predict and plan, there are always margins of error and unexpected shifts.
Do you have a well designed and practiced plan? Remember that plans are only as good as last time you practiced them. I have heard of dust collecting plans that included personnel that departed years ago.
Do your people know who does what? Who are the first responders? Who is the media contact? How will you react if you step out in the morning and find 30 microphones/cameras thrust in your direction?
Is your internal and external stakeholder contact info updated? Do you have their social media information?
Have you role played or thought through unexpected scenario possibilities? This is the “what if” game. And no scenario is too extreme (even zombies – a lighter (but useful) exercise can be found here). It is the preparation that counts.
Do you have checklists and worksheets prepared to document the management of the crisis?
Is your website/social media ready to communicate through the crisis? I have seen businesses continue to promote their product as the news feeds are full of stories about the harm caused by that product. I have seen websites taking reservations for a cruise line that has been sunk. There have even been new tweets from deceased celebrities.
The time to prepare is before the storm. Learning comes by reflecting upon the preparation and the execution. Finally, the time to seek shelter (or to protect oneself) should not be after the storm hits.
*We have a real human tragedy on hand in Florida (as well as all other places hit by the storm). Houston is also in recovery. I do not want to minimize this point