You’re in the “What If” Business…

Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll
Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll

Last Sunday, my hometown Seahawks had an uncharacteristic breakdown on the final play of the first half, which nearly cost them a game.

They lined up with 2 seconds left to kick a chip shot field goal and increase their 7-3 lead over the Tennessee Titans. This is about as routine a play in the game as there is, as it’s akin to kicking an Extra Point. There was, however, one major problem. Earlier in the quarter, the Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka was injured making a tackle (or literally getting run over). He had to be taken into the locker room to be examined. NFL teams (unlike in college) don’t have the flexibility of carrying backup kickers on their limited roster. For the Hawks, the duty went to punter Jon Ryan.

The Seahawks did a decent job of getting the ball as close as possible for Ryan to attempt his first ever NFL field goal. As the snap came back, backup holder (and defensive back) Chris Maragos mishandled the low snap, tried to pick it up and run, and in a scene straight out of the Keystone Cops, fumbled the ball forward. The ball was scooped up by a Titans player who raced 90 yards to the end zone for an unbelievable touchdown to take the lead at halftime. The Century Link crowd, the Seahawks, and their coach Pete Carroll were stunned. Fortunately for the home team, they overcame that adversity and pulled out a win. After the game in his press conference, Carroll took the blame. He admitted in retrospect that the decision to put his players in a position to fail was “egregious.” They had not had enough practice time and it was set up for a disaster. In hindsight, he would have simply gone for the touchdown with 2 seconds left.

As a crisis management expert, I look at this play as a microcosm of business (much easier to accomplish because the Seahawks won the game). Carroll did the right thing with his mea culpa and taking responsibility. The interesting thing is a similar situation occurred in a playoff game last year against the Washington Redskins. Even though a kicker getting hurt is pretty unlikely, the need to be completely ready and prepared remains.

Here are some other salient points…

1. NFL teams are always prepared for an injury to their most important player, the quarterback. The likelihood and significance is greater than the kicker. The backup (redundancy) is always ready to go. Business is the same way. You are ready for that fire, windstorm, or earthquake. However, how ready are you for the minor “injury” that could cost you big time? Your injured kicker might be an intruder due to lack of security; a wet floor in the office cafeteria just waiting for someone to slip; or an inefficiency in the production line that sends out a defective product. Are you too focused on the big picture and overlooking the other perils?

2. To make a field goal or extra point in an NFL game, you must have three things work well – the snap, the hold, and the kick. Any one of those things that goes awry will create a problem. The Hawks had a backup plan. They had their punter Jon Ryan ready to kick. Unfortunately, Ryan is the regular holder. Maragos probably takes under 5 snaps a week in practice to prepare for this. The snap was low and mishandled. You undoubtedly have processes that require precision and consistency. What happens if your redundancy isn’t prepared to deal with less than perfect conditions? Are your backups ready to handle a low snap?

3. Can you bounce back? The Seahawks regrouped and were able to respond to adversity. Why? I can’t say with certainty as I wasn’t involved with the play other than screaming from my living room. What I can imagine is that Carroll, as any good CEO or President, took the blame, remained calm, trusted in his management (coaches) and employees (team) and stayed on the plan. What’s your plan in crisis? Do you have one? Is it written, communicated, and practiced? How can you move forward without one?

4. Timing is everything. This calamity happened with a whole second half to play. If it had been the final play of the game, all would have been lost. What if your crisis falls in it’s worst time. For the Seahawks, they lose a game (which in their business is crucial). For you, you might lose your business.

You’re in the “what if” business as an executive. This is a strategy decision. Like Carroll, it’s your responsibility to make sure all the “what ifs” have answers that are clearly communicated and implemented. In the end, you’re the one that faces your board of directors, employees, customers, media, community, and your family.

What are you doing to assure that your team is ready to compete for a championship? This year wasn’t without its adversity and I guarantee next year will give you ample opportunity to overcome adversity. They always do. The better prepared and ready you are to meet hose challenges, the more likely you will be playing for a championship at the end of your “season!”

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Unique Program from Dan Weedin – CAPS

Dan Weedin
Dan Weedin

As we are on the eve of National Preparedness Month in September, I am thrilled to unveil a brand new, unique program that only I can offer to businesses of all sizes and industries. I call it the Crisis Awareness and Prevention System (CAPS).  This information will be launched officially on my web site in September along with a lot of other changes, however consider this a sneak preview! The good news is also I am prepared to help anyone immediately.

To read about how the program works, click here. You will also find it on the Crisis Conqueror navigation tab above.

Here is what you need to know…

  1. If you own a business or are responsible for its continued operation, you must have a crisis and disaster recovery plan in place. Now. Not doing so is simply negligent. Insurance is a contingent action, and only one of several. What are you doing to prevent calamity in the first place?
  2. Trying to do it internally is a waste of time and internal resources. Most businesses under 300 employees don’t have the resources, the staffing, or the experience to carry out the project. You might be able to procure templates (of which I have an excellent one), but those are only starting points. To be truly effective, you need help.
  3. The good news is I can help. I have nearly 30 years experience in the risk mitigation industry and I will get you in a better and more secure place of readiness and preparedness quickly and skillfully.

Check it out on my page dedicated to it. You owe it to yourself, your employees, their families, and your customers to be ready and prepared as a business. Heck, if you’re like a couple of my clients, you will soon be required by your vendors to have a written plan. Regardless of your motivation, do yourself the favor ans simply contact me to learn more. There is no charge for an initial phone consultation. What do you have to lose (except your business if you don’t call)?

Here – I made it easy. Contact me below…

VIDEO Series Episode #2 – Elements to Consider in a Business Continuity Plan

This is a 10-part video series I recently created for Chron, which is the online version for the Houston Chronicle. The topic surrounds crisis planning and disaster recovery for small business. The questions and topics were raised by readers of Chron. There really is no order to the videos; they each deal with a different topic in this area. This is of vital importance for businesses and organizations of all sizes. Executives and small business owners should focus on these strategies to assure sustainable operations and revenue. I will feature a new video daily for the next 10 days.

VIDEO #2 – Elements to Consider in a Business Continuity Plan

Click on the image below to watch…

Elements to Consider in a Business Continuity Plan

VIDEO Series: Episode 1 – Disaster Recovery Plan Issues & Problems

This is a 10-part video series I recently created for Chron, which is the online version for the Houston Chronicle. The topic surrounds crisis planning and disaster recovery for small business. The questions and topics were raised by readers of Chron. There really is no order to the videos; they each deal with a different topic in this area. This is of vital importance for businesses and organizations of all sizes. Executives and small business owners should focus on these strategies to assure sustainable operations and revenue. I will feature a new video daily for the next 10 days.

VIDEO #1 – What Issues &Problems Should a Disaster Recovery Plan Cover and Prepare For?

Click on image below to view!

What Issues & Problems Should a Disaster Recovery Plan Cover & Prepare For?

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Small Business – How to Prepare for Disaster Recovery

I was interviewed yesterday for an article on what small businesses should do to prepare for disaster recovery. In the wake of the tragedy in Japan, this journalist is hoping to help this country’s business owners be better prepared for crisis. Here are several tips I shared with her, and now you…

  1. Practice disasters situations at least monthly. Just like when we were kids with fire drills and regular CPR training, the only way we really know what to do is to practice skills often. Make practicing what I call “situations” a part of your company culture and stick with it.  It won’t seem mundane when it needs to be used for real!
  2. Pre-plan your business continuation plan. Have a location to send your employees; plan to have resources (products, office supplies, computers) available. May be from your home or a different location. There are disaster recovery services that can get you generators, office space, and connectivity quickly. It’s worth checking them out or at least developing your own plan to be elsewhere if needed.
  3. Redundancy is critical. Back-up all your computer data and store it off-site. In fact, there are ways to keep it out of the region. Make your redundancy wide and deep, and easily accessible. The more places you store, the better chance you will have of not experiencing downtime.
  4. Create a communication tree. Like redundancy, make it wide and deep. Have a system that incorporates telephone, cell phones, e-mail, and text. Make sure your employees have a communication chain to family if the disaster happens during work hours.
  5. Just like an emergency kit at home, make sure you have supplies like water, food, batteries, and food available. I’m often amazed how well people tend to this at home, but don’t do it at work where they spend at least 40 hours a week.

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Buy-Sell Insurance – Protecting Your House

I’m heading out this afternoon to the memorial service of a client who passed away. He was the CEO/President of his business, which he ran for over 30 years. I know the buy/sell agreement was in place for his organization as we often spoke about it. How well is your organization protected if the leadership dies or becomes disabled?

Part of “protecting your house”is making sure if you as the leader dies or becomes incapacitated to the point of not being able to run the company, then there is a financial plan is place to fund that strain on the business. It’s essential to create what is called a Buy-Sell Agreement with partners or the organization, so that in the event of that misfortune, the company can survive.

Example – Bill Jones is CEO of his small business. His wife Susan plays no part in the business and never wants to. Bill dies suddenly. Susan is ready to cede control of the company to the next in line as soon as she gets her buy-out. The questions to ask are – who is next in line and where will the buy-out money come from? That’s what a well-structured and communicated buy-sell agreement will do.

Life insurance is the normal funding source. I recommend making the company the payor and the beneficiary. You have many options in the life insurance to consider between term and permanent plans. Regardless of your product appetite, some funding mechanism must be in place. Talk to your agent.

BONUS – You are 65% more likely to be disabled by the age of 65 than to die. Disability on Buy-Sell Agreements are often overlooked. Make sure you talk to your insurance professional about that, too!

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved