Extra Points ~ Going Deep

This week’s focus point…Going Deep14_02_DanCapJackRetouch_001

Sometimes you just have to throw the ball deep…

In football, the offense focuses on “possessing” the football. That means avoiding costly interceptions and fumbles. Without the ball, you can’t score. Because of that, coaches teach ball security to their quarterbacks. But that doesn’t mean they won’t occasionally throw the ball deep.

Sometimes a coach and a quarterback need to take risks. Throwing the ball deep has a 75% negative possibility. The play can result in either a sack (loss of yardage when quarterback tackled); an incomplete pass; or an interception (bad). The one positive is a quick strike, home run play for a touchdown. It’s the ultimate risk-reward play.

I’ve met too many business owners and executives that play too conservatively in their “game.” Fear of losing their own proverbial football keeps them from taking risks like professional development; coaching or mentoring; hiring employees; and/or creating new products and services. For individuals that don’t own a business, that fear of the “interception” keeps them from seeking new careers; asking for a raise or promotion; seeking out internal opportunities; and/or accepting new challenges offered to them.

Ball security is important, but winning the game is more important. In order to maximize your potential and talent, you occasionally need to cast away fear and throw the ball deep. If it’s “intercepted,” then pick yourself up, go play defense, and get the ball back. If it’s complete for an exhilarating “touchdown,” you may have just catapulted yourself, your career, and your business to new heights.  And that’s worthy of a touchdown dance!

© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

 This week’s quote –

 Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”

~ e.e. cummings


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Wht Do You Need a Crisis Plan?

umbrella_riskIt never ceases to amaze me when executives and business owners delay or simply refuse to put a strategic crisis plan in place for their business. I see it over and over again with small businesses. Quite honestly, it’s negligent on their part. They risk their profit, their revenue, their employee’s future, their reputation, and the impact to their supply chain. Other than that, it’s not a big deal.

Later today, I am hosting a webinar for executives in the assisted living and elder care community on the topic. These are some quick bullet points on the reasons to invest time and resources towards a plan. If you are in a position where you’re ultimately responsible for the sustainability and resiliency of an organization, you should all me. Or, allow me to put it this way – If you want to assure that no crisis is fatal to your business, you should call me. You will get a plan that meets these objectives:

  • To maximize the prevention of crisis or disaster situations from ever occurring.
  • To minimize the likelihood of any suspension of operations.
  • To minimize interruptions to the normal operations.
  • To limit the extent of disruption and damage.
  • To minimize the economic impact of the interruption.
  • To establish alternative means of operation in advance.
  • To train personnel with emergency procedures.
  • To provide for smooth and rapid restoration of service.
  • To assure that no crisis is fatal to the organization.
  • To set up a communication procedure for employees, supply chain, media, and community.
© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Three Small Steps

In the last week, the news has been rife with crisis.umbrella_risk

If you’ve been following current events, you will have seen deadly flooding in Colorado; a devastating fire on the Jersey Shore less than a year after Hurricane Sandy; another cruise ship debacle off an Italian island; and now a deadly shooting in a Washington DC Navy yard near the Pentagon.

These disasters unfortunately happen way too much and in many cases aren’t avoidable. The crisis comes when business owners are not adequately prepared or ready to deal with them.

September is National Preparedness Month and should be a reminder that none of us are immune from disaster. Prevention is the first step in the process and the most under-used by small business owners. Preventing just one disaster from ever occurring will save you $250,000 at a minimum, yet because it’s never “felt,” can be overlooked. Making decisions before they must be made also gets neglected. I’ve spoke with too many business owners that feel they can handle any calamity thrown their way at the moment. I believe this is a recipe for disaster.

I encourage each of you reading this brief memo today to commit to significantly improving just three areas of your crisis planning before the end of 2013…

  1. Create a working crisis plan that is communicated to all your employees. This is not a template you simply download off the Internet and stick in some electronic file folder. This is a working document that will save your company hundreds of thousands of dollars and perhaps your existence if done correctly.
  2. Determine what you will do with all your employees tomorrow if your building becomes uninhabitable overnight due to fire, flood, or some other disaster. Most of the misfortunes that render buildings unavailable to occupy happen in the middle of the night when nobody is there. Knowing how to operate the next day is crucial.
  3. Have a backup plan for extended loss of power. Over 70% of business stoppages are from loss of power. In today’s world if you have no power or connectivity, you may have a building and people, but you have no business.

Don’t make crisis planning onerous. By taking three small steps at a time, you will over time make huge improvements and protect your business, your employees, your customers, and your personal investment. If you need help in making this happen, contact me.

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

 

National Preparadness Month Journal #1- Office Nightmare

I talk to a lot of business owners of all types. You’d be amazed at all business owners housed in office buildings that take lightly any calamity that might displace their operations. They don’t think it will happen to them. Here’s a real life case study that happened to one of my clients just last week…

Here is my client’s account…

The building was being reroofed.  Roofers goofed and left a hole above the shaft which houses mechanical rooms on each of the 5 floors. After a big rain Tuesday night, all electric and phone panels serving the building and tenants were fried. The building is uninhabitable until replacement of electric and phone panels, plus there is other water damage near the shaft, such as our conference room, and we won’t know status of HVAC until we have power to the building. All tenants are out.  We have moved our computer system off-site and everyone is working remotely. Estimated time for re-occupancy might be 12-14 days. What a mess.  My home is now my office.  This has been a great character building experience.”

What’s your plan for 25 employees if something like this happened to you? You might not be the building owner, but all of a sudden, your entire operation is out on the street. Here are a few things most people don’t think about:

  • Answering service issues
  • Files and documents left behind that are unable to retrieve
  • Access to critical records
  • Accessibility to clients
  • Lost time dealing with the issue (this might just be the most damaging as you can’t replace it)

Crisis happens daily in business and most of it doesn’t hit the local media, much less CNN. Can you answer the question I posed earlier…

What do you do with _____ employees if your building is uninhabitable?

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Crisis Case Study – Preventing a Disaster

The story of the day is the recent “almost shooting” at a school in Atlanta. A potential devastating shooting was averted when a school clerk named Antoinette Tuff saved the day with her bravery and quick thinking. A 20-year old brandishing an AK-47 and 500 rounds of ammunition entered the elementary school distraught with his life and ready to take it out on innocent people. He entered past security by following parents that didn’t shut the door quickly enough. Ms. Tuff confronted Michael Brandon Hill and started talking to him. She instinctively created a bond with him by telling her own personal story and calming him down to a point where all the children could be evacuated. Although shots were later exchanged with police, nobody was injured.

Read the entire story on The Washington Post web page

This story is getting national attention as it should, however nowhere near the amount that it would have received if the shooting spree went through. If it had and fatalities would have occurred, then the entire nation would be gripped in another incident similar to Connecticut last year. Fear, sadness, and lots of “what if” questions would be felt and asked.

“What if…”

It never will be asked because of Antionette Tuff. Because this story has a happy ending today, I feel like I can help you with its lesson:

  • Prevention may not be as sexy as all the contingencies you put into place – sprinkler systems, smoke detectors, expensive insurance, and evacuation plans. While these contingent behaviors are necessary, they  will never replace the power of having something NEVER HAPPEN. Antoinette Tuff was the perfect preventive “system” in place. What preventive measures do you have in your business? Are your contingent steps out of balance with your preventive?
  • How well prepared are your employees to deal with a crisis? Ms. Tuff (trained or not) was up to the task (understatement of the year). You can’t take for granted that your people (regardless of how skilled and savvy they are) are prepared to deal with a crisis. Ask yourself this, if there was a small fire in the company break room, would anyone know how to operate the fire extinguisher? I’ve asked many clients this and they smirk, chuckle, and admit they don’t even know how to use one.
  • Security is the most overlooked area I see with businesses. I get it. You want people to walk in your doors. The problem is that you’ve left yourself open to threats of violence if you don’t take appropriate measures. If you’re not a retail or professional services business, do you need to make it easy to waltz in? If you are a retail or professional services, couldn’t appropriate front desk personnel (see Ms. Tuff as an example), security cameras, and other preventive measures help you? Bottom line is that you have an obligation to your employees to send them back home the way they came in. Part of that obligation includes security. You don’t have to dig too far in your memory banks to remember times when disgruntled employees, unhappy significant others, or just unknown people (see this case study)  entered businesses armed and ready to commit violence. These situations don’t just happen in big cities in Atlanta. Remember the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado?

This story was particularly impactful for me. I’m currently on the board of directors of a public school district in my hometown. I’ve worked closely with school district clients in other states. My kids have been that age and what seems not that long ago. Ms Tuff…thank you. I don’t think anyone will ever truly know what you just saved with your bravery.

Here’s your bottom line lesson for today…

Get prepared. Be ready. Take this obligation seriously. Next month is National Preparedness Month in this country. What a great time to get your act together for your business and your family. If you feel like you’ve done your job in this area, great. Re-check your work. If you haven’t (and this is most of you), get busy. The business or life you save just might be your own or that of your employee or family member.

© 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…

5 Ways to Bounce Back Quickly after Disaster

I was just interviewed for a magazine article on what steps businesses can take to bounce back quickly after a disaster like a fire, flood, or tornado. Here was my umbrella_riskresponse…

  1. Have a crisis/disaster recovery plan in place BEFORE the disaster. Too many businesses simply don’t know what to do in the aftermath because they never planned. Making decisions in real-time is usually a bad thing. The ability to bounce back quickly is directly related to how prepared you are.
  2. Having a strong communication plan in place that is set up to reach employees, supply chain, customers, and community is essential. The quicker and more effectively you can reach people, the quicker you will recover. This is part of the planning.
  3. Have a backup location to go to in the event your building is unusable.
  4. Have strong redundancy for technology and power. Most businesses cannot survive without those two things for very long. They need to have secondary and tertiary plans for both.
  5. Have adequate insurance. Insurance must be reviewed at a minimum of an annual basis. Too often, they policy has become obsolete and the time this has been discovered is at the time of the calamity.

 

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

The Big 5

I was recently interviewed for an article on crisis management for Chief Executive Officers. The question was – what are the five things that need to be in EVERY crisis plan. I thought I’d share my answer with you!

  1. Chain of Command – There must be a clear, delineated, and communicated chain of command from the person in charge of the command center, to the communications coordinator, insurance liaison, scribe, etc. The size and scope is dependent on the size and complexity of the operation.
  2. Plan to recover power, connectivity, and data…quickly. This includes setting up in alternate locations, if necessary.
  3. Backup physical location plan. What do you do with 200 employees tomorrow if a fire destroys the building overnight? That’s the question this section must answer.
  4. Communications plan. This will be a guide for the communications coordinator/lead to communicate with all stakeholders – employees, board of directors, investors, customers, prospects, Supply chain, community, and media. This will also lay out the method – email, text, social media (specifically Twitter), etc.
  5. Evacuation and security plan. This is about getting people out of the building quickly and keeping them secure before, during, and after a crisis.

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

VIDEO: Episode #10 – Preparation of a Disaster Management Contingency 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 #10 – Preparation of a Disaster Management Contingency Plan

Preparation of a Disaster Management's Contingency Plan

 

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

VIDEO: Episode #9 – Responsibilities of Crisis Management Teams

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 #9 – Responsibilities of a Crisis Management Team

Responsibilities of Crisis Management Team Members

 

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved