Preparing For The Unexpected


2018 is proving to be a challenge in terms of unexpected events. From weather to workplace violence, the constant is almost daily unexpected occurrences. In light of this new normal, a question arises. How can we prepare for these UFO’s (Unforeseen Occurrences)?

An important exercise is determining whether these things are truly unforeseen. The weather is a great example. Looking over the past 12-18 months of weather patterns we can make some assumptions. We can even look back over years to see what at the time appeared to be unforeseen weather events. For example, how many times has it snowed on baseball’s opening day? Enough to know it could happen again.

Being prepared for what might happen allows us to effectively deal with it when it does. It’s why we buy car and homeowner’s insurance; it’s why companies maintain liability insurance. We’re hoping nothing happens but want to be prepared just in case. Preparation goes beyond maintaining insurance policies, however.

Establishing an emergency plan takes the panic out of the moment. Knowing we have a strategy to deal with situations as they arise allows us to continue to focus on what matters, while knowing we can handle anything.

The added benefit of a plan is that it creates an expansive mindset. We can’t possibly think of every potential situation. When we have a plan for the things we can think of, we are more prepared for the things we couldn’t even imagine.

Preparation keeps us in control even in the most stressful situations. It is that control that safeguards the continuity of our operations. Consider these steps when creating your UFO Preparation Strategy:

1. List previous UFO’s your company has experienced. At the time you weren’t expecting them. Now that they’ve happened you can plan accordingly.

2. Take a look at what is happening in the world. Identify those things that could happen to your business. An example is cyber attacks.

3. Develop a strategy anyone can quickly implement in the event of a UFO.

a. You may need to create more than one plan depending on what you want to be prepared for.

b. Weather plans are different from workplace violence plans.

c. Power outage plans will have some of the same elements of a weather plan.

4. Document and train. Put each plan in writing, share it with everyone, and make sure there is ongoing training around the plans.

Preparation includes believing things could happen, creating a strategy to deal with the unexpected, and consistently reviewing strategies. Hopefully you never need these plans. Knowing they exist will provide peach of mind and freedom from concern. Engaging in this exercise increases the strength and sustainability of any organization.