There is a saying that I have lived by in my professional and personal life;
‘Preparation is 90% of success.’
Being thoroughly prepared has proven to be a success factor for me in school, sports and in my professional career. If you are prepared you will be confident, organized and productive. Preparation will enable you do a great job 100% of the time.
There is never a good time to have a disaster but they seem to have a way of occurring at the most inconvenient times. Usually during your most critical business timeframes or at 2:00 a.m. during a great dream or Sunday evening when you are at a concert – you get the idea. It goes with the job that you are on-call 24x7x365. I ALWAYS keep my work and personal mobile devices next to my bed and yes, I have on occasion received calls between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m.
I once had to call one of my AT&T telecom buddies during the Great Northeast Blackout to utilize our toll-free routing tables to reroute calls to an alternate recovery location. He did it while he was on vacation on the 15th fairway playing golf! I was afraid to ask what he shot on that hole. Great guy!
You can use your commitment to being available 24x7x365 and your expectation of 2:07 a.m. calls as selling points if you interview for a future business resilience job. Stress to the interviewer that you understand and ‘live for’ the 24x7x365 expectations. Encourage the interviewer to test you if he or she wants to! Yeah, tell them to call you at 2 a.m. It will clearly demonstrate your passion. In my experience, it impresses them and only one took me up on the offer.
As part of your responsibilities you will be in a key position of supporting the Incident Commander during a disruptive event. You will be a focal point, sort of the glue holding everything together:
Tip – have all the critical supplies, communications and plans you will need at the command center
Tip – have everything you need at home – do a little scenario walkthrough to make sure
Tip – have everything you need on the network
Tip – have everything you need in your plans
Tip – have easy-to-use checklists and cheat sheets so you won’t forget anything at crunch time. Checklists saved me a bunch of times (more on checklists later in the book)
Tip – have current lists of critical contacts at hand – always! Sorry, systems are down so you can’t get to your intranet
Tip – think about what is missing
Later in the crisis management portion of the book I will provide a lot more tips and experiences relevant to managing a disaster and what to expect.
Tip – As you know, responding at 2 a.m. might very well be in your future so be ready! Now is the time to do your own little tabletop scenarios focusing on how you will help manage a crisis. I regularly play through various scenarios to insure I have everything I need when I need it. It has proven valuable in the past and makes me more confident. Sometimes I do it while exercising or in my sleep. I may be a bit over-the-top in my planning but in our business, it works. You and I should leave nothing to chance.
Tip – Even with diligent preparations, no two disruptive events are the same. Cascades from primary events can cause unforeseen impacts. Be resilient, cool, and collected. You and your team will be successful.
Lesson learned – I did have one occasion in my career where I had my cell phone ringer on mute one evening and I missed a important call from management. It was during the initial phase of building my program. I was new in the organization and trying to prove myself. Fortunately, there was no business impact but it was far from the ideal way to start. I eventually overcame the mishap by taking pride in always being available at any hour. I wanted to share that experience early in the book so there is no chance of you getting burned as I did.
I am not trying to jinx you but just in case something happens today, ‘Always be prepared and ready!’