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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Some thoughts on disaster planning

You will come across this as your company grows, the request for disaster recovery plans from your insurers...here are some guidelines...

10 tips for successful disaster planning:

1. Bring together a 'team' which can have a positive or negative force on the implementation of any plans being created - this might mean ignoring corporate structures and mixing peers from operations, marketing and finance.
2. Facilitate a discussion on past successes and failures and identify the lessons they have learned in the process. The team can learn from others successes and failures as well as their own. The ability to carry out this analysis in a neutral environment with an external facilitator will prevent it from falling into a finger pointing and blame-culture exercise and turn it into a positive learning experience.
3. Expose any misgivings the team may have relating to their joint success. Not talking about such things does not make them go away - e.g. Silent thoughts that the task is stupid, has been tried before and failed etc.
4. Ensure the team are aligned on corporate values and expected codes of conduct. Do they also have a mutual understanding on what the actual words mean? e.g. 'Professional' 'Reliable' 'Fit for Purpose' etc.
5. Set clear goals for the group - inertia often comes as a result of confusion and inertia can cause the greatest disasters in a company. If everyone is clear about the expectations from the rest of the group, they will be able to make their own strategic decisions when faced with an unexpected 'disaster' by keeping the goal in clear focus and just changing the route and steps to achieve it
6. Ensure the team can identify a shared priority - alignment on the key success factor for the project/team
7. Make a plan to achieve all goals
8. Have a clear framework for evaluation - re-evaluation and modification of the plan on an ongoing basis will ensure that at the end of the process the result is still relevant to the desires of the company and the individuals.
9. Provide ongoing support relevant to each team member - continual coaching to strengthen each team player physically, mentally and emotionally will make them more adept to handle disasters on the job.
10. Bring the team together for regular reviews, brainstorming and mutual re-evaluation of the common goals and objectives. In the constantly changing world we live in, we need to be fast to react. If you think about the more traditional businesses, their reaction is a little like a major oil tanker which takes several hours for the instruction to change direction to be manifested in the actual movement of the boat. Businesses need to be more like a power boat!



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