In a week where even the Louvre Museum has had to close its doors so that staff can move priceless artworks to safety to protect them from the waters bursting the banks of the River Seine, it serves as a timely reminder of the importance of risk management and contingency planning.
Extreme weather has caused flooding this week in France, Germany, Belgium and Poland, while as much as 50mm of rainfall is forecast to land within a few hours in a band that stretches across most of Central Europe.
This provokes the question, “Is your business prepared for the unexpected?” (And I don’t just mean flooding!)
Here are a few steps you might want to consider:
- Have you assessed all of the possible risks that could severely affect your ability to trade as normal?
- Have you documented your policies and procedures in the event of the worst case scenarios, so that you have thought them through before they might happen?
- Even if you have done steps 1 and 2, are you sure that all of your team, especially including new members of staff would know what to do?
- When was the last time you properly reviewed your insurance and double-checked that you have adequate cover for what you think you do?
We live in a world where change is occurring at an exponential rate. If it wasn’t enough that you had to worry about your equipment potentially failing and what your competitors are up to, you now have to consider some very real worldwide threats like terrorism and global weather changes.
In Switzerland today there were protests where people who were concerned at their jobs being taken over by robots were asking for a national wage to be paid to everyone, regardless of whether you were still working or whether you were now redundant thanks to artificial intelligence.
If you want a glimpse of the future, simply watch the latest science fiction movies. When I was a young schoolboy, our teacher asked us to design our own space ship on paper and to imagine everything we would need to take with us on a long space journey. Back then, we had not long reached out to the moon, yet today we are planning for life on Mars and beyond.
When I was a child, Captain Kirk in the TV series ‘Star Trek’ had an advanced device called a communicator. Today, we all have mobile devices that not only communicate effortlessly around the globe, but we all carry in our hands access to more information than would have fitted on a fleet of his spaceships.
When I began running my old tourism businesses back in 1996, customers used to hand-write a letter and ask us to fax it to the Post Office nearest to their European families’ residences back home. By the time I sold the business in 2010, every single guest had either a smart phone, a laptop or a tablet and they would sit facing each other at the dining table, so busily clicking away to the rest of the world what a great time they were having, that they barely communicated with the person opposite.
One of the first things I do with my clients as a business coach is to ask them to review their SWOT analysis – that’s coach-speak for: strengths; weaknesses; opportunities and threats.
Even the big businesses are not exempt from the ravages of the unexpected – look in Australia at Angus and Robertson, Dick Smith’s and Laura Ashley clothing, whilst in the U.K. this week, it seems that the days of BHS are now numbered, with the imminent closure after 88 years of 164 shops and the loss of 11,000 jobs.
It’s not all doom and gloom though my friends. There will be plenty of advantages as we enter this ‘brave new world’. In theory, far more of us will be able to work from home or on mobile platforms. The very nature of our work will change and in theory at least, artificial intelligence will free up our time to explore more self-indulgent pursuits, such as sports or the arts. Instant reviews, courtesy of social media will make us transparently service-savvy and in theory at least we will all benefit from the improved quality assurance standards.
So my message today is to never, ever rest on your laurels. Seek out personal and professional development so you stay at the cutting edge. Hire a coach or several coaches like me to keep you on track in every area (I do too!). Most of all though, it’s imperative that you clearly articulate your values and service promises and stay on track.
If you’d like to chat further, feel free to contact me here or call 0419 860 382 to set up a coffee meeting.