I just discovered the MacGyver reboot on CBS. Much like the original show from the 80’s, the lead character possesses creative and technical skills which he employs to save the day often using paper clips, candles and other common household items. This guy has nerves of steel, staying calm while under pressure of pending doom and destruction and of course, always survives. It got me thinking of last week’s cold snap here in Austin. I just moved back into my house after a remodel. I woke up in the middle of the night remembering it was going to freeze and I had not prepared the house. I ran around covering the outside faucets and sinks with blankets and duct tape. There was an adrenaline rush, literal wiping of the brow and a deep sigh of satisfaction. I did it! But unlike MacGyver now on its 4th season, I know this was not sustainable. So, I have visited my local hardware store and purchased products specifically made to protect pipes during cold weather.
So maybe your crisis is not weather related. It could be a cyber attack on your computer system, your key employee suddenly having to be hospitalized, an executive quitting as a result of a scandal, losing a lease, losing your biggest customer, or having some company create a technology or business model that renders yours obsolete.
Publicly traded organizations already know they have to plan for crises, if they don’t, shareholders will be a bit unhappy to say the least. Municipalities know that, as FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, recommends: Every Business Should Have a Plan. In fact, FEMA doles out more money for communities who had a plan to address disasters than they do to communities who wing it.
Smaller organizations need crisis management too. If you’re a restaurant, you need a plan for what to do in case some foodstuff is recalled or your vegetable delivery doesn’t make it. Accounting firms have sensitive customer data. Fitness centers could experience fungal breakouts. Employees can and will do crazy things. Believe me, they will.
Of course nobody wants to think about these things. They’re uncomfortable. And they might never happen. But odds are, something will happen and it’s so much better to have a plan. Unless you plan on stocking up on the duct tape.