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Part II: Dealing with Disasters

SPHR, Kathryn McKee Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub
Medium 9781576754207

Chapter 7: Restabilizing Yourself and the Organization

SPHR, Kathryn McKee Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

This chapter describes 10 actions you can take to help you get back on your feet and the organization back to profitability.

When the ground shifts—either literally or figuratively—you may find it difficult to regain your balance, much less move forward in a deliberate, planned manner. Yet getting back to business may be just what employees and the organization need. Business as somewhat usual can be a welcome distraction as well as serving as a rallying cause and source of hope for the future. There are also practical reasons—the company needs to make up for lost time in meeting customer needs and demands, keeping competitors at bay, and fulfilling shareholder expectations.

Following are 10 actions you can take—in any order—to accelerate the recovery process for you, employees, and the organization.

Getting back to work and getting back to normal are two different things. You can do the former but not the latter. It’s important to acknowledge this fact as soon as possible. Just as you cannot step in the same river twice, you cannot go back to the way things were before a disaster. Your life and the lives of others have been permanently altered.

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Chapter 2: Developing a Business Continuity Plan That Addresses Human Issues

SPHR, Kathryn McKee Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

This chapter covers the following topics:

Planning for unknown events that may affect the workplace is akin to developing system requirements for new software. No matter how many bright minds get together to consider all the contingencies, there will be some potential outcome that you overlooked, never dreamed of, or could not have even imagined.

First of all, you must adopt the mindset of planning for when you’ll face a disaster, not if. This will help you view the planning process as a necessity to your work and business, rather than as an abstract exercise that’s using up valuable time.

Second, you have to put a plan on paper, developing a number of worst-case scenarios along the way. What if the entire building were 34to burn to the ground or be destroyed in an earthquake, tornado, flood, or explosion? What if a disaster happens during rush hour? During peak business hours? After hours? How would each of these situations affect your plans? What if a disgruntled former employee or customer came armed to your offices and opened fire, killing employees and/or others? What if one or more buses, bridges, or buildings were bombed? These dreaded events occur more often than we like to acknowledge.

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Chapter 1: Preparing to Lead in the Face of Fear

SPHR, Kathryn McKee Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

This chapter covers four topics:

When planning for a disaster:

When dealing with a disaster:

On a scale of 1 to 10, how prepared are you to deal with a disaster befalling your organization? Are you ready to lead your employees through it? Are you geared up to deal with a hurricane, fire, flood, tornado, murder, chemical spill, act of corporate malfeasance, flu pandemic, terrorist attack, or some other type of disaster?

On second thought, maybe you’d prefer to close this book and take a pleasure trip. How about a cruise down the Mississippi River, where you’ll end up in New Orleans? You’ll find yourself in the state of Louisiana, which in August 2005 was actually “the state of denial,” according to Charles Pizzo and Gerard Braud, two crisis communications experts and Hurricane Katrina victims. 18“And if you’re not thinking about or planning what you might do in a crisis situation now, you’re in a state of denial too. There are just too many risks out there,” Pizzo warns.

One good sign that you’re not in the state of denial is that you have this book open. We hope you’re ready for the challenge. Our goal is to excite you to action so you will take a leadership role within your organization and prepare for the worst, with the hope that nothing bad actually happens. However, the odds are that you will face some kind of minor or major crisis in the course of your work life.

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Chapter 9: Starting to Prepare Now—Five-Minute Planning Steps

SPHR, Kathryn McKee Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

This chapter suggests a number of planning actions that can each be carried out in five minutes. The basic idea is that some disaster planning is better than none, and the planning process need not be an onerous obligation.

For many of us, time is our most precious resource. Why spend it planning for events that might not occur when you already have many pressing demands? The answer is that a variety of unexpected things can happen, as the real-life examples in this book show, and those who took the time to plan generally have benefited from a faster, more complete recovery.

If you remain unconvinced that planning is worth your time, consider the following sets of actions that you can do in five-minute time slots. You may not solve all of the problems that arise, but you’ll bring to the surface important issues that you can then handle one by one over time. By taking action in small bursts, you may be able to stay a few steps ahead when a disaster strikes. Carry out these actions in any order you choose—just take five to survive.

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