Monday, January 24, 2011

Like a Boy Scout – Be Prepared – you never know what can happen …

If you are prepared, you will be confident, and will do the job. - Tom Landry

Okay – deal with it. We live in the Northeast and our winters can sometimes be bears to deal with. We all know it is going to happen – the storms come, it gets cold as heck, everyone bundles up, and then it happens again.

Or like the past few weeks – over and over again.

Business doesn’t stop when the storms hit or other things happen. As an employee (or employer) it is our responsibility to be prepared and deal with the cards we are dealt. This past Thursday, around 5:30 am like I always do, grabbed my paper version of the Tomes Union (yes I still read newspapers – everyday) and was looking over the front page and saw the story “Ice Puts Roofs at Risk” and I thought yup, so true with 40+ inches of snow. I walked in to my home office and heard: drip – drip – drip. You guessed it - water coming through the ceiling. What timing! Here I had nine appointments on my calendar in my office on Wolf Road, the ceilings were beginning to fall – not pretty.

But, we (my wife Vikki and I) were prepared, and we are flexible that is just as important. We always have our work tools with us – phones, laptops, files, contacts, etc. – so we can react. Vikki set up shop in the home for the day (where she entertained the contractors, disaster restoration folks and insurance people) and she did her work, using her phone to connect to her team (Vikki runs Capital region Living Magazine and Where To? Magazine), and I went to my office. Without preparation, it would have been a very unpleasant situation. We now have a home with no ceilings that were full of water – not a pretty picture? But it will all be repaired like new.

Last week, I heard of businesses unable to operate since staff didn’t show up. I heard of employees unable to do their work since they didn’t have their work tools, and their company was not prepared. This is the time when it is important to plan for the unforeseen and unexpected, and ask yourself the question:

If I could not go to work for the next 5 days, how could I do my job – what do I need?

The obvious – your tools if you are a craftsperson, your computer, phone and access to file information. Be the proactive one in these situations and set up “telephone triage” – the system or process to connect to your co-workers by phone or electronically to enable communication. Set up a Skype account ( and you are connected – worldwide. Your goal is to be prepared and not skip a beat. You will be viewed as a resource, and valued. If in your own business, you establish continuity – that is critical.

And yes – you can still work in your pj’s. Thank you for reading this. - Dan

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