Prepare for the Worst, Strive for the Best in Business and at Work

Part of my preparation for Hurricane Sandy’s arrival sometime tomorrow is to reschedule the one meeting I had planned for Monday, and to complete my usual weekly Monday tasks today, including but not limited to computer-related administrative work for my business, Deb Best Practices, just in case we lose power as Sandy makes her way through our landlocked part of New York state.

Governor Cuomo and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg have been tweeting all afternoon about the shutdown of NYC mass transit by 7 PM tonight, and as well as the same deadline for the evacuation of over 370,000 residents of low-lying flood-prone areas of the city. The State University of New York has just closed the SUNY New Paltz campus.

Several of my clients and colleagues have already activated their disaster recovery / business continuity / emergency offsite work plans, reaching out to their employees; others plan on waiting to see what Sandy actually delivers tomorrow morning before implementing their plans for business continuity through the storm.

I’m reminded of the estate planning process Joel and I initiated when I was 7  months’ pregnant with Noah.  Our lawyer peppered us with questions we’d rather not think about, such as:

  • If you’re completely paralyzed but your brain is still functioning, do you want to be resuscitated?
  • If you die before (Noah) reaches adulthood, who will raise him?
  • If you’re brain-dead, do you want to be kept on life support?
  • If you can’t make financial decisions, who will make those decisions for you?

It was daunting, but satisfying once we were done; it was the same feeling we experienced when we exceeded Suze Orman’s recommended 8-month emergency fund threshold.  We felt prepared for almost anything, and the high whine of the low-level anxiety faded to a barely perceptible whisper.

In my experience with making plans to prepare for the worst, whether it’s in business, work or for my family, the act of worst-case scenario contingency planning is all upside impact.  At minimum, planning for the worst is centering with regard to the things we can control, letting cooler heads prevail.  As for the factors that are out of our hands, such as Hurricane Sandy: planning ahead to effectively manage and adapt to the worst-case scenario is how generations of humans survived to bring us to our wondrous present-day.

Dear colleagues, friends and family:  wishing you and yours safety through the storm, whether it’s in business, at work or at home.


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