Work-Arounds and Contingency Plans
Every person in every firm should have defined workaround procedures, and processes and every company should have contingency plans to guide them (and others) in the event of a crisis. Unfortunately, in a majority of cases, these plans are not created until they are suddenly and unexpectedly required. Even marketing projects and SEO services also need such plans.
These are critical characteristics of all “workaround” and contingency plans:
They are created and documented long before they are actually needed
The primary reason these plans and process documents are created before they are needed is that they reflect careful and clear-headed approaches to problems. Without this calm and clear-headed thought, responses to crises are often rash and even frenetic. Further, the responses and procedures are often constructed by people with far less knowledge of the most effective and efficient actions.
They are extremely detailed
The point of these plans and processes is to guide someone unfamiliar with a task, job, process or procedure – or even a corporate strategy – as they attempt to step into a role and perform the work necessary to keep the organization on track and moving toward established goals.
They are publicly available
In the aftermath of a crisis (illness, injury, loss of a key employee, or significant environmental change affecting task performance or corporate strategic direction, people need to know where to find the plans or process documents quickly.
They are anticipatory
The plans anticipate possibilities. These possibilities may range from a broken arm to a financial catastrophe. For example, a computer programmer who is also an avid hang glider might anticipate the possibility of an injury and spend some time training the voice recognition software on his/her computer. An SEO company should anticipate the problems that they might encounter based on the issues that previously happened in the industry.
Similarly, a corporate executive with 20 years’ experience in a firm who is experiencing some memory dysfunction as a side effect of medication might try to create a brain-dump of corporate history, strategic history, and valuable knowledge of how and why critical strategic decisions were made.
Others might create process maps for critical tasks and activities.
Many people will make the mistake of assuming that the steps in key processes are self-evident or that they will be able to determine alternate methods for accomplishing key tasks with little or no interruption or loss of efficiency. The truth is that this is rarely the case when crises occur. This is particularly true for small businesses and even for mid-sized businesses.
Next Steps: We encourage you to take a few minutes to think about each critical function or strategy in your organization and the person(s) responsible for implementation. Then, ask yourself what would happen if the person(s) were unable to perform their job(s) tomorrow.