July 2017
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Walk The Talk

The unrehearsed contingency is not a contingency

Predicting the unexpected tends to be hard. It may seem obvious, but an absurd number of people think otherwise. Murphy has a thing or two to say on the subject and contingency planners often make a number of dangerous assumptions.

Don’t assume anyone has read the plan

Time is short and most people have more than enough to do. Unless you have walked people through the plan, assuming they know anything about it is unwise.

Walking means walking

Walk people through the plan. If you can, make them physically do what they will have to do. If you can’t, then use a drawing on a whiteboard and have them show what they will do. Have them show it not just to you, but to the people with whom they will have to do what they have to do. Have leaders talk through the processes they will perform, and what they will do in specific eventualities.

Note: Running through a deck of Powerpoint slides does not count. If I can work on my iPhone, while being subjected to a slideshow, anyone can.

Do not assume you have been understood

Repetition is the key to understanding. People forget. People change jobs. Go over your plans on a regular basis and walk through the plans from different angles. Vary who is in what role. The odds are good that at least one key person will be away or unavailable when the day comes.

Keep it simple

Martial artists have much to teach us about self-defense, but they require time and dedication, investments few of us are willing to make. Running away has two distinct advantages as an alternative. First, if you’re hard to reach, you’re hard to hurt. Two, it doesn’t taking any remembering how to do.

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