Preventing Disaster

Oct. 1, 2019

The processes that help us sleep better at night

My oldest daughter is 6, and she tends to be a worrier. Natural disasters are always on her mind. Floods, fires, tornados, earthquakes, hurricanes—nearly every single night at bedtime, she makes me walk through our emergency response plan to at least one of these. 

What happens is there’s a fire? We use our window and …

What about a flood? We leave the house and …

But what about an earthquake?!?! Well, we live in Minnesota, so …

(Tangential story: One night, when my 6-year-old explained in great detail her fears and anxieties about tornados, my 4-year-old daughter, clearly not paying close attention, laughed from the lower bunk and chimed in: “Pfft! I’m not scared of potatoes!” Good times.)

 After we go through our plan (and she exhausts all efforts to pick holes in that plan), she calms down. It’s not that she’s any less afraid of a fire or tornado, but knowing that we have a plan in place—a reasonable plan that could feasibly work and save our lives—puts her at ease. The anxiety dissipates. She goes to sleep.

So, here’s the simplified nightly pattern: Potential disaster. Intense histeria. Plan implemented (or just concepted). Calm.

Does that sound familiar?

As we go through our day-to-day, there’s always potential for disaster to come from seemingly anywhere. And, yes, a lot of those potential disasters are frightening to consider … if we’re unprepared for them. This is where processes and systems come in; they can both prevent and quickly put out fires. 

This might even be an understatement, but processes (standard operating procedures, to be more exact) are mentioned frequently in our magazines. One of the ways to create consistency in a business—in anything we do in life—is to develop a repeatable process, to systemize it. The hope is that after reading, identifying your target customer or improving your closing ratio might not sound so daunting. 

Most often, it isn’t the task, idea, project, problem, etc. that actually frightens us; it’s our lack of preparedness to face it. Don’t be caught unprepared. Have a process. Have a system. And rest easy the next time a tornado (or potato) threatens your business.

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