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Planning for the Unthinkable


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As a child I can remember going through the tunnel that connects East Boston with Boston holding my breath. Absurd behavior? Sure, but in my mind I was preparing for the time when the tunnel would run out of air.

A friend told me that as a child he taught himself to write with his left hand even though he was right handed. His reason was that he wanted to be sure he could write even if something happened to his right hand.

Emergency planning, disaster recovery Ė these topics have been in the news a lot lately in the United States. Inadvertently I did it as a kid but it isnít a subject that as an adult I like to think about. In fact I avoid it!!

As an account executive at AT&T one of my responsibilities was to be sure my customers had disaster recovery plans. Everyone wants their telephone to work no matter what happens. And yet even so it wasnít something my clients wanted to address. Many thought the possibility too remote. Others had too many other projects on the table that they said took priority.

It is hard for an estate planning attorney to convince someone he or she needs a will. It is only when something happens in a personís life like a serious illness or death that suddenly what was on the back burner comes to the forefront.

It is only when something dreadful happens that suddenly we wake up to the fact that planning for an emergency is important. When Terry Schiavo was in the news many who didnít have health care proxies took the opportunity to sign one. After Hurricane Katrina suddenly people are now looking at contingency planning.

Governments too have been challenged where contingency planning is concerned. If there are disaster recovery plans my guess is that few thought about the possibility of everyone having to evacuate their homes. If there were evacuation plans at all then most likely they would have ended by everyone going to a public building. Who would have considered busing people away from the area entirely?

Katrina has been a horrific event for us all. Looking at the lessons though and making our plans accordingly is extremely important.

So one lesson I know I have learned is that I want to be sure that federal, state and local governments have a really clear plans that are coordinated with each other. I want to know about these plans too because I have a responsibility for myself, my family and my business.

As I think about this however I am uncomfortable about my own planning. What do I do in the event of a disaster? I can feel my own resistance in even thinking about it!

Several months ago my mastermind group was talking about backing up their computer files. One member of the group actually took his back up disc to another location to be sure that if a fire or flood hit his office he would still have his files. I was really impressed by that and started to think about it for myself. The possibility seemed remote then but certainly now I do see the point.

What are your plans for your business, yourself and your loved ones? Start to put your own disaster plan together now.

Take action
1. The SBA has an excellent website for preparing for a disaster in your business. Check it out

2. The Red Cross has some excellent information for individuals: Make a list of the people who must know this plan and review it with them.

3. How frequently should it be reviewed? Select a date or dates and put them on your calendar.

About the Author

Alvah Parker works with successful attorneys who feel overwhelmed by their work and are willing to take action to create a more profitable practice and a more fulfilling life. Alvah also helps attorneys and others who want to change careers and find the work that is more meaningful and fulfilling. Alvah has 15 years of sales, marketing, coaching, and management experience with AT&T. At AT&T Alvah won numerous awards including several Account Executive of the Month Awards, the Grand Slam Award, and the Catalyst Quality Award. She was selected twice for the prestigious Council of Leaders, an honor reserved for the top 3% of the Sales and Marketing Division. Alvah is found on the web at She may also be reached at 781-598-0388

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2006-10-12 18:07:42 in Business Articles

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