Calling for Backup

“No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.” — Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, Prussian Field Marshal.

Calling for Backup by Laura Stack #Productivity

Sustained workplace productivity rarely flows from seat-of-the-pants, instinctive navigation. Only the strategic application of well-honed time management skills and advance planning will consistently keep you on your organizational course. This holds true, regardless of it your ultimate goals are fantastic profits or a better future for everyone. A crisis can always force the occasional impromptu response, of course, but you can minimize the disruption by making sure you always have a Plan B warming up in the wings. So take the following steps to drastically lower your odds of falling prey to the unexpected:

Calling for Backup by Laura Stack #productivityBack up your electronic data properly. This statement may seem so obvious it needs no further discussion…but e-data recovery companies still thrive, even though we should all know better by now. Sure, onsite back-ups have become habitual; but most data loss boils down to a failure to a) test the backup process to make sure it actually works, or b) maintain up-to-date offsite copies. The first case traps a surprising number of businesses. You can faithfully rotate your backup tapes through the system day after day, but it won’t do you any good to discover after a system meltdown that those tapes haven’t properly copied your data for months. Test the backup system itself on a regular basis. As for offsite backups: No one really expects a disaster to physically destroy their servers or onsite backup media—but then, no one expected the 9/11 terrorist attacks or Y2K’s downtown Fort Worth tornado, either. With cloud computing, offsite backup is so simple and safe, you have no excuse not to do it.

Calling for Backup by Laura Stack #productivityBack up your client contact information. Collect every bit of contact data possible for each of your clients: landline number, cell phone number(s), physical address, email address(es), website and social media URLs, etc. Upload the contact data file to the cloud, then make an extra hardcopy and store it in a safe-deposit box.


Calling for Backup by Laura Stack #productivityCross-train personnel. You can’t afford for your workflow process to fall apart if a key team member quits, falls ill, or dies, you must cross-train team members to pinch-hit as necessary. Teach them the basics of at least one other person’s duties. Make sure they have access to their principle’s data and contacts, so they can pick up where the other person left off. Have each person type their job processes step-by-step, and print a copy for a reference notebook, so a temporary or permanent employee can step in immediately.

Practice succession planning. This one follows logically from the last. If team members are aging, seriously ill, or retiring in a few years, start grooming others to take their place. That way you won’t feel helpless when someone you’ve depended on for years is suddenly gone.

Get with the Contingency Planning, Already!

Eternal optimism serves you well in business, but only when it’s tempered with realism. Things go wrong, like it or not; so expect the best, but plan for the worst. If you lack decent contingency planning right now, start hammering out the basics of a Plan B for every conceivable crisis. Don’t delve too deep, lest you vapor-lock in the paralysis of analysis; but know what to do in the event of fire, flood, earthquake, terrorism, and even war. You’ll need to respond ASAP no matter what happens, so you can protect your income stream, preserve jobs, and ensure corporate survival. Otherwise, one negative event could drop you into a pit from which you may never escape.