I was having a drink with a couple colleagues at a nice place in Miami Beach prior to dinner. We had spent the day with our mentor and with full brains were ready to enjoy the evening. The place we were at was classic Miami Beach. Nice outdoor seating area (where we were) adjacent to a covered patio area with an indoor restaurant. The place was full both in the patio and the outdoor area, even with a light mist falling.

The light mist turned into a heavy spray…

Out of the blue we heard a sound akin to when you turn on your shower, followed by a few shrieks. The sprinkler system inexplicably turned on (apparently confusing the heat of the Miami night scene for a fire) and showered the guests directly underneath sending them scrambling. The people just on the other side of the sidewalk from us caught some “collateral damage,” but other than a sudden jump, didn’t need to vacate. We got nothing except the resulting flood of water cascading down from the patio area. Thankful I had shoes on rather than sandals!

I talk all the time about a crisis in business. While this might seem minor, it wasn’t at that moment. Spraying your clients with water while there eating rarely is good for business. The ensuing costs of the food, the employee efforts, and the clean up are part of the hidden costs of a crisis. This restaurant did an exemplary job of getting things back to normal quickly. Are you prepared to do the same if your version of a sprinkler crisis occurs?

Do you identify your own exposures (e.g. Sprinkler system)? Do you analyze the potential hazards (malfunction)? Do you prepare to respond to perils (getting everyone or everything wet)? What if this happened in your computer room, for example? In my experience, too many business owners and leaders settle for reacting in real-time to crisis. Savvy business owners are intentional about crisis strategy and use the system I describe for both preventive (avid the peril from ever occurring) and contingent (response) actions. What about you? What are you doing to assure you never let the “rain” ruin your day?

Copyright 2014 Dan Weedin. All rights reserved


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