Over the past several months, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Dave Shapiro on a series of joint seminars. Dave is a guru on leadership and CEO development. One of the topics he talks about is “The Red Truck Plan.” Dave explains that if you or a key employee are carted off on that big, red truck, then who is in charge? Who knows the passwords? Who has the keys to the kingdom? How will your business respond and continue operations?

It’s a great question that for many business owners and executives means business resiliency and survival.

On Saturday night, my wife Barb went out with a girlfriend to see a movie. It was one that she knew I had no interest in, so she went and I stayed home with my mom (yes, I still live with my mother – or she lives with us!) and watched Romancing the Stone on Netflix. I enjoyed watching Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner slog through the jungles of Colombia in search of fortune. But, I digress…

As the evening came to a close, it was time to give my mother her evening medicine. I went to the place we keep it, opened up the tray, and realized that the next week’s medicines had not been distributed in their weekday holders. I had no idea what or how much to give her! I called Barb and caught her on the way to dessert with her pal. She already knew why I was calling and guided me through the process. Crisis averted.

Here’s the problem. I have no “red truck plan” for my mother’s medical care. All that vital information lies solely in Barb’s head. What if something had happened to her and that information was not readily available? Yes, I understand that if something terrible had happened to Barb, she would be the priority. But, think about it. Wouldn’t Mom also be a priority? Doesn’t she need her medicines to stay healthy and safe, even overnight? The answer of course, is yes.

Think of your business. If something terrible happens to you; or your person who keeps all the company passwords; or your CFO; or your best sales person; then what happens to that area of your business and what are the ramifications? Just because someone is no longer there (temporarily or permanently) doesn’t mean that other needs don’t need to be met.

My solution is writing down all Mom’s medicines in a secure and accessible space where I can always find them, if needed. Added to that will be making that available to other key “stakeholders,” like my children or neighbors, in case something happens to bot Barb and me at the same time (after all, we are together a lot).

Your solution may be similar. You may need to create redundancies, plans, and back up plans. Whatever those may be, now is the time to do them. BEFORE you open up your medicine tray and find it all empty and not knowing what to do, create your “red truck plan” and be ready to respond.

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved


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