Monday, October 5, 2015

What We Can Learn from Emergency Management

 South Carolina Emergency Management Division by Jonah Engler

With a Class 3 hurricane headed their way, the South Carolina Emergency Management Division issued warnings for residents to start planning for what could be a wet, nasty and extended period of bad weather. The warnings were fairly standard for this sort of situation, but, despite the pedestrian nature of the contact, smart people paid attention and got prepared. So, what can a business manager learn from emergency managers?

Consider your actions.

One of the most important aspects of emergency management communication is encouraging residents to plan ahead. You may not know everything you will need, but you can be the most prepared you can be. In business, preparation is key. When opportunity arrives, you can only take advantage IF you are properly prepared. If you don’t have the team, the finances or the training, you will leave money on the table. Or you could grab that opportunity and build something amazing.

Emergency managers keep an eye on market conditions in real time. 

Have you ever worked in a business that seemed trapped in another decade? Follow up, do you still use a fax machine? Why? When it comes to being the best and getting the better of your competition, “because we always have” is never an adequate answer. Your decisions need to be made based on what’s happening at the time, not what happened last time. Anything else is like a forecaster broadcasting potential hurricane landfall using the track of a storm that passed in a previous decade.

Emergency managers prepare for multiple contingencies. 

Of course, a direct hit is the Worst Case Scenario, but hurricanes offer plenty of risk even when they don’t land on top of you. Flooding, wind damage, rain, power outages. Each of these results requires a distinct response, but a good emergency manager is prepared for ALL contingencies. As certain possibilities become less likely, more resources are delegated toward areas most likely to be needed. Your business planning should operate on similar principles.

Emergency managers know who is the most likely target of a storm, but they are willing to shift their focus if the storm changes direction. 

What about you? Are you keeping up with your target market as the culture shifts? Boomers are retiring by the thousands and Millennials are entering the workforce to replace them. These two demographics are very different. Are you shifting to accommodate the changes?

Jonah Engler is a financial expert from NYC.

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