Failing to plan, planning to fail!

Plan C. We all talk about having one, but how often is the time and effort put into making a robust contingency plan? As a business the ability to quickly react to a change or emergency, whilst maintaining as close to business as usual (BAU) operations, is fundamental to floating or sinking.

Whilst the UK Government currently navigates its way through its own ability to plan, UK businesses have been working away to design master plans for their own Brexit strategies. However, it’s not just the once in a blue moon events where we should be contingency planning. From suppliers collapsing, to key staff on sick leave, every event has an associated operational risk, and these should be addressed as part of a regular risk review.

The first step in building a robust contingency plan, is to identify the risks to plan against. Then, in order to spend time efficiently, risks should be prioritised before developing mitigating actions and plans to prevent them. One way to do this is to categorise risks, both on a probability and severity basis. If a risk has a high likelihood, and has a highly severe impact on the business, more time should be spent planning to address that risk, rather than those with low likelihood and low severity.

From this stage, actions can be drawn up, either to prevent or mitigate the impact of the risk occurring. By breaking down risks into a prioritised list, this should allow time to be effectively spent planning, giving you the ability to react quickly when an emergency hits.

For businesses there are two success criteria for contingency planning “Does my plan maximise damage limitation?” and “Can key business critical operations continue?” With these two points addressed, there should be comfort in that the plan built will ensure stability through periods of minor, or major, change.

With more uncertainty around British business in the next three months, time invested in developing a strong contingency plan couldn’t be more valuable!