No Nasty Little Surprises

Do you recall a TV advertisement from 1987 for Baygon? In my family, we used to have a big laugh about “flitting around the pots and pans cupboard”! The point was they would spray their surfaces so there were no “nasty little surprises” from cockroaches. (For those under 40 or new to Australia, you can find the ad on YouTube).

Unfortunately, in business, we can’t avoid things occasionally going wrong – client collapse, natural disaster, supplier failure, key staff move on – but we can be prepared for those situations by identifying them and planning for them. They might be nasty at the time, but they won’t be a complete surprise.

Large enterprises will have teams of people continually assessing risk for the whole business and for individual projects and initiatives. In growing organisations where enterprise risk management processes are not in place, leaders can still identify key risks and the essential factors for business success.

The first step is identifying what is essential for success, then what could go wrong, and the final step is what to do about the findings from the first 2 steps. That might be in the form of succession planning, emergency planning and disaster recovery, contingency planning, or better operational processes.

You might spray for cockroaches around your home, but there is no magic spray to stop things going wrong in business. If your business is growing, you need to expect the occasional“nasty little surprise”, but the more prepared you are the less nasty it will be.