Once a year is probably not going to cut it.
For many years I travelled extensively, and at times would have been taking an international trip at least once a month. I would never use a packing list, I did it too often to need the prompt.
I had my routine, what cloths/equipment I carried and in what bags. It was habit, and I did it unconsciously.
The past few years I have not travelled internationally very often. However, this week I am going to New Zealand for a job, and have been spending the weekend in Sydney before departing.
Imagine my shock this morning when I discovered that I had not packed my passport.
Fortunately it was early enough in the day to make the 3 hour drive back to get it, and still get back in time for my international connection. At great cost and disruption to a pleasant and relaxing weekend!
There are lessons to be learned here for our BC and Crisis Management preparation.
- I did not need a procedural plan for how to pack, I know HOW to do that – I should have used a checklist of WHAT to pack.
- Managers know HOW to manage, they do not need detailed plans for that
- They need checklists to remind them of the key issues they should be addressing
- I am hopeful the pilots on the plane I am about to board use their pre-flight safety checklists and do not just rely on memory!
- When you do something often enough it becomes a habit, and you develop Unconscious Competence. But you may not be able to remember the details, or execute the skill the same way, later.
- It would be a good idea while the thing is becoming a habit to capture what you do, so you can use that learning at a later point – perhaps when your level of competence has regressed (which is what happens when you do not exercise the skill)
- This is where most of our organisations are most likely to be placed with Crisis/Incident Managment – a degree of Conscious Competence.
- When you do something regularly, you may think you need to rely on the documentation less.
- Often this is a trap, none of us know how we will perform under stressful conditions
- Again I refer to the pilots on the plane I am about to board – they use their checklists EVERY time.
- They do not use a manual to actually fly the plane (I hope)
- It is also good to build in some extra reminders you may not need, rather than overlook the important stuff – in this case my wife asking “This may be a stupid question but you do have your passport don’t you?”
We need to reflect these aspects into our BC and CM plans, training and exercising. Get the right things documented, at the appropriate weight, and drill them until they become habit.
Voluminous plan documents and the occasional (even annual) plan walkthrough exercise is not going to deliver resilience.
I have just started a packing list for my next trip, passport is on it.
What are you doing to embed Crisis Readiness as a habit in your organisation?