Oz’s Business Continuity Blog : “A toe-curling tale”

Today’s schedule went something like this: 09:00 write post-exercise report; 10:30 call client to discuss forthcoming business impact analysis workshop; 11:00 write proposal; 12:30 conference call with client to discuss business continuity strategy; 13:30 deal with today’s e-mail mountain; 14:00 prepare for forthcoming incident management exercise; 16:00 visit to minor injuries unit at the local hospital.

This wasn’t, I’m glad to say, an injury sustained in carrying out any of the day’s activities. No, this was an injury sustained in the course of trying to keep fit and healthy. I made the mistake of playing cricket on Sunday, having been dragged out of retirement last year for the second time. Worse still, I made the mistake of actually scoring some runs for the first time this season, my previous efforts having been meagre to say the least.

I realise that some of my readers may not be completely au fait with the noble art of cricket so, if you’re unfamiliar with the game, here’s a summary, as explained to a non-cricketing overseas visitor to England some years ago…

You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that’s in the side that’s in goes out, and when he’s out he comes in and the next man goes in until he’s out. When they are all out the side that’s out comes in and the side that’s been in goes out and tries to get those coming in out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out. When both sides have been in and out including the not-outs, that’s the end of the game! (Incidentally, there will be more on the subject of incomprehensible writing in my next blog, so watch this space).

Back to the story. On Sunday I found myself batting against a reasonably quick bowler who bowled me a bit of an awkward delivery – one that I thought would be best dealt with by hitting the ball very hard into my own foot. I have to say it smarted a bit at the time – apparently I was heard to utter something along the lines of “gosh, that smarts a bit” (or words to that effect).

Being the hero that I am though, I carried on batting and, I’m delighted to say, played my part in helping my team through to a well-earned victory. But at  a cost. After the match I took off my boots to reveal what can only be described as a purple toe. A purple toe about twice its usual size and sitting at something of a jaunty angle compared with its usual non-jaunty attitude. One that clicked alarmingly when I tried to return it to its normal position (and caused me to reiterate the fact that it smarted a bit).

So, having been woken two nights running by a throbbing toe, and after hobbling around London in some discomfort yesterday, and after having said toe stood on a couple of times last night by Barney, and noting this morning that quite a large part of my foot was swollen and had a sort of purplish tinge, I felt I really ought to get a professional opinion. And that opinion, backed up by the x-rays, was that one of my toes (the little piggy that had none, as it happens) is broken. Which explains a lot really.

Incidentally, I’ve spared you the photographic evidence as I know that some of my readers are of a somewhat sensitive disposition and it really isn’t awfully pleasant to look at. And the nurse wouldn’t give me a copy of the x-ray so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Anyway, having now made my pathetic bid for some sympathy, I suppose I ought to at least attempt some sort of tenuous link to business continuity. So here we go…

No matter how capable or tough we think we are, there are times when our efforts can result in some personal damage, no matter how well we manage to disguise it at the time, (I’m thinking specifically here of  the potential psychological damage of dealing with difficult circumstances rather than the consequences of hitting yourself quite hard with a lump of wood). And, no matter how capable or tough we think we are, this damage can take us out of the game for a while – in some cases for quite a long time.  

And sometimes, we need to get a professional opinion on the damage sustained – and maybe some professional treatment to get us on the road to recovery.  And, interestingly, as in the case of the purple toe, sometimes our team mates are utterly oblivious to the the problems we’re experiencing, or the fact that this might affect our capability or our ability to continue as an effective member of the team.

All of which are often overlooked in our planning efforts and, as importantly, in the assumptions we make during the planning process.

I’m not suggesting for one minute that a broken toe comes anywhere close to the sort of damage that I’ve alluded to above. But the fact remains that I’m out of the game for the forseeable future and it may be a while before I’m able to contribute again. Just as things seemed to be looking up in the batting department too. Ho hum.

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