Sunday is cricket day for the Osborne boys during the summer. Last Sunday’s match was away at Nether Whitacre, a lovely little village cricket club about an hour’s drive from Chez Osborne. We set off with just about enough time to spare with the car loaded up to the gunwales – myself, my two sons, another member of the team, Mrs Oz and Barney, along with four cricket kits and various other accoutrements.
Less than ten minutes into our journey it suddenly became obvious that all was not well with the Ozmobile. It was the sudden lurch, as if we’d been side-swiped by a strong wind, followed by a strange graunching noise that rapidly increased in volume that gave the game away.
Fortunately we were approaching a parking area so I was able to pull off the main road and stop safely, whereupon a quick check revealed one very flat tyre. No problem, changing a tyre is well within my capability – or so I thought.
First of all I had to retrieve the tool kit, which was, at this point, in a compartment underneath four cricket kits and one dog cage containing one dog, not to mention the various other accoutrements. So we set to unloading the back of the car so I could get to the tools.
The next challenge was to find the spare tyre. I’ve only had my car for about eighteen months and, prior to Sunday, I hadn’t bothered to check where the spare tyre lives or how to get to it. Because all that information is in the handbook. Which is in the glove box. Or rather, it would have been in the glove box if I hadn’t taken it out three days ago to check something else and not got around to putting it back yet.
All was not lost, however. A quick scout around revealed the spare tyre – one of those spindly little space-saver ones – was bolted underneath the car. So I searched the extensive toolkit that came with said vehicle only to discover that there wasn’t a spanner that fitted the bolt. One of my sons eventually worked that one out with a bit of lateral thinking. The tyre was actually released from above, using the windy handle thingy from the jack rather than a spanner. As, no doubt, the handbook would have told me.
To cut a long story short, we eventually changed the offending tyre and continued on our journey – somewhat more slowly due to the restrictions of the spindly little space-saver tyre – and arrived at the match about an hour after the scheduled start time.
It was well worth the effort though! We were well beaten and my personal contribution was an impressive nine runs and a dropped catch (albeit a fiendishly difficult one that a lesser player clearly wouldn’t even have got a hand to).
When I thought about it, a few things struck me.
Firstly, a little bit of awareness would have saved me an awful lot of hassle, as I would have known where the spare tyre was and how to liberate it. That lack of awareness cost me quite a bit of time in the early stages of my crisis response and recovery.
Secondly, the availability of the necessary supporting documentation would also have saved me a fair amount of time and effort. Granted I’d removed it for a good reason (in the same way that ‘battle box’ contents are often removed for a good reason, such as updating them) but my failure to return it to where it would be most useful impacted severely on my recovery capability.
Thirdly, whilst I’m not sure I can blame my poor performance entirely on the pre-match strife, it certainly didn’t help. Because being involved in a stressful situation definitely impacts on our capability, whether we like to admit it or not.
I now have a new tyre (two actually, because the incident highlighted that one of the other ones needed replacing too), the documentation is back where it should be and I now have a far greater awareness of how to deal with things if this particular crisis ever happens again. It’s just a bit of a shame that I had to learn the hard way.
Andy Osborne (known as Oz to friends and colleagues) is the Consultancy Director at Acumen, a consultancy practice specialising in business continuity and risk management.
Andy is the author of two books ‘Practical Business Continuity Management‘ and ‘Risk Management Simplified‘ as well as his popular blogs and ‘Tips of the Month’, all of which aim to demystify the subjects of business continuity and risk management and make them more accessible to people who live in the real world.
You can follow Andy on Twitter at @AndyatAcumen and link with him on LinkedIn at http://uk.linkedin.com/in/andyosborneatacumen