This week saw a significant milestone in the Osborne household and, regrettably, one of my worst fears realised. Yes, my younger son was officially proclaimed to be taller than me!
It’s not as if I didn’t see it coming – he’s been sneaking up on me height-wise for a while now – but all of a sudden the fear has become reality and, I have to say, it’s pretty hard to take. He’s fourteen, for goodness sake.
It’s painful for me to talk about it, but I’m one of those poor unfortunates who is, shall we say, somewhat altitudinally challenged – or, in the words of my supposed schoolmates, a bit of a short-arse. So I knew it was going to happen (in a strange masochistic way, I even hoped for it, so that my kids don’t have to go through the grief that I did at school) but I tried to ignore it as long as I could. It’s not that I was in denial, you understand – it’s just that I didn’t like to think about it too much.
But how on earth did this happen? How did that cute, inoffensive infant suddenly a) cease to be that cute inoffensive infant (he’s a teenager now, with all the grief – and offence – that that entails) and b) reach the dizzy heights of – well 5’8″ if you must know (that’s about 173cm for those of you who don’t do feet and inches).
And, whilst we’re on the subject, how did that finely-honed athlete that I recall from my mid-to-late twenties turn into the slightly greying, slightly flabby, slightly less finely-honed, mid-to-late forties (more late than mid, if we’re honest) bloke that I see in the shaving mirror in the mornings?
The answer is simple – one day at a time. These things just sort of snuck up on me one day at a time and, before I knew it, there they were, large as life and twice as ugly. And ever so slightly depressing.
In exactly the same way that project timescales slip and business continuity plans and strategies get out of date. It’s not deliberate. It just happens – one day at a time. Because life is busy and we sometimes have other, more pressing, or more exciting things to think about. Or because we just forget. But, like it or not, if we choose, however unintentionally, to ignore them, it’s pretty much inevitable that our business continuity plans and, more importantly, our business continuity capability will be eroded over time.
I couldn’t, and can’t (at least without some fairly drastic and socially unacceptable action which would, let’s face it, almost certainly result in my arrest) stop my sons from overtaking me in the height stakes. But we absolutely can stop our business continuity strategies and plans becoming out of date and useless by the simple expedient of reviewing and updating them on a regular basis.
Otherwise, the danger is that, if we ignore them, our strategies and plans will – just like my son and I – slowly but surely change from what they once were – one day at a time.
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