Last week I paid, quite literally, a flying visit to Dublin to meet a prospective client. The trip presented me with two opportunities. First and foremost, the possibility of some new business, but also the rare opportunity to sample “the black stuff” in its native environment.
As you may have read in previous blogs, I do like a nice cup of tea and, in my more relaxed moments, I’m quite partial to the odd gin and tonic (see “An icy crisis“). I also enjoy a glass or two of red wine every now and again. But just occasionally, I’m not averse to a pint of Guinness. And, as I discovered on a previous trip to Dublin some years ago, the Guinness there beats the proverbials off the Guinness in England. I don’t know what it is that makes it so much better. Maybe it’s brewed differently; maybe it’s the water; or maybe, like the French with their wine, the Irish keep the best stuff for themselves (and who can blame them?) – perhaps someone can tell me. Anyway, it was an opportunity that was just too good to miss.
My meeting finished at about 1:30pm so, after a brief stroll round the city, during which I thankfully managed not to bump into the hen party that shared my flight in – not that I have anything against them per se, it’s just that the fifteen or twenty “ladies” with the words “on it ’til we vomit” emblazoned on their t-shirts sort of signalled their intent, as well as being just a bit scary – I selected a local hostelry in which to have lunch. I ordered my meal and asked for a pint of Guinness, now feeling really quite excited at the prospect. But in one of those “I don’t believe it” moments I was well and truly flabbergasted when the barman told me that they didn’t serve Guinness here! Victor Meldrew eat your heart out! I’d just walked past about two dozen pubs, hotels and other establishments advertising Guinness and I’d managed to walk into what is probably the only bar in Dublin that doesn’t sell the stuff!
Now I thought I’d made a pretty reasonable assumption but I’d quite clearly got it hopelessly wrong. That’s the trouble with assumptions, of course…
Like the one about all of our key people being available when we need them; or the one about the IT recovery working even though it’s never been tested; or the willingness of our people to up sticks and relocate at a moment’s notice and work from some remote location for weeks on end; or that local office accommodation with all of the necessary equipment and telecomm’s circuits will be available within a few days; or that the media won’t talk about us if we don’t talk to them. The list goes on.
So I finished my lunch and got a taxi back to the airport, a good few hours earlier than I needed to, assuming I’d be able to find somewhere quiet to work – like, perhaps the cafe in the arrivals hall that I’d sat in for an hour when I first arrived. How wrong I was. I know that Dublin is a popular destination for stag and hen weekends but I’d sort of assumed that the numerous groups of stags and hens flying in might at least wait until they got into town before they got completely drunk and disorderly. That, of course, perfectly illustrates the problem with assumption.
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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