As you may know (if not, have a squint at ‘An icy crisis’ and ‘Water, water everywhere (part 2)’) I’m a big fan of ice cubes. I do, however, prefer them floating in a glass of gin and tonic rather than in fifteen buckets. Particularly when those buckets are being brandished menacingly by fifteen grinning children with what can only be described as an evil glint in their eyes.
You know when you agree to something because it seems like a good idea at the time? Well this was one of those occasions.
My hockey club chairman recently did the ice bucket challenge and very kindly challenged me to do the same. Not one to refuse a challenge lightly, I decided to do it after a junior hockey training session and let the kids participate. You wouldn’t believe how enthusiastically they greeted the prospect of ganging up and tipping icy water over me – far more enthusiasm than they show for any of my training sessions, that’s for sure!
I’d planned the event meticulously – with almost military precision, in fact. I can’t help it, it’s just what I do. The scarily enthusiastic kids were given a few simple instructions: stand out of shot while I make my little speech; when I blow my whistle, move in and tip your buckets of water over my head all at the same time; and so forth. Which, obviously, they completely ignored, as you’ll see in the video.
The first wave hit me full in the face. I opened my mouth to say something meaningful, like “aaaargh”, just as the second wave hit, going up my nose and down my throat, followed immediately by another torrent which meant I couldn’t get my breath. I thought for one horrible moment that I might drown – on a hockey pitch! One of the little darlings actually threw their bucket at me, prompting another to follow suit. Thankfully they didn’t all do the same or I may have been bludgeoned to death. By a bunch of flying buckets – on a hockey pitch! Just when I thought it was all over, one of them calmly walked up and poured his bucket of water down the back of my neck, followed by a couple of others shoving ice cubes down there.
Personally, I think some of those kids may have issues. Or perhaps they just don’t like my training sessions. Whatever the reasons, things didn’t go quite as planned.
And that’s the point, really. No matter how much and how meticulously we might plan, the reality is that events on the day seldom go to plan. Mainly because of the people factor. Plans are all well and good, but when we add people to the mix things have a tendency to go horribly wrong. In the context of both our business continuity plans and our risk management efforts, when it comes to people, the only thing that we can really predict with any certainty is that they’ll do unpredictable things.
So our plans need to be flexible enough to cope with the unexpected. And we need to be very careful about the assumptions we make during the planning stage, particularly when it comes to people.
The final part of my plan that didn’t go to plan was the bit where I nipped into the changing room to get out of my cold, wet kit and into some dry clothes. Because, thanks to Messers Murphy and Sod, the flipping (expletive deleted) changing rooms were locked. So I had to drive home sitting on a towel. Which unfortunately, as regular readers will know, seems to be developing into a bit of a habit (see ‘The ramblings of a travelling consultant episode 4 (part 1)’).
A hot shower and a nice cup of tea later and the world and I were as one again. We raised a few quid for charity and had a bit of a laugh. So, if you haven’t done the challenge yet, why not give it a go. Or, at the very least, as I suggest at the start of my challenge, make a small donation to your favourite charity.
Related article : A reasonable 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 the books ‘Practical Business Continuity Management‘, ‘Risk Management Simplified‘ and now ‘Ski Boots and Celery – A Compilation of Oz’s Business Continuity Blogs‘, 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