My mid-life crisis, which has been bubbling away for a while now, took a serious turn for the worse recently. I was gutted to be asked to play for the veterans team at my hockey club.
Some people’s mid-life crises manifest themselves in the need to buy a flash car or a motorbike. Or the sudden desire, after a lifetime of general couch-potato-ness, to take up sailing or bungee jumping. Nothing so exciting for me though, I’m ever-so-slightly embarrassed to admit.
Mine currently involves trying to rediscover my youth by taking up hockey and cricket again, spiking my hair (although, in fairness, I do have an excuse for this – when I did it for a laugh my kids seemed genuinely impressed and it’s so unusual to hear the words “Dad” and “cool” in the same sentence, that I really had no choice) and finally getting my teeth straightened at the ripe old age of 48. In fact, when I think about it, it’s more of a mid-life uneasiness than a proper mid-life crisis.
Anyway, back to the hockey. Having recently started playing again, thanks to my sons (see “Fit for the job?”) after a break of twenty-something years, it came as a bit of a blow to realise that I’m now considered to be a veteran. More depressing still was the realisation that I could actually have become a veteran 13 years ago! And, having wheezed my way through two vet’s games now, which I mistakenly expected to be quite sedate and leisurely, it strikes me that veteran hockey players, like policemen and school teachers, seem to be getting younger.
But I digress. The point from a business continuity and crisis management perspective is that, whilst there’s often a tendency to assume that the crisis we’re planning for will be a sudden, out-of-the-blue, not-our-fault type of event, the sad fact is that many crises are not like that at all.
As often as not, crises sneak up on us, bubbling away almost un-noticed, or worse, ignored, in the background until the point of no return, when they finally smack us between the eyes and we find that we can’t ignore them any longer. So our crisis management efforts really ought to give some serious consideration to crisis avoidance as well as crisis reaction.
The problem is, of course, that this may well involve some decidedly uncomfortable self-analysis and, dare I suggest, honest appraisal – and, unfortunately, many organisations just don’t have the corporate bottle to actually do this. But the alternative, as some have found to their cost, may be even less palatable.
You only have to read the case studies of some of the well-publicised business-related crises that have occurred in the past (and quite recently for that matter) to realise that many of them could have been avoided altogether if only the organisation concerned had spotted the warning signs and done something about them.
Now that I’ve realised that, if I’m not careful, a bona fide mid-life crisis is a possibility, I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to prevent my current mid-life unease from escalating into one (if only because I can’t afford a sports car or a yacht, and I’m pretty sure I’d end up hurting myself if I bought a motorbike or tried to do a triathlon). And if you ask me, it’s infinitely preferable not to have a full-scale crisis if it can be prevented.
Related articles : “The foresight saga”
PS there’s an update for Barney fans on his recovery at the end of my previous blog “A tension span”