Oz's Business Continuity Blog 

A bit of a Barney

I’ve recently returned to work after a two-week holiday – at least I think it was a holiday as it was extremely busy, for reasons that I’ll explain.

We decided not to go away this summer and opted to spend the time at home instead. There were two reasons for this.

Firstly, we’re doing some fairly serious alterations to our house and I needed to get stuck in to the DIY so that we can have some central heating this winter. So, amongst other things, I spent several days digging a big hole then filling it with concrete and building a wall on top of it.

Secondly, at the start of our holiday we collected our new puppy, Barney, a Field Spaniel. He’s now eleven weeks old and several months away from fitting his skin and paws properly.   So I’ve been getting up early every day for the past two weeks, pandering to his every whim – or at least to let him out and feed him. Then there’s all the playing and training and cleaning up the various “stuff” that he leaves behind.

Sadly, our previous dog, Gemma, a 15 year-old border collie, came to the end of her particular road a few weeks ago and I had to make the awful and difficult decision to have her put to sleep. As you can imagine, it was quite upsetting for my family and I. I briefly considered writing my blog about the experience at the time but I thought it was all a bit too depressing and I’d only have blubbed while I was writing it (I’m almost doing so now, big wuss that I am) so I decided against it in the end.

But back to the present and to Barney. Those of you who’ve ever owned a puppy will know this, but one thing that’s obvious is his huge enthusiasm for pretty much everything. However, that enthusiasm can be short-lived as he has a very short attention span and gets distracted really easily (not unlike my teenage sons actually). Therefore training has to be interesting and fun in order to hold his attention for longer than a few seconds.

“So what’s the tenuous link to business continuity this time?” I hear you cry.  Well there are three things that this particular story brings to mind :

1. Sometimes when we’re dealing with a crisis we have to make some very difficult decisions, which may have a profound impact on those affected. It’s therefore important that we have the right people in place who are able to make those decisions and deal with the consequences of them.

2. It’s not only puppies that have a short attention span, or at least have lots of other things vying for their attention. And strangely, some people don’t find business continuity massively exciting (I can’t think why). So we ought to make our training and awareness sessions interesting and stimulating if we want to gain and hold people’s attention and ensure they don’t lose interest too soon. And this doesn’t only apply to business continuity.

3. Sometimes, when we’re managing our business continuity programme, and particularly when we’re dealing with a crisis, there can be an awful lot of “stuff” to deal with. And sometimes, we just have to roll up our sleeves and clear it up!



One response to “A bit of a Barney”

  1. Hi Andy, I’m so sorry to hear about your loss (Gemma). Just to add on to the 3 points above, we could also say business continuity is about how we react to a crisis when it has struck. As a business, do we sit down and cry over spilt milk to the extent that we lose our main focus. For example, after a crisis, do we start asking questions like:

    • What are we going to do now that we have lost client A, contract B or so-and-so has happened?
    • Why did this happen to us and so forth?

    In your story you mentioned your sad loss and “tears”. One definitely agrees of the pain you felt at that time. But what I liked most from the story is how you bounced back from the crisis, you realised that there is an alternative (Barney) who could also bring you the joy, smiles and happiness brought before by Gemma. The same applies with business, when a crisis strikes and damages say our reputation or competitive advantage, there will always be an alternative solution. What is key is how we respond and also having a clear perspective of our circumstances which then enables us to clearly articulate the way forward.

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