Are you really prepared?

As I sit and watch – horrified — at the videos streaming from Japan and the heartache that has come from their trifecta of disasters, I’m frankly amazed that anyone could have survived.

But throughout the immense coverage of the cascading disasters, small glimmers of hope appear. Tokyo is returning to normal. Industrial giants like Toyota and Nissan are back at work. Power is being restored to the Fukushima nuclear plants in an effort to avoid a catastrophic meltdown. Millions survived the massive earthquake, which could have killed millions in another country.

Credit for lives saved, and much of this progress — a little more than a week since the historic magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck off Japan’s coast — goes to advance planning. For all of recorded history, Japan has suffered through numerous earthquakes. For decades, the Japanese government has made extensive plans to increase their nation’s resiliency to these unpredictable, but expected, natural events. Japan invested in science, engineering and building codes to make their buildings stronger. They invested in emergency response plans to ensure their first responders and military were equipped to deal with such an earthquake as quickly as possible. Granted, the triad of catastrophes overwhelmed their planning and best efforts in some areas, but in many respects, they were successful, and Japan remains today one of the most powerful nations on the planet.

What does your plan look like? It doesn’t matter if your crisis is large or small – making you and/or your organization more resilient and better able to cope with a disaster of any magnitude – even if everything doesn’t go perfectly – will ensure that you can recover and get back to work much more quickly. Planning for a crisis requires thinking about what’s the worst that could happen and then developing a plan to minimize the chances of it happening, or minimizing the effects if it does happen.

Japan, no doubt, is doing a lot of planning right now about rebuilding the devastated regions of their country. They’ll look at short-term and long-term goals, how they want to live and what is important to them.

What about your business and life?  Do you have a strategic plan in place for where you want to be by year’s end?  Take time to write out your goals for the year for your business and for yourself.  Make a plan to attain the goals.  If this is something you have been planning to do and you haven’t made the time to do it yet then get help.  You will accomplish more with a plan.  Your business will thrive with a plan in place.  Whether your year is ahead or behind right now in the first quarter you can be even further ahead with a plan in place.

Plan for the future and you will be prepared for the unexpected.  There’s an old adage – if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. Take the time now to plan where you are going and how to avoid or minimize those inevitable bumps along the way.

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