Business continuity recorded webinar - 22 March 2012

Uploaded by BusinessQldGov on 28.06.2012

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to today's webinar on Business Continuity Planning.
My name is Yvette Adams and I'm from the Creative Collective and we're really proud to be presenting
this webinar today. This is what we've got in store for you folks. Just first up, we'll
do a quick introduction and orientation to make sure you can get the most out of the
session. For some of you, we realise this may be your first webinar and hopefully you
will enjoy the experience, so we will just take a moment to make sure you know how it
works and what you can do to interact throughout the session.
Throughout today's webinar, basically we are revisiting points from the workbook which
would have been supplied as part of your sign-up. So please do make sure if you haven't had
a chance to look at it after the session. There are a few exercises in it, and then
you'll certainly get the most out of this topic.
Okay, let's get on with today's presentation. Today's presentation is about business continuity
planning, and I am so pleased to see so many business owners on here learning about this
stuff, because it's not the sexiest topic out there, but it's certainly a very, very
important one. Now many Queenslanders, unfortunately, have suffered as a result of natural disasters.
But apart from natural disasters, you can also suffer from just unforseen things coming
up, whether it is your computer melting down, a fire, a theft, things just happen in business.
So I'd like you to raise your hand now if you have experienced a natural disaster in
recent times – or ever actually – and I'd love you to drop me a quick text chat
to let me know – hang on, I can see some people mentioning they can't see the screen,
hopefully you can see that now. Drop me a yes if you can. So I'd also like you to drop
me a text chat to let me know what disaster you've experienced; I'd love to see those
coming through. Recent floods, Yasi, yes, that demon that went through the start of
last year. September 11th. Tammy experienced cyclones, tornado, and extreme weather. Of
course, our friends in Townsville and further north have just experienced some very bad
weather even as recently as this week, and I've been liaising with some people at council
there just today, and they are telling us that some of these business priorities we
are working on will have to go to the side at the moment because they're really in recover
phase. So it's a fact of living in Queensland. It is a wonderful place to be, we've got the
beaches, and we've got the sun most of the time, but every now and again these natural
disasters remind us that we are sometimes at the peril of good old Mother Nature.
I'll go back a step because I didn't focus on that completely, but the whole premise
today, and if you download the workbook as well, you will see that there is this comprehensive
approach to emergency or disaster management which is PPRR. If you remember nothing else
out of today, this is certainly an important thing to look at, and we will go through each
of these aspects to explore more what you as a savvy business owner can be doing to
prevent, to prepare, and should disaster strike, to respond and recover as well.
So the first step in this stage is really prevention, so you need to look at evaluating
your risk. Now I know as a business owner you wear a lot of hats, and it can be hard
to find the time to go and do an exercise like this, right? But I want you to remember
that if you don't do this, what do you stand to lose and I'm pretty sure that once disaster
strikes you'd be wishing you had of made the time to do it.
So step 1: it's about looking at risks that could impact on your business, analysing those
risks to assess their impacts, evaluating the risk to prioritise the management; which
one do you have to tackle first, treating the rest, to see if you can alleviate or totally
eliminate them before disaster strikes, and then actually developing and reviewing your
risk management plan.
On this, you need to understand that you actually constantly need to do this. So it's one thing
to leave this webinar and then go ahead and put together a risk management plan. I'm going
to show you what that might look like and where you can get some resources that will
really help you with that process. Remember that you really need to do this quite often.
If there is a major change in your business, there might be new staff, you might move properties,
you might start up in a new location, you might purchase new assets, capital equipment,
you should be doing this risk management thing because risks change all the time.
New risk can be created from those things, existing risks might be increased or decreased,
they may no longer exist and the priority of risks changes. For instance, at the moment
a lot of businesses are getting very digital. They're moving more and more data from paper
onto their computers. Whoever here has ever experienced a computer crash? I would expect
to see almost everybody's hands up, because it happens lots. And I bet at that time, you
then realise maybe you hadn't been doing the backups you needed to, or maybe you had, but
certainly that's a new risk if you're happily moving to a more digital business model, you
need to be reviewing what you do to back-up for instance; that's just one example.
Now I will give you some really compelling reasons of why you want to be bothered doing
all of this in the first place. Let me tell you a little story about that picture there.
That picture is actually taken from a client of ours up in the Whitsunday's area. They're
called Whitsunday Rent-a-Yacht. And they have been hit by a few cyclones up that way, and
basically they have a bunch of luxury yachts and their whole business is built upon taking
out either locals or tourists to the area who can either take someone to drive the yachts
– I might not be using the right words – but they can be the skipper for them, or they
can actually get ones that they can self-manage and take out. So you can imagine, they've
got a lot of money sunk into having those yachts and when a cyclone rips through and
it devastates the fleet, they kind of don't have a business as such to work on.
Now from that experience, Alex, the manager up there has shared with me that they have
had to really do a lot of work to ensure that they would be insured again in the future.
And also the fact that they had done some things helped them to reduce their insurance
premiums and actually get that insurance money off. I mean we all pay a lot of money on insurance
and we really hope that when the time comes and we want access to that money for all the
payments we've paid over the years that we will have access to that money, but unfortunately
it doesn't always work this way.
You actually go through and create a risk-management plan, and you can show to them, I have created
this, we have thought through every scenario, we have prevented and tried to minimise the
impact of every scenario; they are going to look at your case much more favourably, so
that's a pretty compelling reason to look at it.
So one is your ability to continue as a business; that's a compelling reason. For Alex, she
couldn't continue the business until the fleet was back up and running, it just wasn't possible.
Now there were a lot of cases with say the Brisbane, and indeed Queensland floods, where
some businesses could continue despite the place being flooded and some couldn't. So
those that could, often again have, 1) evacuated or prepared effectively. I mean I talked to
a guy who was based at Milton, he had an embroidery practice, and he was told that the flooding
would probably go up to a metre. He thought he did the right thing, he doubled what the
expectation was, and raised all the equipment to 2 metres, but what do you know, it came
in at about 3 and he still lost it. So he couldn't continue his business, but he has
got a lot of different things into place that has meant that he could continue. He's actually
worked in with some of his competitors and given them his business but still taken his
slice, for instance.
The other thing is, apart from the natural disasters, you can also reduce your chance
of being sued. I've heard of cases where, on a certain premises, a gate swung open and
it actually killed a person and that company were able to get off being sued by proving
that they'd taken every reasonable precaution of ensuring that person knew what the dangers
were, knew what the procedure was and that they hadn't followed the procedure, therefore
the disaster had ensued; so that's a really good reason to do it as well. And unfortunately
on that point, Australia has become a lot like America and it really is very important
that business owners – and indeed anyone in business, even managers can be persecuted
– are thinking about that as a strategy as well.
It will also reduce the time when the business may be unable to operate. Now when the floods
hit, I couldn't help but sitting there thinking, as I looked at the TV last January, ‘Wow,
those poor people.' But second thought, I wonder when they last backed up and whether
they've got stuff in the Cloud, Cloud computing, because that to me meant that they could just
continue operating. They could have flown to Melbourne and continued to operate their
business if they were set up totally online. And Kim has made a comment there, which is
a very valuable one: that extreme weather events destroyed crops, so certainly if you're
in agriculture, there goes your ability to continue your business, there's not much you
can do about that, but I guess it's about how quickly you might be able to continue
and get up and running again. On that, reduce the time bullet point.
The reason you would want to do this too, is also a plan to replace key personnel. I
don't know about you, but I have some pretty valued team members on my team, and if anything
was to happen to them, sickness and injury, and even worse, death can happen; you need
to think about what you would do if they were to leave. I've got a guy going on annual leave
tomorrow for five weeks, and I'm pretty generous to have let him go for that long, but he is
a key personnel and I've had to make plans to cover for him while he is away because
he is a real key member.
You also need to reduce the loss or damage to machinery and other equipment, and just
basically strengthen your capacity to stay in business, so I hope that's given you some
compelling reasons to do this. Now if and when you do download that workbook, there's
a very good spreadsheet in there which will help you and give you examples of what you
need to do when you are doing the risk management plan. But here are some of the headings to
take you through it in principle.
So number one, you'd need to look at the risks. What is the risk that could happen? The second
column is: what's the likelihood? Is it high chance; a medium chance or a low chance or
an extremely high chance? Third one: what's the consequence if that risk were to happen,
what consequences would it have? So there might be multiple consequences and you would
just put them down in bullet points. What's the priority in the scheme of things? For
instance, the risk might be that damage or injury to staff and anyone on premises could
be as a result of a natural disaster. What's the likelihood of that happening? I don't
know. You would deem that, depending on where you're based and whether you are indoor/outdoor,
what type of building you're in.
The consequence could be that you could possibly be sued, you could possibly lose key personnel,
you could possibly be unable to offer certain services, depending on what it was, and their
role in the company. The priority I would say with something like that would be, number
one, people come first – and we'll talk about that – as opposed to perhaps equipment,
which may be a lower priority than the people.
Preventative action: it might be to provide some training in what they should do in the
event of a disaster, taking them through evacuation and taking them through some of the other
tips I'm going to share with you. So not only you knowing this information but sharing it
with your team.
And what's the contingency plan? What happens if you're not there to run this and make sure
everyone is safe? Who is second-in-charge and who is third-in-charge if the second-in-charge
isn't there and so on? There's always got to be a plan A, B, C and D and as many as
you think of after that.
Now we've touched a little bit on insurance already, but I'd actually like to go through
this now. Who, out of interest, has had a situation where they thought they'd be insured
and they weren't. They didn't get back the insurance that they thought they would. Put
up your hands if that's happened to you. Yes, a few hands going up there. Unfortunately,
it's a story I hear a lot in business. I experienced it myself recently. I was down on the Gold
Coast, I was sleeping in my hotel room and somebody still managed to break in and take
my laptop, and my wallet and everything, they also took my brother's iPad, iPhone and laptop,
so it was quite a good haul for them. Fortunately I had everything in the Cloud, so I just needed
to go to a friend's house and I could continue to work the next day; there was little to
no impact on my business. I did think I had insurance though, I had four insurances in
place, but not one of them covered them. I've certainly looked at my insurance policies
and changed them since.
I really hope as an outcome for today, this is probably an action point for all of you,
as to look at what insurances you have in place. There are a lot of different insurances
out there. You can have public liability if you're interacting with the public in any
shape or form; whether you're running events or they're coming into your premises and so
on. If you're offering a service, you may need professional indemnity and there are
different insurers that will cover the different services. You can certainly ring the insurance
ombudsman, you can look that up on the web and they are a good one to ask, who covers
for this kind of thing if you're not sure who to go to and where to start.
The other thing is to really consider an insurance broker, because like mortgage brokers, they
are not aligned with anybody in particular. They will usually talk to you and then they
will shop around for you and find you may be the cheapest, but may be the most comprehensive,
or may be the most relevant solution. So if you're a time poor business owner, that's
a really good tip for you.
I'd like you to all text chat me now and tell me when was the last time you updated your
insurance policy? When was the last time you looked at this? Was it six months ago, a year
ago, last week? Drop me a line and let's see what the general consensus across the people
with people who are on today.
Six months ago, just before the storm season, Noel said. That's a wise move. A year ago
says Simon; so maybe Simon that could be time to do it again. Three months, says Heidi.
Now here is an interesting point. Three months might not sound like very long ago, but think
about, has your situation changed in that time, and if it has it may be time to review
it. I know I've recently taken on some new staff and I probably need to look at whether
they're insured. I've taken on some new projects. I need to make sure that they're covered for
as well. Kim has made the point, annually, with the insurance agent before renewal. That's
a good idea too, Kim. If you do get busy and you just aren't getting around to this, certainly
every year when your insurance is due again, don't just sign it off and let it tick over,
do take the time to review it. Natasha has made a good point of, how do you find the
I guess you've got to just place a big priority on this. My personal trainer put this into
perspective for me. She basically said, when I said, “I don't always have time for exercise,
because that's something that drops off.” She said to me, “Do you have time to eat?”
And I said, “Well, yeah, most of the time.” She said, “Do you have time to go to the
toilet?” And I said, “Yeah, of course I do.” So basically they're things that
we just make time for because we have to do them to function as a human being. So I guess
to function as a business, this stuff is just so important. You put it down to this: you
may not have a business if you don't find the time for this, so all those other little
jobs you're doing, may not exist, you may not have a wage, you may not have staff, and
you may not have premises; so I guess you need to find the time.
The other idea I can give to you, is that through the use of a calendar, there's a lot
of people out there that I call time-stealers; they'll ring you up to have a chat, or drop
you an email, they'll want a response, and they'll want a meeting for the sake of having
a meeting. You know what, if you can look at your diary and you can block out time to
work on this stuff, I suggest that maybe you set up a recurring appointment with yourself,
maybe every three months that you do look at your insurances. Put it on your to-do list
and it just has to happen, increase the priority on it. Hopefully those suggestions give you
some ideas.
On insurance, look at insurance brokers, talk to the insurance ombudsman, and look at what
insurances you have in place – a couple of others I haven't mentioned yet. One is
income protection insurance, that's one a lot of people don't have, but if you think
about it, the stat is that on average, everybody in the workforce will have at least six months
off at some stage of their careers. I don't know if you've had your six months off due
to an unforseen thing. It might be due to someone in your family or yourself. I've just
heard of a terrible story of a friend of mine in New Zealand whose little girl was 4 years
old, she has cancer, she's having a kidney out this week, and he is taking a lot of time
off and is finding it really hard to fund mortgage repayments and living to support
her in her horrific journey. So I don't think he's got income protection and I bet he wishes
he does. So look at having that in place, because that will kick in. It will either
pay the full amount of your wage or the wage you draw from your business, or up to 80%
with some insurance policies. Some have a stand-down period, like it might take two
weeks of being off, or a month of being off before it kicks in, so look at that and get
something in place that is appropriate for you.
There is also life insurance of course. If you were to pass on, who would take on the
debt of your business that you may have; whether it be credit cards, whether it be for the
equipment you've purchased, whether it be for debtors [sic] that you need to pay, think
of all those things and probably get some life insurance into place so that you're not
leaving a big trail of destruction behind you. And like I said, change them if they
are due for an update. Are we getting some ideas here people? Show of hands if you're
got some action points out just a few slides we've already covered? Great, a few hands
going up. Good one. Even this webinar, and just committing to it and getting on it, makes
you focus on this stuff, I think it's very, very powerful.
I've already touched on the fact that you need a plan B, C and a D. Not just one plan,
but several. So these are the types of things that you might need a plan for. One is quality
control, so how do you make sure that the product you're providing or the service providing
is going out at a standard. So you could go through the process of getting ISO accredited,
depending on what it is you do, but that is expensive and it is quite time-consuming to
go through that; that might be a plan A.
Plan B might be to again, allocate some time and review your procedures and processed.
I know just recently we revised a lot of ours because some of our systems have changed,
so even though it was documented, you need to go back through to make sure the quality
was still there. So for instance, we build websites. I asked the guys who are responsible
for doing those: what is the procedure you are following to make sure that these websites
go out in a timely fashion and in a high-quality fashion, and what are all the items that need
to be done? And I said, “I want to see that list because I want to make sure that everything,
as the business owner I want to make sure is happening, is actually happening.”
Staff training could be a bit of a plan as well. Everyone should be providing training.
Again, if you're struggling to find the time, book it in ahead of time and make sure it
happens. Maybe even outsource that to a professional. There are some fantastic trainers out there,
consultants, HR people, workplace health and safety people; whatever it is you need to
cover off, get someone in if you don't have time to do that. Do think about Workplace
Health and Safety; there are some quite rigorous rules governing that these days, and new rules
coming in all the time. There is actually a whole webinar, a whole hour on Workplace
Health and Safety that we recorded last year, which is available on our YouTube channel,
where we had some people from Workplace Health & Safety Queensland telling us about new legislation
and resources that they've got available, so maybe take a look at that as well. And
on that, I really recommend that everyone these days has a workplace, health and safety
officer on their staff, so whether it is you, or whether it is someone that you trust and
rely on for that kind of thing, I recommend you look at that.
Maintenance of facilities, plant and equipment: again, it's easy to forget about, but you
think planes are taking off with not being correctly maintained, of course they're not,
and if you want to ensure the safety of yourself and your staff, you certainly need to have
a program in place for that too. Security devices also might help with theft and all
that kind of stuff, there's many options. I love the fact that one of you, I think it
was Kim suggested that he did a pre-storm and cyclone season. Cyclone season happens
every year in Australia, or in Queensland in particular, so we know come October, November,
we're in the season, so we're kind of coming out the other end, or supposed to be, on tradition
– but hey we've got some wild weather right now, we certainly have and apparently we've
got more coming on the Sunshine Coast. But between now and October is a really big window
of opportunity to get some of this stuff into place.
Appropriate systems and controls: you know there's some wonderful online systems that
can automate the stuff, or which you can set up checklists so that they're fool-proof,
staff have to check them off before they can proceed to the next item. So as much time
as it may involve, if you can systemise it and put some time into it initially, down
the track you can actually save yourself a lot of time and reduce a lot of risk as well.
Backups of computers: let's explore that a little bit more because it's something I'm
pretty passionate about, as you may have picked up on. With backups, we used to recommend
that you get yourself an external hard-drive and do a back-up of your computer on a periodic
basis. But then what happens if theft occurs and they take not only the laptop or the computer
but they take that little backup system as well. I had a girlfriend that lost all the
baby photos which was devastating for her. Well, one is you should always have a copy
of a backup off site as well as onsite, because then if there is a theft, or there is a fire
or there is a flood, hopefully there is an up-to-date version offsite. Not hopefully,
actually, you need to make sure if you are responsible for this in your business.
People often ask me, how often should I backup? Well my comment on that would actually be
to throw a question back at you and ask you, how much are you prepared to lose? If you
say, only a day because a lot goes on in a day, I would say backup daily. Now these days,
whilst you can continue to have those hard-drive solutions – and it depends on what you do
– I would also recommend an online back-up. There are lots and lots of solutions out there,
some of which you can set to automatically backup at a certain time on a certain day
or even every day, so there's also online storage solutions, things called Dropbox and
so on. We actually explore those in quite detail on the Cloud Computing Webinar which
is also on our YouTube if you'd like to go and have a look at what some of those solutions
are. Certainly get one. We use Dropbox and we're in the process of moving our entire
hard-drive on there, and just using it as our main hard-drive because it means we can
work anywhere, when I'm away travelling, presenting, doing different stuff, I can access it. Someone's
computer dies, it's there, it's not like I lost all the company data, and it's just a
bit more fool-proof really.
The other point there, careful selection of staff: employing the wrong staff can add quite
a lot of risk and so you need to be really careful and you need to set some policies
and procedures and have a good induction and a good exit to make sure that you're minimising
the risk on that front. And monitoring devices: do you check their email, do you see what
websites they're going on, all of these things, if they're outside of your area of expertise
or experience, do know again, there is IT professionals who can put in software that
can help you track and monitor your staff. And you might say, well what about breaches
of privacy? The fact is that if they are using your computers and working for you in that
time, you actually do have access to their emails; a lot of staff don't realise that.
So don't hesitate there. Cloud computing, I feel like we've covered.
Another thing is emergency procedures and kit: so do you have an emergency procedure
in your office? I'd like to see a show of hands, who has already got one of those? Evacuation,
or in the event of fire or whatever it may be; do you have one already established? I
reckon only about a third of you have put that in. There's an action point for those
of you who haven't raised your hands. Wherever you operate, even if it's out of home, where
are the exits? Do other people come? What if you have a visitor? What if you have a
client there? What if you have a staff member there, they need to know where the exit windows
are and doors and what they should basically do. Is there something they should grab that's
got all your key documentation in, and recommend there is? Do you have a kit, should you be
– I don't think snowed in is necessarily going to happen in Queensland – but should
you not be able to leave the premises for three days due to floods or something, can
you survive for food, is there water there? Because, again, you're responsible for other
people, so think about that.
And when was the last time you tested the smoke alarm, that you did a drill or a test.
You could run through all of this and allocate a day to it, and probably knock a lot of it
over, depending on what sort of business you are and where you. I really strongly suggest
that you do that.
Remember the old boy scouts' motto, where prepared. I had to pull up that picture because
moving through this preparedness on the circle that I showed you before, this is a very important
one, and hopefully that little image will remind you about being prepared. So this is
about being pro-active and planning for the likelihood of an event and it's the fact that
it could interrupt your business operations, so please, please don't think that this won't
ever happen to me. For instance on the Sunshine Coast, we didn't get hit by cyclones, we didn't
get hit by floods, though there was some flooding in some areas, but generally for those ones
we had last year we weren't too affected, so it's easy to think we're safe here, but
there's nothing to say that a cyclone won't rip through here in the future, so we really
have to be much more open-minded about it. So preparedness basically, as you can see
on there is about being pro-active, not waiting for it happen and then dealing with it, but
planning that the worse could happen and expecting the worse, knowing what you would do.
Now we've talked about doing a risk-management plan and the fact that you can access that
information in the workbook, and we're recommend that everyone does go through and do the exercise.
There's also another thing called the BIA or Business Impact Analysis. Has anyone heard
of this, if you'd like to raise your hands if you've heard of a BIA? Some of you have.
I'll admit, before I learnt about taking the session, I had never heard of it. Basically
it measures what impact it would have, but not just the risk, but if it happened, what
it would mean for your business. So you can see there's an example on screen. Let's say
your production services, which might be a core thing that you do in business, couldn't
happen, and that the widgets you create for orders couldn't happen, it would be a pretty
high priority if you were in the business of widgets, right. So it's measuring here
that you could possibly have reduced 7,500 in revenue per week. So if you can get a handle
of these figures, when a disaster strikes, you know how long you've got before you might
have to be asking for loans or finding a new way to source these products to provide these
products or forming an alliance with someone etc. Because customers obviously can't wait
that long and they will source alternative suppliers. If you're not getting the money
in, of course you can see on there you can't pay the business overheads, and in this person's
case, it would be two weeks that they would have to start laying people off.
Now there are solutions, you've got to think laterally in these situations. We saw some
wonderful examples through the natural disasters, what people did. Some companies that weren't
as affected but had increased demand due to their location, say, actually hired other
people and gave them a job while their other place was being fitted out. Some got business
loans, some got personal loans, and some like I said formed alliances with their competitors
to continue to supply. There were all sorts of examples. So don't think that's it's all
over Red Rover, think laterally and maybe get some help with this, maybe sit with your
team and do it as a team exercise and a team meeting, because you can't think of everything,
they might think of things you hadn't thought of. Maybe your business advisors, if you have
them, maybe your accountant, maybe just create this as a really core document that you're
constantly updating. Maybe put it on a Google spreadsheet that other people can add to it
if they have an idea or something changes; make it a nice dynamic data.
I feel like we've really looked at the first two Ps now. So let's look at the response.
So if you are, say, in Townsville and you're in this response phase, how are you and your
team going to actually respond? Well the first thing you need to do is put together an incident
response team, so that may include a team leader. Who is going to help, who is on the
team? The assessors and maybe even a spokesperson, and make sure the crisis is their top and
only priority.
Some businesses out there may have, for instance, already, a dedicated marketing or PR person
on their time. Who, for instance, has someone like that who is a spokesperson for media
situations? Put up your hands if someone does? Cool, some of you do. So that might be the
person. Now if you didn't put up your hand, you need to think about whether you would
be comfortable speaking to media, or grumpy customers who want your supply and want to
know when they're going to get it, when you've had a disaster, because you may not be the
best person. You may be under so much emotional stress that you're in the position to do it,
you may have far other better priorities than communicating with people; you might actually
be sorting those things out, so you may talk to a PR company who specialises in a thing
called crisis management, and there's certainly professionals out there that do this, and
say, if we should have ever have a disaster, could I have you on standby to make this crisis
your top priority. And you would interview them and make sure they're right for the job
and see what their credentials are, and get a quote so you will know what you'd be up
for. Because I bet you when disaster strikes, all sorts of people are going to be calling
on them.
Similarly, assessors, have you got your insurance guy's number and who are the assessors. Do
you have a good relationship with your bank manager? These are all people you might need
to be talking to immediately after a disaster has struck. Are they in one handy place? Are
they in your brain, are they on your email, are they in your phone? What if your phone
gets flooded or lost as well. Have them in multiple locations, communicate to multiple
people where they are and document that officially as an incident response team who are there
to understand and evaluate and come up with solutions of what to do when disaster strikes.
Now apart from having a team, need an actual plan. So I would encourage you to document
what are you instructions for the crucial first hour after a crisis hits. Because I
heard of examples, my partner for instance has just been helping with the floods down
at St George, and he would go and have a drink at a pub, and there was only one of the three
pubs in town open as a result of the floods; well unfortunately the pub owner, one of them
had got very badly open, had just touched down in Fiji, they were just starting their
holiday and they saw their pub flooded. So they weren't there to respond, they needed
to rely on their manager and the rest of their staff to respond, and I don't think they had
any of this stuff in place. It would be pretty nice to know, that you touched down in Fiji
and despite the fact that you've seen your pub flooded, that there's people in place
and they know what to do, it's all been thought prior to it. So what are your instructions?
Who is the response team? First in charge, second in charge, third in charge; what's
the chain of command? And make sure there's a thing that's called a Go-Pack which might
look something like what you can see on screen there, just basically an emergency kit and
this is the key containing critical documents. Who here has been, not only affected by a
natural disaster, but the fact that they didn't have perhaps their business registration or
their insurance paperwork or their contacts handy? Hands up if that was a bit of a bugger,
you just couldn't get to them? Nobody? Some of you?
I know that this was a real issue for some people who experienced the Christchurch quake
for instance; all their paperwork was inside buildings which were condemned, so they could
not get the paperwork they needed to prove the identity, to prove their role, to prove
what they needed to sort out. I would have it in a grab bag, you know the ground is shaking,
grab that black backpack and all the staff know to do that, and they've got the key documents,
and apart from that, and apart from some of these other things on the screen now, make
sure that stuff is online too so that you can just get to somewhere with the internet
and you can access that information as a backup as well.
The next one down, that's really important, contact lists. So response team, lawyers,
bank managers, key suppliers, key manufacturers, key clients, all those sorts of people that
you may need to notify, what the situation is, what it's going to mean for them, or even
just to tell them we're still working it out and you'll be notified the moment we have
a plan; that's very, very important indeed.
Now when I keep saying, put it online, put it online, there are online storage solutions,
but there's also a thing called Google Docs. Apart from being a great search engine, Google
also has a suite of fantastic software and one of those is Google Docs, so just go Google
it and you will turn it up. Now what that allows you to do is upload existing Word or
Excel or PowerPoints that might be important to you and/or recreate them on there, or if
you don't have one, create a key contacts list and you can share that with different
staff. So different staff who need access to it would then have access to it. If it's
a very confidential document, it might be all your bank account details, you wouldn't
go sharing that with everybody, but other things like an evacuation plan, you certainly
Checklists are a good idea as well, because in disasters people lose their heads, they
are emotional, they forget, they've done all the training, they've had the meeting, they
only had it recently but everything they know goes out their heads because of the stress
they're under. So have in that grab bag, this is who you need to call first and second and
third. This is what you need to do first and second and third and make sure they tick it
off. Because then let's say you do come back from Fiji, you can turn up and say, “Right's,
what's been done?” And they can turn around with that checklist and go, “I've covered
that.” You say, “Great, I'll take over the rest from here. Wonderful job, good on
And event log is the second and last one, and that's also a very important one, because
what that allows you to do – this really comes into its own with insurance – is it
allows you to document what you did. Insurance company turns around and goes, “Oh, we're
not going to give you the money, because we don't think you handled the response very
well. You should have done this and you should have done that.” You can actually turn around
and go, “Look, we actually did, and here at 8.08 on the 5th, this person did this and
then they couldn't do the next thing because this happened.” So do keep a log of it.
Everyone that I've talked to that has experienced a disaster, has said those that took an event
log, that became a really, really valuable tool, so let's learn from them.
Right, you need to define the problem and determine the strategy. There are going to
be problems arise, when you are responding to a crisis, some of which you haven't determined.
Don't think you have to do this on your own, do turn to others and do think of a strategy.
Often two heads or three heads is better than one, but it is important that you act quickly
when it comes to safety and things. Often in disasters, the first hour is vital as you
can see on the screen there. But also know that things are going to change, and it's
really important to manage information correctly. Again, if you are going to be emotional, which
you probably are, you're going to be busy sorting out everything; you may even want
to delegate the dissemination of key information to someone in particular.
Now I've got on the right-hand side there a bit of a screen shot from Twitter. Twitter
started in 2006 and by 2007, as you can see on there, people were already using it for
disaster management. Interestingly, I feel like it's only been in the last couple of
years where Australia has had a lot of natural disasters, that people have really clipped
onto Twitter and understand just how powerful and useful it can be. The fact that it's not
just for saying, I had a coffee and I walked the dog et cetera, that you can amass lots
of key information and communicate very effectively with it. There were even reports from the
Christchurch earthquake where people were trapped in the building under piles of rubble,
but they could access their phone and they did have an internet connection and they were
able to tweet that they were in trouble and that they needed help. There's one story where
a guy tweeted where he was and someone in America saw that and then alerted the authorities
back in Christchurch that they needed to go in and rescue that guy. How incredible is
that guy?
The example on screen is of the San Diego fires, so you can see everyone from emergency
services using it to say that you're free to bring your livestock back in, the fire
is over. The hashtags were used a lot by media, because you can search on Twitter for a certain
hashtag, for instance the Christchurch quake was #chchquake and then media were picking
– not that even people who were experiencing it there in Christchurch were saying.
Even the tsunami in Japan, I remember reading about it first on Twitter and turning around
to my dad and saying, “Wow, there's been a big earthquake in Japan.” And he said,
“When?” And I said, “Five minutes ago according to Twitter.” He turned on the
TV, it was another half an hour before they had any news reports and by that stage I was
looking on there saying, “And now there's a tsunami going through.” And him going,
“It's not on the news.” And me saying, “Well, that's the power of Twitter.”
So you can cultivate and call on subject matter experts, it could be a Twitter expert, it
could be someone who knows what to do in the case of a massive fire or flood for this industry,
because they have experienced it, and I daresay there's quite a few people around who have
experienced that. I was speaking at a self-storage solutions event recently, and they brought
up a guy from Rocklea who had been very flooded, and he shared a story of how he got back up
and running with all the rest of the members of the self-storage association. One, it was
very inspirational, but two, that's so great, they're seeing the positives and they are
sharing these experiences, because really he is a bit of a subject matter expert now,
and hopefully that will reduce the damage should anyone else experience the same thing.
Apart from responding, of course then you've got to recover, and we all know that lots
of Queenslanders are still recovering a year on from floods and cyclones and things. As
you can see on here, recovery can broadly be divided into resumption or continuing of
the business activities and restoration. The recovery of resources: so let's take a look
at this.
After the crisis, you really need to assess the extent of the damage. I know there was
a radio report yesterday and Townsville is saying, please be careful because there are
power lines down. That's always an important one when there's a high-wind scenario. One
of the first things you need to look at and definitely record, is whether there is any
injury to people, including staff, clients and members of the public. Because if you
don't and later they come back and they say, “I was injured and it was a result of your
negligence.” You can turn around and say, “I looked and you were not injured at that
time, and that's documented and here's a document.” And you may get your staff to all sign off
to say they're all okay and fine. It could mean damage to your reputation. Here's an
example. I went through McDonald's drive-through around the time of the floods and I asked
for a chicken burger or something, and they told me I couldn't have anything but a cheese
burger – because if any of you didn't know, the warehouse that supplies all the McDonald's
in Brisbane got very flooded and all the food ruined. Now that didn't damage their reputation
too much to me, I sympathised, but had I been a die-hard chicken burger eater, maybe that's
all I ate, I didn't eat the burgers, I could have got the pip with McDonald's and decided
I was never going to go there again, because that just wasn't good enough. So reputation
management is pretty important, you don't want people – for instance, a vicious rumour
to get around that you had a business and you are so badly damaged from the flood or
the fire that you'll never get back up on your feet. You need to be monitoring that
kind of sentiment and responding to it.
You need to look at the impacts on your business. You need to look at the buildings, the stock,
the crops, the vehicles, the equipment and then priority. It will be overwhelming, there
will be a very long list probably, but once it's all documented it's not then swimming
around in your head and you can actually do something about it.
The other thing that is important to monitor and perhaps even write down, is also the staff
reactions; they're going to want to talk about it and they're going to want your support
and you need to be a good ear and maybe a shoulder to cry on, because it can be very,
very traumatic these sorts of things.
On recovery, what activities could you undertake to assist your business after a crisis? Well,
I've talked a fair bit about it, but I will remind you again, you need to communicate
with all stakeholders. Don't leave them in the dark. Stakeholders would be deemed your
employees. You must make them a priority, they could be looking for other work, or freaking
out about their mortgage repayments, so even if you don't know the answer, tell them what's
happening, but tell them when you're likely to have an answer for them of what's going
Communicate all those other chains of your business that I mentioned as well. Like I
mentioned, you might identify alternative suppliers, an alternative location, alternative
processes just to get you through that recovery phase. Identifying impacts to your business
functions, what functions can you no longer perform and what does that mean. Ensure staff
understand and collectively are working together. They may have to do tasks that aren't in their
job description, that they've got no experience with, but you just need them to do to recover
from this thing.
You may need to make sure you've got adequate insurance coverage. Here's a thing, for the
St George floods that just went through, Suncorp apparently were offering to people, up to
an hour before the floods hit, that they could still transfer and they'd still be covered,
and some people chose not to, isn't that incredible.
But most importantly, the recovery and after the crisis aftermath, there's that one bowl,
but don't forget the human aspect. At the end of the day, we're all people, we all feel
things in different ways, we all react in different ways, so don't forget to be a friend,
a brother, a sister, a father, a mother, a neighbour; don't forget to help out and I
just think the Queensland spirit has really been alive and well and we've all got to keep
that going, despite getting battered quite often, it feels like recently.
In summary, here's our top tips of how you can bounce back, which is why we've got that
guy on the bouncy thing there – through this business continuity. Number one, have
a Go-bag or a Grab-bag, think of all the things you, and your business needs to be able grab,
it might be a box. Make sure people know what's in there, make sure they contribute to what's
in there and go through that.
Make sure you identify risks, go through the risk management plan that is available in
that workbook, please, please do it. Also look at the business impact analysis, two
really important exercises to go through. Look at Cloud computing and backups offsite
or online, really, really important, and do prepare a business continuity plan. So here
is a great little link you can go to right now and it's a step-by-step tool that DEEDI
has put together to help you identify the risks, so you can go through the workbook
or you can also use this tool as well, because it's going to help you develop an action plan,
so isn't it cool that they make such a great thing available to us.
Thank you so much for getting on. I hope you got a lot out of that hour you spent with
us. We realise time is precious and spending an hour is a long time. We try and cram it
in, we try and give you as much information as we can and we really appreciate the fact
that you've got on here. We look forward to hosting you again soon.