Are Your Shrimp on a Treadmill or Are Your Business Continuity Meetings Actually Productive?

You’re picturing it, aren’t you?  A tiny little treadmill with a smiling shrimp enjoying his daily cardio.  The funny thing is we are not – repeat not – making this up.  With U.S. federal budget issues in the news again lately, a lot of light has been shed on interesting pork add-ons to certain bills and to some of the more interesting recent uses of tax money.  The term shrimp treadmills has evolved into code for questionable, perhaps not particularly useful ways that tax money is being distributed.

Now certainly, applied research is invaluable in the advancement of science, technology, business and our overall growth as a species.  And the study, which was part of a National Science Foundation grant, was actually a very small part of a larger cancer research program.  We’re not questioning the strategy, methodology or efficacy of the results.  But it does get your attention.

shrimp-treadmill-pullThey’re shrimp.  On a treadmill.

Just the language of it reminds us of so many business continuity meetings that are either delayed until the last minute or, when they finally occur, consist mostly of a group of semi-connected individuals from wholly different divisions within an organization who very briefly gather to run through last year’s checklist – a checklist that, due to the passing of time, changes within the organization itself and/or evolution in the productive strategy of the business continuity industry, is probably outdated and at the very least needs some tweaking.  Or even a fresh approach altogether.

Business continuity planning is such a new industry, indeed a wholly new approach, that many of us still find ourselves from time to time explaining to friends and family members what it is that we actually do for a living.  Except in a few select industries such as the petrochemical and offshore exploration trades, ‘business continuity’ in the past usually meant i) get caught by surprise by an unthinkable disaster, ii) respond ineffectively.  Because of the loss of untold billions of dollars and the impact on health and mortality by a series of events in the last few decades, business continuity preparation has understandably grown to become a robust, complex and productive part of doing business.

But it’s a living organism, all this preparation, and it requires dedicated nurturing on a constant basis.  In the past, backup or deployment housing for your critical personnel was probably relegated to a line on the checklist as something to do if and when a business interruption became imminent.  In other words, when it was probably too late because of competing demand by other companies.  Engaging in a pre-negotiated contract for guaranteed housing is an easy, effective and painless way to put some more meat on the bones of your plan.  And, pun intended, you’ll sleep better.


Plan better now.  Seek new ideas, ask questions, realize that one of the best ways to make sure you and your organization are as prepared as possible is to look for answers anywhere but the usual places. Nurture your plan and build a more vigorous, reciprocating vessel that will result in the best possible payoff and clear evidence of your plan’s value when the time comes.

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