The annual Houston marathon was this past Sunday and, as opposed to last year when it was bleak, very chilly and raining, this morning’s weather was a runner’s dream: clear skies, high 40s and a cloudless sky. Billed as “Houston’s largest sporting event,” the marathon has really taken off in the last 20 years and now draws runners from all over the world who like the nice, flat route, low cost of amenities, the great food, the friendly people and the temperate weather. Full disclosure: if it’s not already apparent, I’m a very proud Houstonian. It’s a sellout event every year and more than 30,000 runners participated this year.
I run. A lot. I have never run a marathon and have never wanted to, although I admit I’m a little jealous each year knowing that I could. Standing out on the line watching the runners go by, some of whom admittedly looking like they were anywhere but, it’s easy to get caught up in the revelry and the sense of accomplishment each seems to exult in when they cross the finish line. I don’t run for medals or to exercise but because I enjoy it and the several times I’ve run 14 to 16 miles at a go, I’ve realized it’s just not for me.
What occurred to me this morning – and yes, I really do think about this stuff constantly, even at sporting events – is how much a marathon parallels a business continuity plan, or at least a very good or great business continuity plan. I didn’t realize it until they interviewed a first-time marathoner in the pre-run show the night before the marathon. The local reporter, a veteran of several marathons, asked the first-timer what his plan was. “Um, plan?” replied the runner. “I just plan to get out there and run.” Which sounds like a really, really bad business continuity plan. Even the reporter registered a bit of surprise at the answer.
Even for a much shorter 10-mile run I know that it’s not about going through the motions and hoping for the best. Like any good plan, it’s that game you play with yourself to see how you can recognize your goals faster, more efficiently and with a far more positive outcome. Parallels:
- Don’t wear a brand-new pair of shoes on game day. Don’t change your BC plan the day of the disaster unless it’s absolutely necessary.
- Hydrate and snack a bit during your run so that you can function properly and also enjoy the run, at least as much as possible. Take care of yourself – and most importantly your team – for the entire duration so that they’re comfortable and able to operate at peak efficiency.
- Cultivate a support staff of friends and family to keep you focused and taken care of during and after the event. As far in advance as possible, arrange as much professional guidance and specialized, expert support as possible to keep you focused and taken care of during and after the event.
- Pace yourself and don’t let distractions undermine your progress. Stick to the plan and delegate outside resources to manage extraneous elements that aren’t part of your core service.
- Set a goal and do whatever it takes to reach it. Ditto.
Not that you have to be a long-distance runner in order to be a good BC professional. But running a marathon and seeing your BC plan productively run its course? Both are the pinnacle of accomplishment.
Continuity Housing helps companies enhance their business continuity plans by pre-arranging guaranteed housing and providing logistical support for mission-critical employees during disasters.