Saturday, January 1, 2011

Life Continuity Plan

Every business worth its salt touts a Business Continuity Plan; with that dreaded acronym BCP. In many companies its mostly a piece of paper; not worth what its written on. But in some companies its taken to an obsessive level - elaborate design and repeated testing. The thought leads me to muse on whether a Life Continuity Plan is worth considering for a society or even individuals. It might sound like a morbid thought, especially as the New Year cheer has still not died down, but it isn't.

Take societies. Its "life chain"has been optimised so much that there is little slack for things going wrong. One truckers strike is enough to make most goods vanish from stores - happens in India repeatedly. The power grid in most countries is bursting at its seams ; just needs one major breakdown and there will be a fair amount of chaos - remember California of a few years ago. Natural disasters, even minor ones, cause mayhem - recall the Icelandic volcano of last year. And witness the looting and crime that happens when there's even a minor break down in law and order. When petrol pumps (or gas stations) dry up, as they easily can, imagine the consequences.

Yes, life does go on, when such things happen. Does it ?? Life doesn't go on, at least in any normal fashion, for those caught in the middle of it. Anybody in Haiti would appreciate this thought.

What about us individuals ? How many of us can face a disaster, god forbid, if it were to happen to us ? Have we written a will ? Have we insured our stuff ? Do we know what we will do if we lost our job ? Of course, such things happen to others, not to us. May it never happen to us. But just in case .......

I know this not a post keeping with the mood of the new year. But then good times are always the best of times to plan for a rainy day. I believe societies and individuals, must have a "life continuity plan". One that foresees disasters and plans for coping with them. Efficiency is all fine; but a highly underrated word is resilience.

Individuals, and societies, must build resilience into their fabric. Only then can we enjoy the true fruits of efficiency.