Coronavirus (COVID-19) is here. We don’t know how long it will stay, or the precise means by which we will eradicate it. Emergencies aren’t something you want to imagine. Being prepared to face catastrophes and the challenges they convey is essential to our ability to overcome them. Having an emergency preparedness plan for workplace readiness helps us do just that. If you’re operating like a well-oiled machine during this pandemic, then bravo (…and let’s schedule a Zoom Room)! If you feel your workforce could have responded sooner or been better organized, here are a few lessons we can all learn with regard to emergency management and contingency planning.

Move Rapidly.

As a business, being adept is critical. However, it’s far less valuable during a crisis if you cannot do so swiftly. Time is of the essence. Semper Paratus! In case you don’t already know, the Latin phrase means “always ready.” It’s the motto of many–including our United States Coast Guard. Preparedness is something that is as vital to our national security and personal welfare as it is to our business operations. With a solid emergency preparedness plan for workplace readiness in place, businesses and their leaders are better equipped to make smart decisions in a shorter amount of time. Workplace readiness requires adequate training, up-to-date procedures and easily accessible information. Being ready gives you the ability to implement an emergency action plan quickly and effectively.

Have a Forecast.

Understand your operational strengths and weaknesses. When it comes to emergency management (and life in general), things you do well come more naturally. It can be painful to spend time thinking about deficiencies. But, investing in these areas before an emergency strikes is invaluable time returned when the disaster materializes. By getting in touch with the integrity of your operating procedures and each respective division functioning therein, you can develop an approach that not only leverages your business’s strengths but also counterbalances its shortcomings. If you know additional staff, technology or other resources will be needed to address specific challenges, incorporate these critical steps into your planning. Wherever possible, share those contingency plans with stakeholders both internally and externally. Pre-calibrate, calibrate and if needed, recalibrate.

Lead.

Circumstances change quickly when disaster strikes. Being fully prepared for the unknown means managing all possible outcomes in advance. Like a game of chess, the strategic intensity of decision making relies on both intuition and science. Even so, “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” We are all susceptible to failure. And, that’s okay. More important than strategic planning is the ability to lead. So, take pride in your role as a leader. Seek knowledge, listen for understanding and communicate openly. It’s imperative that you continually build trust. Honest communication throughout changing economic, cultural and social landscapes safeguards confidence in leadership. Being vulnerable makes us human. When plans fail, we rely on one another.

People are depending on us. It’s our responsibility to not only share readiness tools but also to inspire hope, patience and trust that our experience today will prepare us for a better tomorrow.