Where Hockey Meets Continuity

After watching the Canada/USA women’s hockey gold medal match, I was struck by a rather strange thought. Business and Government had come to a temporary stand-still, while the whole country watched an incredible comeback. We cheered, we roared, we swore at the TV a lot, but other than looking down at email, what was going on? Nothing. The government even postponed scheduled press conferences until overtime was done. How Canadian, eh?

What does this have to do with anything? In Canada, hockey comes first, doesn’t it? Well, no. Electronic commerce comes all the time, whether you are looking at it or not. And that means that you have to be aware of what’s going on. So how do we manage continuity when the entire country is culturally predisposed to putting Hockey first? That’s a good question, but it is part of a larger problem.

How do we handle situations where people’s emotions and desires come before business? We adapt, that’s how. As managers, we have to be aware of what influences our staff. If we don’t or won’t, then we are going to have unexpected situations, like everyone disappearing to go downstairs to the local pub to watch the game. You simply cannot force people to act against their nature. You have to plan for it. So, when there is a gold medal hockey game scheduled, don’t plan on doing a massive benchmark or critical installation or code activation requiring everyone’s attention. Plan around it, because you know it’s going to happen. And ignoring what you know will happen will bring forth the biggest risk to your company: you.