My Inner SheepdogWritten by W. MARTIN MYERS, MS, MBCP Monday, 20 April 2009 12:46
"Appeared in DRJ's Spring 2009 Issue"
Then there are sheepdogs who work to protect the fl ock and confront the wolf. While a sheep lives for its daily productive life of munching green grass, it is the sheepdog that scans the horizon and dark places of the forest for the wolf. The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. The sheep’s daily routine could be dramatically disturbed. We sheepdogs disturb the sheep. We are a constant reminder there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn’t tell them to prepare, be vigilant, or give them reason for concern. The sheep would much rather have their sheepdog relax, spray paint himself white, and go, “Baaaaa.”
That is, until the wolf shows up. Then the entire fl ock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog.
How many of you have seen how quickly the role of BC planning can change to the role of crisis response when a wolf shows up at the door? Being a sheep or a sheepdog is not an allor- nothing, either-or choice. It is a matter of degrees.
At one end is the sleepy sheep, and on the other end is the watchful sheepdog. Few exist completely on one end or the other. Most of us live somewhere in between. Have you ever noticed that after a crisis, sheep will take a few steps toward accepting and appreciating their sheepdogs?
It is denial that turns people into sleepy sheep. Sleepy fl ocks are often crushed by wolves because their only defense is denial, which is counterproductive and destructive, resulting in helplessness when the wolf shows up. Denial is seductive, but it has an insidious side effect. For all the peace of mind the sheep think they get by saying it isn’t so, the fall they take when faced with the wolf is all the more unsettling. Denial is a save-now-paylater scheme.
As a sheepdog we must cleanse denial from his thinking. Sheepdogs must practice “when/ then” thinking, not “if/when.” Instead of saying, “If it happens then I will take action,” the sheepdog says, “When it happens then I will be ready.”
“Delay is the deadliest form of denial.” – C. Northcate Parlinson
Here is how the sheep and the sheepdog think differently. The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog plans for that day. While there is nothing morally superior about the sheepdog, he does have one real advantage. He and his fl ock are able to survive and possibly thrive in an environment that destroys a fl ock without a sheepdog.
Martin Myers, MS, MBCP, is a business continuity manager in the card services division of Bank of America. He has more than 19 years of experience in developing and evaluating disaster recovery and business continuity plans including emergency preparedness and response and crisis management for prominent domestic and international companies. His work has taken him throughout the U.S., and to Canada, Bermuda, Panama, Costa Rica, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and South Korea. Myers is the newly-elected chairperson of the DRJ Editorial Advisory Board.