As you may have heard, they’re having a problem with ice down in Atlanta. There’s been a massive traffic snarl, with thousands of abandoned cars. Children were forced to shelter in school overnight, as there was no way to get them safely home. It’s fair to say that a few inches of snow and ice was a catastrophic weather event for Atlanta.
Throughout much of New England and the Mid-West, we call weather conditions like that “winter.” Watching Atlanta’s struggle with our everyday experience has been a little surreal – but only until you realize that the people there were facing our everyday experience without our everyday advantages.
What are those everyday advantages?
There are two that spring immediately to mind: snow tires & winter driving experience. Having the right gear and knowing how to use it makes accomplishing the task of wintertime travel much easier. But if you don’t have the right gear and you don’t know how to use it? Well, basically, you’re stuck spinning your tires, getting nowhere fast.
Right now, the focus in Atlanta remains primarily on helping people get safely home. But questions are already being asked about what could be done to be better prepared in the case of another winter weather event. Identifying and acquiring the right gear for icy roads and developing the skills and systems to keep people safe will help prevent this situation from happening again.
As business owners, we all have those Ice Storm in Atlanta days. Something completely unexpected goes wrong with our business. It could be extremely bad weather, an employee meltdown, a stolen laptop. We have digital problems nowadays: the server crashes, websites get hacked, you can’t connect to a cloud-based service provider. Things go from bad to worse when we don’t have the gear we need to fix the problem nor the skills to use them.
Atlanta’s situation serves as a timely reminder to all of us to take a close look at the technology we’re using to run our businesses. Consider your devices, as well as the software and apps you depend upon. Are these the best tools for you – or are they just the tool you’re used to using? Habit can blind us to the fact that we could accomplish more in less time by changing the tools we use.
The second lesson we’re learning from Atlanta is to question our skill set. In Atlanta, learning how to drive in winter conditions was understandably not on many people’s priority list – snow and ice are most obviously not an everyday event! However, going through this experience may lead some people to develop winter driving skills.
In much the same way, being faced with a problem that you don’t know how to solve can prompt you to seek out some education. Take advantage of the tutorials, instructions, and user forums that are associated with your technology. Go to the classes, seminars and workshops that are available in your industry. Many times people are amazed to discover that their devices, software, and apps had features they didn’t even know about. What you’ll learn will help you navigate your next crisis – whatever that may be – with more confidence and skill.