Thursday, 12 December 2019

#5: Backup: 2=1 and 1=0

Computers, aided by artificial intelligence, prompt and nudge us to "backup" our data, "backup" our photos and "free-up" our disk space. Afterwards the system can work faster and has more capacity to face user demand. If something was to fail you have a backstop, a place to go to for recovery.  Knowing that you have that backup is enough, even if you never need to use it.

But do you personally have a backup? Often we can be so busy ensuring our organisations and work is backed up that we have not thought through if there is any personal backup, for me. As leaders the "buck stops here" mentality can mean that we shoulder too many things whilst inadvertently increasing risk in our organisation. But who or what is your backup? If you collapsed or had to escape, down tools, even just for a month, who or what would back you up?  Have you found time to write down the myriad of systems, processes and tasks that exist in your head? Could someone else pick up your responsibility and tasks at short notice? 

The United States Navy SEALs have a famous saying "2 is 1 and 1 is none." In war scenarios backup is imperative. Someone always has your back, fully committed, ideally. You want to plan and deploy in pairs and teams to avoid conflict in isolation, limiting vulnerability. So in looking at your life and your work can you spot and eliminate the vulnerable positions where you currently have no fall back option, where you are isolated, when you are the only person who knows, and ultimately there is #nobackup?

Military units like the Navy SEALs and those teams facing acute crisis and conflict like the MET police know the power of backup (don't be like badcop). Backup is not just for your photos and mobile phone it could just save your organisation and free up your personal mental disk space to make that dream idea, that risky project happen, at long last.

Individually, collectively and organisationally we make better decisions when we know if "all goes wrong" then we can rely on our backup.  

Being a backup for someone else is possibly one of the least demanding but psychologically empowering things you can do. Chances are, that person won't want to need you, but knowing you are there is enough. Think about the people you know, pick the one who feels most vulnerable to you, tell them you are their backup, you are there for them.  

For more on this and it's links to preventing and treating depression carry on reading my blog post on Medium, below: 

“Preventing and treating depression in our older people — social change along the path of the…” by Neil Mapes