"In my experience as a senior executive in the competitive and fast-paced sporting goods industry, I have seen my share of good leaders.


Your Office Can’t Be 100% ‘Safe’ – But It Can Be Prepared

What does it mean to have a well-prepared work environment? It means you and your staff do not take safety for granted. We can never be as safe as we’d like to be, nor can we predict emergency situations before they occur. However, we can take charge of our preparedness. 

This means knowing how to prevent crises, knowing what to do when they happen, and being able to execute these actions instinctively. This level of preparedness requires vigilance and diligence.

Don’t Handle it Alone: Delegate

Confronting workplace preparedness issues can tax both your time and your emotions. As a leader, you can delegate the management of office preparedness to a trusted colleague, and you can also request feedback from your HR team.

Furthermore, you can work with an insurance provider and have a preparedness expert walk through your building and assess safety strengths and weaknesses. Examine your workplace from many different perspectives in order to catch more areas for improvement.

Encourage everyone to take preparedness seriously; employees’ contributions can be just as helpful as those of the experts.

Forethought: The Best Use of Your Time

Because thinking about threats to safety can be uncomfortable, we’re tempted to avoid thinking about it. But by giving these issues the forethought they deserve, you can foresee potential pitfalls, improve upon current protocols and create new solutions to be better prepared.

By taking the time to discuss these issues thoroughly and work through scenarios with leaders and employees, you create a culture of preparedness at your workplace – a culture in which preparedness is an ongoing mentality. 

Forethought helps you to identify what could go wrong and what needs to be in place in order to survive it – from panic buttons to fire extinguishers, code words to alternate routes, you’re better off having these protocols in place ahead of time rather than wishing you had them when it’s too late.   

Practice: Your Lifelong Commitment 

When you have mere seconds to react to an emergency situation, your instincts will take over – and you do not want those instincts to be to panic. You and your employees can hone your instincts to perform the correct actions through constant, diligent practice.

For example, tacking a fire escape plan on the wall means nothing if your team never performs fire drills: You don’t have time in the event of a fire to read the instructions. Practice must – above all else – be regular. A once-yearly drill prepares no one.

Though it need not take up much of your time, you should schedule mandatory practice sessions for everyone on a recurring basis. Practice makes perfect for fire drills, other emergency protocols and even self-defence manoeuvres.  

As a leader, you owe it to your employees to commit to preparing your workplace for myriad potential emergency situations. Do not consider “safety” a destination; instead, think of preparedness as an enduring journey.

We can never guarantee total safety for our colleagues, but by involving employees in the process, putting time aside for in-depth planning and committing to practice on a regular basis, we can ensure our offices are well prepared.


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Julie Nimmons

Julie Nimmons

Julie uses her 30 years’ experience to help CEOs, executives and business owners in her Vistage Group find success in their businesses and personal lives. With positive leadership, a firm sense of prioritization and the commitment to lifelong learning, Julie’s creates a constructive workspace for Group members where honesty, innovation and cooperation can flourish.