We have a running joke here at Rancho Deluxe about the two guys you never ever want to see nearby. You might be thinking they’re the undertaker and the tax collector. Nope. Think for a minute about who are always on the locations of some pending or immediate disaster. Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel and CNN’s Anderson Cooper (but only when he’s wearing a black tee-shirt). Cantore & Cooper – sounds like a law firm but it’s not. It’s far worse than that. In fact, if you ever see either of these two in your neighborhood, get out. If you see them both, prepare for the Apocalypse since the end is near.
I thought about that yesterday as the weather-related Mr. C was reporting from Battery Park awaiting the hurricane. Of course, they evacuated the area and I’m not sure if that’s response to anything other than Jim’s presence. But it did get me thinking about a business point.
Just as either of these two showing up means trouble in the area, every business has relatively reliable indicators of trouble. They might as easy to find as on a monthly financial statement or as difficult to track as a pattern of employee turnover but they’re there. Every one of us can probably tick off a few that we use to tell us when things might need a little extra attention (or when it’s time to pull the fire alarm). I wonder, however, how many of us formalize that process? Do we compile a list that’s the aggregation of all the factors our best folks identify? Do we regularly pay attention to the data from each of those areas? Or are we more in the business of forecasting by sticking our head out the window to see if it gets wet and proclaim that it’s raining?
The storm battering the East Coast is terrible but imagine what would have happened had it hit with no warning and without people taking protective measures in advance? Your business is like that if you’re not identifying and reacting to data. Gut feel isn’t a bad thing but something more reliable should be in the mix. And now I’m going to check to see where the two Mr. C’s are. Hopefully far, far, away…