National Failure Day

I found this news story to be rather intriguing and, although a little bit of a stretch to suggest it is business continuity or disaster recovery related, I have been known to stretch things out of proportion a time or two in the past.

Finland is celebrating National Failure Day today (Thursday, October 13) to help stimulate growth in the economy and combat their culture of being risk adverse and not prone to trying new business ventures due to a fear of failure.

People that have that core characteristic, fear of failure, probably should not pursue a career in business continuity / disaster recovery planning and certainly not be in charge of managing the testing process for these programs.  But, we do try to address that fear in our programs.  That is one reason why we started avoiding the word “test” in our methodology, because it implies pass/fail and who wants to fail?

I try to get people to understand that your recovery and continuity programs do have areas in which you will fail – the testing process is to discover and fix those prior to the real event.  Hopefully, through testing, we can uncover the most damaging failure points in a controlled, testing environment rather than discover them when all Helsinki is breaking loose (see how I kept the Finland theme going there?)

But, alas, this fear of failing tests results in people jury-rigging the test and preparing months in advance; taking special back-ups; installing equipment and software; etc.  As long as the disaster gives us a month’s warning that it is on the way, we have proven we can recover.  But hey, we didn’t fail the test – Yippee.

I commend Finland for their courage to face their fear and try to cultivate a willingness to take chances in order to stimulate a down economy.  Who knows, maybe one day, people from Finland will make good business continuity, disaster recovery planners.

I wonder if I can get my organization to celebrate a Company Failure Day during our next test?

Thank you for your input.