Transcript: Planning for the unexpected in Business (Max#37)

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Kevin: Welcome to Maximise Potential the podcast to educate and motivate through a range of original interviews designed to help you maximise your potential. Brought to you in association with the award winning recruitment group Jenrick.

Welcome back to episode 37 of the Maximise Potential Podcast. The question of what if is largely one that we all try and sidestep within our businesses as we all hope that the unexpected will never happen to us. Yet when the unexpected does happen it is the companies that have dedicated the time and resource to answering that question that feel the least disruption and can return to business much faster than their competitors. In a period where all organisations are seeking ways to ensure that their business model is constantly available to serve customers being able to answer the what if question is very much a key priority. Today we are fortunate to have an interview with Patrick O’Connor who was responsible for ensuring that a global investment bank could continue trading under any foreseen and unforeseen circumstances. However as Patrick’s story unfolds you will understand the extremities to which his contingency plans were tested to the absolute limit.

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Patrick thanks very much for joining us on the Maximise Potential Podcast today.

Patrick: Thanks very much for having me it’s great to be here.

Kevin: Today we are going to talk about the subject matter that has been the core part of your career and that’s disaster recovery. Mission critical systems and it’s about making sure that you as a business are protected in the areas that you are most vulnerable in and that are most critical to what you are required to do. It is going to be very easy for people to think right this is going to be a techy interview today but I think as you have rightly explained to me it really does apply to everybody. What will be very useful to do is just introduce people to really what you mean about disaster recovery and the importance of it so that they can get a picture for why it does really fit in with them.

Patrick: Yes sure you know I think disaster recovery is a very emotive word. Disaster is a very emotive word. You know if you work in today’s business whether you are a small start up to a multinational your business needs technology they go hand in hand now. Technology isn’t a tool anymore it is paramount to business success and we are now moving into an age of cloud computing. Cloud computing is a big buzz word on the market today. It enables small to medium sized businesses to invest in technology but not actually outlay huge amount of capital to start their business. But what is the what if? What if you can no longer access your technology this critical piece of infrastructure or application that is managing your business process. What do you do if you can’t get access to that? Does your business stop? Have you got a plan in place that enables you to run your business should you have a little problem like a power outage in your building. These things happen you know there is no such thing as it will never happen. So what will you have in place and what process will you have in place, who will be responsible for doing what if such a scenario should happen.

Kevin: And as you say this is as critical to a small little start up as it is to a multinational corporation.

Patrick: Absolutely I mean it is paramount. There are hundreds of thousands of small businesses actually today managing their business and being run from offices at home. What happens when their broadband goes down, you know are they out of business do they have a fall back plan? Can they go somewhere else where broadband is working have they thought about it? You don’t need to spend masses of amounts of money to put a plan in place. Even if it’s just you are sitting at home with your own small business having a piece of paper and jot down the steps that you would follow if your broadband at home was lost what would you do what would the next steps be. It takes five minutes to actually sit down and work out well actually what would I do and map it out and go into auto pilot and go do that if that is what you need to do to run your business from home.

Kevin: And yet I get the feeling from the way you are describing this that a lot of businesses don’t just spend the five minutes do they.

Patrick: No they do not no. A lot of businesses spend huge amounts of money and investment in designing disaster recovery process. Putting people in place, it’s their sole job. I mean there are people with job titles out there as Disaster Recovery Managers and their job is to look at every aspect of how business is run. What is critical for managing that business and if those things are not available where do we go and get them and get that business back up and running again. Depending what business you are in five minutes could be too long out of the market. Right there is definitely from my own background in the financial services sector five minutes is a long time to be off the market.

Kevin: From what you are saying the investment is there but it’s the procedure that is lacking? There is something lacking isn’t there in here. It’s not the fact.

Patrick: There is a gap. I think the amount of people we are the weak link in technology provision. Technology itself is built and designed to function as it is designed to function and 99.9% of the time it does. The thing that will stop technology from functioning will be mistakes by people; generally it could be as ominous as somebody turning the power off by accident, these things happen. And so having a process in place, having a documented procedure but then also not just documenting something and putting it in the filing cabinet and forgetting about it. It is not something that organisations should be focussing on. They need to look at going through the process of documenting it but then also training the people to go follow that procedure. And the only real way of doing that is actually setting time aside to run tests. To actually take people through a test. Generally you can’t do that type of test during your business hours but weekends could be put aside once, twice a year preferably to test how your business would run if a disaster should happen.

Kevin: And the good thing is from the environment that you came from as you said from the banking side and particularly because you were based over in the US that test was actually law.

Patrick: So just to explain in the financial services sector especially in the US the FED demand that the financial services can recover from particular disasters. The main focus is to ensure that the circulation of the dollar is in circulation and no piece of infrastructure, no piece of tin as I would like to call it sitting in someone’s infrastructure data centre environment can take the flow of cash out of the economy. They ensure that the financial services sector test and they test twice a year. Now if you talk to people on the businesses side and say why do I need to come in on Saturday and test my business process. First of all it is a requirement there is an audit required for it. The FED will want to see proven documentation that you have gone through the steps that you should have gone through.

Kevin: Sure.

Patrick: But the benefits of it are the people that are working in your organisation have had the opportunity to go through the steps that they need to go through and actually live through a day where they are in a disaster recovery mode and they understand what their role is, what is their function, what do they need to do. And if you regularly instil that procedure that yearly, twice yearly test people know what they have to do when the time occurs. We used to have a time back in those days which was downtime tolerance which was a label to specific business applications. What was the tolerance of that business for that application not to be available. We labelled applications from a six hours or less to a 12 hours or less. Some could be 24; they could be off air for 24 hours. But it was a way of training people to understand what was really critical to the business and what could wait. So by going through the process, by documenting it and when you have a document and you go through it on the day people have to read it, they have to read what they are doing so it ensures and enforces that your staff know what they need to do when something goes wrong.

Kevin: And you have probably an extremely fitting example about when you really did put your data recovery process into practice and the good thing is it worked.

Patrick: Yeah I think I should just talk here part of my career I spent living in New York which was a fantastic experience but 2001 was the year I moved to New York and unfortunately 911 obviously happened and our building, the building I worked in wasn’t exactly, wasn’t in the twin towers but we were in the building next to the twin towers and our primary production environment was situated in that building. So sitting in an office next to the twin towers on that day was obviously something surreal it was, very rarely talk about it actually, it is quite difficult here talking about 911 and all of the people and all of my colleagues we never ever talk about 911. Whenever someone brings it up we always try and change the subject to something else. But 911 was a classic example of technology and people and the importance of both. The environment I was working in we had two prime production technology environments. One next to the twin towers and one sitting in the New Jersey office which was just across the river. If anyone knows downtown Manhattan they know. And anyone who was sitting in an office in Manhattan was trapped. We were trapped on Manhattan the only way was to get over a bridge or on a boat. I personally four/five hours after the towers collapsed got to the bottom of Manhattan and it was a scene from the Battle of Dunkirk you know the escape from Dunkirk. There were ships from all shapes and sizes, yachts, power boats, row boats, the New York ferry department obviously, tugs everyone came to the rescue if you like. Down to the bottom of Manhattan people jumped over railings on to the nearest boat that was in striking distance and all of those boats took most of those people back to the Jersey shore, the New Jersey side of Manhattan.

Kevin: And you said that the scale of this I mean it is going to be hard for people to imagine how many people were involved here but you said it was over half a million people.

Patrick: Yeah over half a million were evacuated by boat on that day. Now you could ask well how do I know that? Well actually I happen to have been watching a documentary just about four months ago. They were going through the events of the day but it was from the perspective of the New York Harbour Masters. They actually had called an SOS on the day for any boat in the vicinity to go to the bottom of Manhattan and that’s where all these boats came from. You know so there was an SOS went out and hundreds if not thousands of boats responded. It was absolutely amazing. And out of that they, on that documentary it was the 500,000 number I came from and they said it was a bigger evacuation than Dunkirk. Which was incredible.

Kevin: And yet there is another example as well of an organisation that had a disaster recovery plan and they just snapped into it straight away as in the Harbour Master.

Patrick: Absolutely there you go. Just as a classic example right they recognise that there was obviously a major disaster in downtown Manhattan and people were in absolute shock. But the most defining thing about them people they stood up to the plate right. People didn’t run for cover, people watching especially said well we have to do something, we have to step up to the plate, we have to come and help these people. And that’s what people did. And so the Harbour Masters putting an SOS someone had the foresight to go look how are all these people going to get off the island let’s just do it. And so someone just pulled the trigger and said SOS any boat out there please go to the bottom of Manhattan.

Kevin: Yeah and just as we were saying even though that we think like how could anybody plan for such an event it’s not really the event per say is it, it’s about, it’s just knowing that when something of a given magnitude occurs that you have a process in place to respond to it. And there is a prime example that you know you wouldn’t even think twice that the Harbour Master has a process in place for something that is going to happen where he is ever going to have to evacuate an island and yet he did.

Patrick: Yet he did.

Kevin: And he responded very quickly.

Patrick: He did respond, whether that Harbour Master had a process documented and had that in the fore of his mind, I don’t think anyone would ever have planned for the twin towers coming down you know. But I think what it does show is that people when they are put in strenuous circumstances and this was clearly a strenuous circumstance people will step up to the plate. People will do things of extraordinary things you know they will step up to the plate and do those things.

Kevin: Can I ask you as someone who did you know yourself step up to the plate and keep functioning in a situation where it would have been easy not to have functioned. Can I ask you why you think people step up to the plate? I appreciate what you are saying about if you are outside of the situation and you see something happening you want to step in and help but you were in the situation and so were your team and you all continued to function and I am just trying to understand how people can I suppose separate the events or separate themselves from the events so that they don’t let the events consume them or overwhelm them.

Patrick: Yeah it is a good question. So I think first and foremost loved ones. Loved ones are really important. As soon as you know you are okay your next train of thought is well have I got loved ones are they in trouble, are they okay? And you automatically go into automatic pilot. Personally on the day I was in a basement round the block from the twin towers. For whatever reason I on automatic pilot left my building went into the building behind our building, I went into the basement and the towers came down behind us. And I was there with a number of colleagues wondering well what do we do next. I remember one of the fire brigade came down the stairs described what was carnage on street level and advised us to get out as soon as we possibly could. I think it was roughly about a four hour delay between that point and actually getting to the bottom of Manhattan. Air quality was really poor there, there was a lot of dust, a lot of debris and it took a good four hours before that dissipated so that you could actually see in front of your face.

Kevin: Did it feel like a long time or did it feel like it just flew by?

Patrick: It flew by it did yeah. I think you know adrenalin was really going at that point. So myself and three other colleagues I distinctly remember us walking from where the twin towers were down through Battery Park and down to the river. And the scene of the boats was just there in front of me you know and it was quite an amazing sight. But quite a pleasing sight because I remember a small sense of panic kicking in jumping over the railing on to a boat and it got me to the Jersey City side of the river. Now our building happened to be within striking distance of where I got off the boat and when I saw the building then automatic pilot kicked in. My initial thought was I need to go see my wife.

Kevin: Just to let her know you were okay.

Patrick: Just to let her know I was okay.

Kevin: Because I think you said to me already that communications they’re out.

Patrick: Yeah there were no cell phones, no the cell network was down. In fact I don’t know if you know but the cell mast for New York was at the top of tower two. So once the tower came down that was the biggest impact the cell network. But also then what was left of the network was jammed up because hundreds of thousands of people were all trying to get through to loved ones to say yeah I’m okay. So my immediate thought was I need to go see my wife and then I saw our office building and I said well actually I need to go there. We need to get in there we need to start our recovery process myself and I remember the colleague I was with. That’s exactly what we did we ran straight into that building. We went up to the floor where part of our office is and there was a few stragglers of the team there. You know panic had definitely set in but a lot of the panic was worrying about friends, colleagues, loved ones, are they okay. They didn’t really have any information, they had as much information as I did but they were sitting round the New Jersey side looking in. And I think it was even worse for those people. I think it was worse for people looking in with the stress and the worry of the people they were worried about.

Kevin: Yeah the unknown.

Patrick: The unknown is really, really stressful. But once team members were aware that loved ones were okay, you know they were accounted for people could then start to function again. And I think it is important when people are thinking about crisis management you have to think about the people side first and foremost. How will your people react in the event of a crisis. Now with a disaster like 911 people will step up to the plate but first and foremost they own loved ones will come first. And once they are you know they are comfortable that they know they are all good they will then step up to the plate and function like you have trained them to function.

Kevin: Yeah and that was something we spoke about before we started recording because I really, it was quite interesting when you said that and you just said look this is something you can’t bypass it is part of the process you have to get them through that stage if you then want to start getting them back on track.

Patrick: Absolutely, absolutely. It is actually true there is an enormous human element to crisis management. Training your people how to behave and how to react during an event like that. And not just like that I mean hopefully that sort of event never happens again but there will be other types of crisis right and there will be a crisis to your business but how do your people react in that event. It will be highly stressed, highly charged, adrenalin fuelled environment for the initial 12 hours. How do you manage those people to get through that period. I think personally the fact that we had gone through twice yearly tests there was really good documentation process. Everyone had a role and when you came in to do a weekend role test you knew what your role was, you were given a document, you had to understand what it was and you had to go do that. When it came to real life people actually did go to automatic pilot and do that. Some of it was actually just functioning in your day to day job it wasn’t necessarily anything above and beyond what they would normally do but it is understanding the steps that they needed to take and what was a priority, what isn’t a priority. You know setting priorities is probably the most important piece especially in a technology world. But it is knowing what’s important and what isn’t.

Kevin: And I think there is also something very relevant that I know you keep saying we did the test, we do it on a regular basis, its auto pilot but there is something different or there is a different element I think here that we need to bring in. In that you did the tests with meaning, with purpose. We could all hold up our hands at different times and we know when we have gone through the motions with something and yet we know when at other times we have done something with actually our very conscious concentrated head on. And you guys knew that if you didn’t get that testing right that the FED could shut you down, that they could fail you for that. It must have bought a different focus to everything.

Patrick: Completely you know it wasn’t just you know take a few technology platforms turn them off and you know go through the steps of recovery. It was more than that you know we had people on site the power was turned off. You know it was as if there was a major problem. And then people went through the motions of recovering. When you turn the power off suddenly in an environment like that things will break. You are talking about things that have been running for 160 days maybe 200 days without ever having been turned off before. And when you turn the power off believe it or not when you try and turn them back on again they break. And I keep talking of crisis but also DR can mean a lot of things it is not just we have had a 911 event. It can be just as critical to a business with one power supply going on one server and how to recover that business because one business can be reliant on that server. How do I recover that and how often do they test that. If that server fails they have a DR server. How often do they test that and what is the downstream impact. You know have they tested downstream. Because that business process is relying on another business process and vice versa. If they fell over have they tested the link to the other business processes. Technology is the core to business these days and it is a very complex and challenging environment. And the only way to really tackle it is to break down into smaller pieces, break it into chunks but make sure you join it all up and by going through the documentation phase and actually practicing dry runs with this type of process you are prepared when the unknown happens.

Kevin: I mean the bit that we haven’t really touched on is you know when you actually said that your initial plan when you got across to Jersey was to go and see your wife but then you saw your building and.

Patrick: Yeah, yeah I think obviously you are in shock okay so you may very well make decisions that looking back on maybe you would have done it differently. But first and foremost it is important to realise that when you got to the New Jersey side transport was out the window I mean there was just thousands of people walking the streets. There was very little transport access for those initial hours. Even in New Jersey you know I mean the whole nation was in shock. So it wasn’t the fact that I didn’t want to see my wife or talk to my wife of course I did but I just thought how I would manage it is get a message to someone else to go see my wife and make sure she knew that I was okay. Which is what we did eventually but even the people I was with they all wanted to see their wives it wasn’t just me. I am not a hero or anything but it was more the office was there. It was also maybe it felt safe. We have come out of downtown Manhattan and it is back into an environment that we know and we understand, you know we are familiar with it; it was a familiar surrounding for me. So it also offered a level of comfort going there. Which enabled also then to go to another level of well you know click into action you know what do I have to do. You know we had an open bridge to colleagues in London at the time and there was a lot of panic you know because there was no information flowing to London so colleagues in London were in panic. Not just about what do we do for recovering the business but a lot of friends, colleagues, everyone was worried and a lot of people shouting and screaming on the phone ‘What’s happening here, what’s happening there?’ you know. So it was just trying to get in and offer. First of all get the information flowing, make sure people know where we are, what stages things are. And then from that you can drive the recovery process. When other people know what the situation is then they can make decisions about well what is the best route, what is the next best step and there will be certain things that will be done on the fight, it will be seat of the pants. It’s not all going to be a slick streamlined recovery process. But for the critical pieces of technology, the critical business process that is and should be a slick recovery process. To a financial services environment those platforms are worth to a business billions of dollars. So they obviously need investment in testing infrastructure to make sure it is available when it is needed. And financial services firms are probably the best example of actually doing that. I think you know NHS environments probably do the same. You know they have critical platforms to save lives. They will no doubtedly have a process in place to manage those platforms if they should have a problem. So you know there are certain industries will be very good at disaster recovery, crisis management, it will be part of their business plan to do that.

Other companies don’t put enough attention to that level of detail. They never think of the inevitable, it is human nature you never think it is going to happen to you until one day power is gone in the whole district your office is in, generators don’t work, where do you go? What do you do? And if it is not planned out your business will suffer because it is going to take you longer to recover. You are going into fire fighting mode rather than auto pilot mode.

Kevin: And who manages the situation?

Patrick: Well you know the trickledown effect I think we had a Senior Management Crisis bridge who would make senior business decisions around driving how technology should operate. And it was important that that structure was in place. And as part of the plan those roles were set, people from a senior management perspective knew what they had to do. They got around a table they had a bridge, they had a plan. And then they trickled down to the next layer of management to say right who have we got on site, what resources have we, what’s the most important, what do we do. So it was driven that way. So I had an open bridge in our facility.

Kevin: You keep using the word bridge.

Patrick: It’s a telephone conference, we call it a bridge line, but it is basically an open telephone call where lots of people can dial in and listen and communicate just ensuring that information flow is as slick as possible. So we would have this telephone bridge open in our facility connected with the facility in midtown and in London. So we all work together and we kept the information flow going, we knew what our priorities were, we were all pulling in the same direction and that worked really from up at the very top echelons of management down to the guy who puts paper in the printer. We all did our job. Without the information flow that would be carnage, it would be absolute chaos. Leadership was fantastic. I mean looking back on it the leaders involved they all did their job, they all made sure their respective departments did whatever was needed to do to make sure that that business, the business was functioning when the markets reopened.

Kevin: Do you think there was a specific reason why the leaders were so good, was it something unique to your environment or?

Patrick: I don’t think it’s unique to our environment I think senior leaders of the calibre that need to step into these roles it’s in their psyche anyway. They wouldn’t be in a position to operate at a senior level if being able to manage a crisis of that nature wasn’t in their capabilities you know. You are either capable of it or you are not. It kind of gives the distinction between an employee and a leader. You know there is a difference. There is a small percentage of the working population have that leadership quality and that is fine. You know you find out where you sit in the balance of the working environment and you just work to your own potential.

Kevin: How did it make you, well you and your colleagues, how did you in particular feel about your organisation after going through that experience?

Patrick: That’s a good question. It gave a real perspective on the type of people I worked with actually. You really get a feel for the people that you interact with on a day to day basis. How they behave in a crisis really shows you who they are. And when the guards are down you are open and they were just an incredible bunch of people really. People really gave their all to recover a business to its normal operation as quickly as they humanly possibly could. The human element you know I keep going back to it, the human element is so important. People focus on technology you know you, technology will work to a point but the human element is so critical to making the technology piece work. And investing time in the people element is really, really important. I think they were just outstanding the people that I worked with at the time they were absolutely fantastic. And I think the American people generally, the people who lived in New York and went through this. It was enormous shock to those people obviously and to everyone involved but they did what had to be done. And it was a phenomenal achievement by all after the event.

Kevin: And I think everything that I’ve read about the event itself it was the sense of unity.

Patrick: Personal agendas went out the window which was fantastic. When you work in the cut throat world of financial services generally day to day personal agendas are always there that is just a fact of life. That is a fact of life in business. There is team work but there is also a level of personal ambition. But in this type of scenario personal agendas were out the window it was pull together work as a team, teamwork was key and people working for each other made things happen.

Kevin: And what did you learn about yourself?

Patrick: Now you put me on the spot there. I think it made me aware of my own capabilities I think. You know you always, human nature is to doubt yourself and I am a people person I have always been a people person I love people and part of the human element of working I really enjoy, I love working with people but what I learnt from it is that when there is a stressful environment I can work above the stress. I was able to manage, I managed, I fell apart afterwards but I managed. And when I say fell apart once we were through the, once the adrenalin runs out and you get to the exhaustion level then you reflect back what you have gone through and definitely and I know the majority of the colleagues that I worked with we were shocked for months. I think people use the term post traumatic stress. I think a lot of people had post traumatic stress after that event. But I learnt that I had the capability to manage that, to deal with it.

Kevin: Is there anything you can pinpoint in yourself as to how you could do that, how you could separate it?

Patrick: Putting things in perspective I think it is almost if you look at a cake and you carve out segments of it. And you segment what has to be done, everything else is irrelevant and then you bring back the segment again and focus on something else. It’s just being able to practically segment out what you really need to focus on.

Kevin: And just be disciplined to get the rest out of your mind.

Patrick: The rest is noise. You almost have to treat it as noise that is noise, this segment needs to function so let’s focus on that. And then reflect back and go back to the noise.

Kevin: Yeah and so only when you decide will you then let in the other pieces of the case as you term it.

Patrick: For me anyway that’s how I managed it.

Kevin: Well that’s what this podcast is all about. We are just all telling personal stories and how people react to the different events and that’s a great way to describe it. I am going to wind this up because I’ve looked at our clock. I think we have covered a lovely array of information. I would also like to thank you for being so openly honest in talking about that event as you said when we sat down it is not something you tend to talk about so I appreciate that. I would like to leave people on this podcast with a couple of takeaways disaster recovery. If we are going to say to anybody where to start with this or what they can do today to help protect their business future what would you say to them?

Patrick: Write your plan. I think you almost need to take yourself out of your working environment for half an hour and sit down and envisage a disaster. And then map out in your mind well what would you do and if you don’t have the answer you write it down and segmentate it down and then get the answers to those questions and put that in a plan. And part of that plan is not just technology. Technology is clearly important it is driving your business so having that in place is the first and foremost step. If it is not there you are starting from scratch. So you need to know what technology you need. But you won’t know what technology you need until you try tests. So going through the motions of testing what you have would identify the weaknesses in your environment. It would identify the weaknesses in your business processes and then you can then put a plan together in rectifying and implementing a plan to have an infrastructure, a platform, a business that can function in extreme circumstances.

Kevin: That is very helpful and a final thing that I would love to know is after experiencing what you have experienced how do you approach life now?

Patrick: I don’t know if my life how I approach life has changed enormously since that point. I think we have hit that time in my life me and my wife and my colleagues, we hit that point, we’ve segmentised, and I think I have segmentised that piece and we operate and functioned in a certain way to do what we had to do. I have almost reverted back to how I was before. You know there is a block in between where it was different and by talking about it to a certain extent at the time, actually I remember going to a medical a Well Man Being medical test through work and I was talking to the doctor about you know I was worried actually about asbestos and dust, was it something I needed to be concerned about because I was in the environment and so on. So we got talking about it and he asked me did I go to a psychiatrist after 911. You know did I, and I said no I didn’t I didn’t feel the need I had to. And he said why do you think that was? I said I don’t know I haven’t really thought about it and he gave me an insight and it was because you all treated each other. Because we were all support for each other we spoke about it a lot together at the time so emotions and dealing with emotions was dealt with very openly. It is back to the guards were down everyone was themselves. So whatever emotion they were feeling it was there to be seen. And then, so people are on hand to help people with those emotions. So it was almost like a self, from a team perspective treating each other psychologically on the event that we had been through. And looking back on it actually that is exactly what happened. We didn’t have, I don’t think there were hundreds of thousands of people going to psychologist but we did it to each other you know we helped each other. And that is how people dealt with it. Looking back at it that is exactly why I mean people helped each other. When you are in times of stress especially teamwork, the people aspect is so important, really, really important.

Kevin: And I think that is a lovely way to finish off this interview. Patrick O’Connor I would like to thank you very much for coming on the podcast and speaking so honestly with us. Thank you very much.

Patrick: Lovely thank you very much great to be here.

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Kevin: I would like to express our thanks once again for the way Pat was able to describe the steps involved within the disaster recovery process whilst relating it to such a personal and powerful story. Personally I felt that Pat’s key message of being able to segment the different experiences focussing on only the most relevant segment and ignoring the noise as he called it will be extremely helpful to others. And also the point that he mentioned regarding enabling your staff to deal with any family matters before they can concentrate fully on the task in hand.

So as always time for some updates. Firstly I’d like to give some mentions to a few of our listeners who have contacted me to explain how the interviews are inspiring and encouraging them to push themselves and take on new challenges in their lives. Graham Carter who is training hard for his first ever London Marathon this April and who openly said that he always thought that Marathons and long distance running were for other people. Sam Nobbs who has loved photography all of his life but now believes he can actually turn photography into a career for himself after listening to Giles Christopher’s interview back on episode 7. Jo Lee who is going to join Benita Norris on her Kilimanjaro expedition this year. And finally Vanessa King who for the first time in her life made her personal and professional goals public in order to give her great conviction to reach them. Best of luck to you all thank you for sharing your stories and please keep us updated with your progress.

Before I finish I just want to mention a fabulous book that I have recently read. It’s the inspirational story of Matt Long a New York Firefighter who battled back from a horrific accident to run not just the New York Marathon but then complete an Ironman Event. It’s called ‘The Long Run’ and it is well worth a read. And it goes without saying that I would like to extend my personal thanks to the entire team over at Jenrick for making this and all of the other podcasts on Maximise Potential possible and for their continued sponsorship and support. I am going to leave you with a track from Xerxes as always to finish on and it’s called ‘Aventa.’ Thank you very much again.

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About the Author

Hi, I'm Jenna Affleck, co-producer of the Maximise Potential Podcast. I'm really excited about being part of Maximise Potential. It's great being able to help other people be successful in life and it's also helping me maximise my own potential. The inspiring people we interview gives me the motivation to aim higher whether it be in my personal life or career and hope it does the same for you too. So keep smiling and enjoy the podcast!