Thinking Outside the Box – Plussing the Show

Richard Long, Senior Advisory Consultant, MHA Consulting

We often sit in meetings or brainstorming sessions and say, “Let’s think outside the box.” What does that really mean?

I was recently in a presentation by Doug Lipp, an author and business consultant who worked for Disney in management and training ( He said several things which were quite impactful and pertinent to Business Continuity and business in general. For this blog, I’d like to focus on one: “Plussing the show.” Plussing, a term coined by Walt Disney, means to improve or provide more than expected. This, for me, has become how to “think outside the box.”

We have to keep plussing our show. If we ever lose our Guests, it will take us ten years to get them back. –Walt Disney

How does this relate to BCP? We have to keep looking for ways to improve what we do.

It does not mean to stop doing the basics. It means to make what we know is needed and necessary more relevant, easier to use, and easier to maintain.

I think Disney’s quote above is relevant to those of us in the BCP field. If we lose our business partners, “it will take us years to get them back.”

How might we “plus” our BCP programs?

  • Simplify our documentation and checklists (look for a future blog on this topic)
  • Use and refer to information that is already available
  • Have more frequent and shorter BCP conversations with business partners and leaders
  • Learn about the business needs, concerns, priorities, goals, and processes (See blog: Is Your BCM Program in Sync with Your Organization?)
  • Work to integrate business and technical strategies
  • Remember that each time you talk to someone about BCP, it may be the first time for them. It may be the thousandth time you have said it, but it still may be the first time your colleague has heard it.

Compare your responsibility in this area to those of an amusement park ride operator.

The operator says the same thing over and over for each guest, but for some it may be the first time they have ever experienced it. You need to say it like it is the first time for you – it will bring excitement and passion. Go out and “plus your show!”

Richard Long is one of MHA’s practice team leaders for Technology and Disaster Recovery related engagements. He has been responsible for the successful execution of MHA business continuity and disaster recovery engagements in industries such as Energy & Utilities, Government Services, Healthcare, Insurance, Risk Management, Travel & Entertainment, Consumer Products, and Education. Prior to joining MHA, Richard held Senior IT Director positions at PetSmart (NASDAQ: PETM) and Avnet, Inc. (NYSE: AVT) and has been a senior leader across all disciplines of IT. He has successfully led international and domestic disaster recovery, technology assessment, crisis management and risk mitigation engagements.

Business continuity consulting for today’s leading companies.

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