--> Gill Blog: Stepping Up to the Plate at the 14th WCDM

Gill Blog

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Stepping Up to the Plate at the 14th WCDM

Lazenby or Gehrig? That is the question, and only time will tell. We're talking about replacements here--one memorable, the other, forgettable. Lou Gehrig, was the storied first baseman for the New York Yankees who cracked the roster in the mid-20's and got his big chance when he replaced Wally Pipp (who had to surrender his position to Gehrig after taking a liner to his noggin). Gehrig never looked back from his first big break, and for the next thirteen years he owned first base. He became so famous, in fact, that the neurological disease that took his life is named after him. Gehrig's retirement speech at Yankee Stadium went down in history as one of the greatest moments in public speaking.

George Lazenby, on the other hand, the hand-picked replacement for Sean Connery in the James Bond series (apparently Connery had announced he had tired of the role and told the producers he wouldn't be back) didn't fare quite as well. Yes, Lazenby appeared as Bond in 1969's On Her Majesty's Secret Service but, regardless of the quality of the film, which some consider the best in the Bond serie, it turned out to be a one-time shot for Lazenby, and we never heard from him again.

The connection to the blog? This was the week of the 14th World Conference on Disaster Management - always a great event. So there I was on the first day settling into a great presentation by Peter Power, the Managing Director of Visor Consultants Ltd. from the U.K. Peter was discussing the importance of moving a Silo organizational mindset to one that moves more toward synergies. Without notice, a couple of gentlemen from the conference approached and tapped me on the shoulder. For just a moment, I thought there were going to forcebly remove me for checking emails on my TREO, but in fact they came to discuss a problem: one of the conference speakers who was scheduled to make a presentation that day had come down with laryngitis and was unable to speak. I was a bit surprised when they said, "Tony, can you step up to the plate next?" The first thought that danced through my head was "Lazenby or Gehrig".

Anyway, without thinking about this for too long, I agreed and presented "Workplace Continuity" a few hours later. I was fairly satisfied with my presentation on such short notice, especially since it tied in very nicely with the overall theme of connecting silos established by the previous presenter. But, only time will tell whether my future as a speaker at business continuity and disaster management conferences is similar to the fortunes of the famous first baseman, Gehrig, or the fate of that one-flick-wonder, Lazenby, whose notable Bond line is only remembered in trivial pursuit--"This Never Happened to the Other Fellow."


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