Get this: the website for online grocer FreshDirect went down for two day last month. Software problems? Cyber attacks? Data center fire? No, no, and no. FreshDirect forgot to renew their domain name registration. As the Wall Street Journal reported,
Despite being notified by Network Solutions that the domain name was expiring as early as November, the company failed to renew its domain name in time, said a person familiar with the matter.
This outage wasn't catastrophic -- they didn't go down right before Christmas or the Super Bowl -- but it's embarrassing, and surely cost them something.
Many retailers use some sort of auto-renew feature for their web domains, but even a simple calendar reminder would have been enough to prevent this problem.
FreshDirect's goof is a perfect example of why you want to replace your cognitive systems with reflexive systems. A cognitive system requires thought and deliberation for a specific action to occur. A reflexive system is something automatic -- no thought is required for the action to occur, and therefore it's less likely to fail. (I've written about this concept before. Download the article here.)
Take a walk through your organization. Which decisions processes are driven by cognitive systems, and which are driven by reflexive systems? The more that you can switch from the former to the latter, the more robust your performance will be.
And you'll be less likely to run out of nachos on Super Bowl Sunday.