Traditional business continuity is about providing a means of reducing the severity of business interruptions by identifying the operational priorities of the organisation, the resources that support those priorities, and the acceptable timeframes for response and recovery.
More recent developments in the field concentrate on the concept of organisational resilience as a more holistic approach to the adaptability of an organisation in the face of an emergency. It is recognised that enhancing the ability to respond dynamically to a crisis may be more effective than spending time developing ever more detailed written plans.
This is not to say that good planning and documentation goes out the window. Rather, developing capability and crisis response skills in our people is recognised as an important part of strengthening the organisation’s ability to respond well to business interruptions.
The first step in this process is to ensure there is real and demonstrable support from the top of the organisation. This means appropriate budgetary and resource allocations, but it also means involvement in the process and willingness to communicate support.
After this, engagement from the middle management levels who have to actually implement the business continuity plans is required. This will be more readily obtained if it can be demonstrated to them how the process will help them to remove or reduce the impact of possible problems.
Then all personnel in the organisation need to be helped to accept the reality of risks to the organisation, which is best achieved through test exercises with credible scenarios that demonstrate what could realistically go wrong.
This final part of the puzzle is one of the critical factors to achieving organisational resilience. By openly communicating, then testing and exercising the business interruption scenarios with all workers, the staff can become used to responding positively in challenging situations. They can be encouraged to think innovatively about creating solutions on the fly. They can be confronted by unforeseen and unpredictable problems in a safe environment, and practice coming up with practical and constructive solutions. Working together cooperatively in such practice sessions will build capacity and community in the organisation, and stand it in good stead in the event of a real crisis.
Please contact QRMC for more information.