The New Year is into its first month, and our senior leaders may have asked us to review our program model, critical business functions, mission essential applications, communications capabilities, recovery center readiness, command centers, internal and external business partners, risk and impact assessments, planning tools, training and awareness programs, social media capabilities, educational requirements, staffing levels, and more. Starting a new calendar year and budget year always demands some introspection and self-evaluation.
Refreshed and renewed, the management team may also assert their energy and ability to make changes in your direction. You may be on the receiving end of their sometimes less-than-appropriate scrutiny and new edicts. As Business Continuity Planning (BCP) professionals, we need to always be prepared, right? We pride ourselves in being ready. We pride ourselves on having the energy and foresight to predict the unpredictable. But when the boss says, “I want to do a total and comprehensive review of the BCP, IT DR, emergency response, and crisis management program,” will you be ready for that?
Do you start to get those pangs of paranoia? Thinking they might be looking to eliminate your job or cut staff, budget, travel, education? In the New Year, we should be ready to address all those concerns with a readiness that matches our ability to respond to disasters. When you and your program are being scrutinized with the intent of sweeping changes, it’s not good enough just to have a BCP in place. You must also have a solid and viable BCP program protection model. Protection for your program, yourself, and your staff is vital.
It’s not good enough to have a simple elevator speech about your worth and all the good things you did and plan to do. You must take a hard look at what you have done, what needs to be done, and match that up against that ever growing (and sometimes elusive) risks and impacts. Being proactive with marketing the BC and IT DR project plan is the right approach. You need viable and comprehensive plans, tests scheduled, management involvement, and appropriate budget to support your needs, business partners that support your efforts and benefits model that senior leadership understands. In these challenging times of rising risks and shrinking budgets, new managers may question your every move; it is important that you have a contingency approach for supporting your BC Program.
I suggest that you keep a list of your on-going essential BC and IT DR efforts; the downside of not doing those projects, a clear depiction of the risks that may impact your business and colleagues, a very specific and realistic list of the impacts across the organization if BCP went on a hiatus (which seems to be a new approach by leadership: “Let’s wait and do this in six months or a year”); a model for addressing BC at your organization with a realistic view of what you need to do and what the benefits are; and a promise to your leadership that there is an end in sight – there is a steady state at some point – that your program and all the “to do” items don’t go on forever.
At this time of the year, we make our New Year’s resolutions and we aspire to be healthier, thinner, more relaxed, more committed to friends and family, a better more involved member of community and/or house of worship, happier, less intense, better prepared emotionally to take on the challenges of home and family, committed to giving back via volunteerism and ultimately a better citizen of the global community of which we are a part. Why not develop a resolution that is designed for the preservation of your BCM program? Why not add that to the list of your New Year’s resolutions? Why not be ready for the not-so-unexpected? When the boss asks “Why,” be ready with clear and concise answers. Recite them proudly, and keep continuity planning alive at your company or organization. It’s important.
And since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was this past Monday keep these thoughts in mind …
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others.” – From his 1963 book, “Strength to Love.”
Have a great week,
Vice President and Director of Volunteerism
Disaster Recovery Institute International Foundation