Ask Betsy! Women in BCM Webinar’s Betsy Sayers on Keeping the Momentum Going

During our recent Women in BCM – Ask Betsy webinar, we encouraged you to send in your burning questions for our presenter, BCM veteran Betsy Sayers, MBCP, and you delivered! We’re pleased to present the next installment in a continuing Q&A series. 

Q: What do you recommend for keeping the momentum going in building your BC Program? How do you prevent people from saying BC is done once a plan is built and motivate them to take next steps to continue maturing the program?

Betsy: Thanks for this great question! If you are in an entity subject to regulatory requirements, it’s fairly easy to point to the requirement for at least annual updates and exercises, and your responsibility as program owner to ensure you are compliant. It’s tougher if you are not and your Board of Directors also don’t understand the need.

I actually discovered (when told by a very dear friend of mine) that I was contributing to this challenge – yikes! That hurt!

For example:

  • I used to always say “BC Plan” or “BCP” not “BC Management” or “BCM”
  • I always focused on “getting the Plan done” not “integrating BCM in how we do business”
  • I talked about our “policy of having a BCP” not the “BCM service line”

I spent all my time focused on getting the naysayers to finish their plan instead of providing support and guidance to those who finished their plan last year and were actually interested in doing an exercise of it this year.

I started to be a lot more successful at this after I changed my own personal terminology and approach.  I always took advantage of any opportunity to explain to everyone:

  • that business continuity is a “program” not a “project”
  • that I own the “program” Centre of Expertise and am responsible for ensuring all other service owners have the support and guidance they need to be compliant with Corporate policies related to my program
  • that they as “service owners” for their piece of the plan are responsible to ensure it is up-to-date, accurate and ready to be implemented on a moment’s notice.

Assuming you have not made the same mistake outlined above that I and many others have made, annual exercises are the only way I have found to keep the momentum going. Great that we now have a plan – let’s exercise it. A plan that is out of date and has never been exercised is not an acceptable negligence defense to any judicial authority that I’m aware of.

Of course there will be those who refuse to exercise. This is when we need to remember we own the “program” not the “content.” As program owner you are responsible under Professional Practice #1 for “leading the steering committee in driving the implementation of objectives, program structure, and critical success factors. Addressing alignment with existing organizational policies and maintaining consistent processes.”

I always found this was best achieved through providing the steering committee with a dashboard status report using a form of stop-light reporting:

  • Red = not started
  • Orange = started but with issues, not on-time or on-budget
  • Yellow = started, on-time and on-budget
  • Green = complete for this year

All questions from the Steering Committee related to red, orange or yellow status reports were forwarded to the VP for that service. Suddenly literally overnight service owners were beating down my door to do this year’s exercise and update their plans.

NOTE: You must create the first dashboard and send it to service owners for validation well in advance of presenting to your steering committee so they can provide you with their “real status” (e.g., “This morning after seeing this dashboard, we decided to exercise this year and red is now yellow – here’s our exercise date”). DOING THIS LITERALLY CHANGED MY LIFE!

Hope this is helpful… if you attend DRI2019 in Las Vegas, don’t hesitate to say hello!

Take care,
Betsy

And don’t forget to download Betsy’s list of handy phrases from the DRI Resource Library!