What is the purpose of your business, should it die with you or should it continue regardless of the disasters or tragic events that may present themselves? What have you determined to be a disaster for your business? If you are not prepared then the answer to these questions become difficult and in some instances illusive.
Even more so for your staff, customers, vendors, and other stakeholders who are depending on your brand to function. Business continuity and operational resilience (BCOR) in the 21stcentury is not optional it is a must. It is a demonstration of your commitment to service excellence and the high regard you have for your stakeholders. If you have not prepared for critical incidents then you leave your operations and reputation to chance. This approach increases the negative impact that such events may have, and could possibly even lead to the complete failure of your business.
As the old Negro spiritual says ‘’let the church role on, my Lord, let the Church role on” it suggest that regardless of the crisis the doors of the business will and must remain open. The delivery of service is key and the customer is king. This message rang loud a clear on November 9, 2014, when The Bahamas was gripped with the tragic news of a plane crash that took the lives of several persons amongst them Dr. Myles Munroe and Dr. Richard Pinder.
Notable names locally and globally, renowned in the religious and motivational speaker spheres. Also of note for this writer was the fact that these two gentlemen were numbers ‘1’ and ‘2’ respectively in the same organization. Thus in one act a multimillion dollar operation, with stakeholders and services from all over the world lost its leader and the apparent successor. Painful and tragic on many fronts, but this untimely dilemma demanded that the those left must now move into high gear to respond, recover and resume operations.
A BCOR Program if properly developed and implemented is made up of several smaller plans outlining strategy, process and tactics. A good BCOR Program is dependent on preparedness and a group of people within an organization that is educated, trained, ready to act, and innovative. Essentially the company must know its product inside and out but during the good times, but be able to adapt and flex during the crisis. A little over a week later and we see the adjustment made with in the Bahamas Faith Ministries International community, where leaders in waiting, have had to step in to the position of current and active.
The question you should be asking yourself now is what did you learn from this tragedy, which in my opinion can and should also been seen as success. Can your organization manage such a sudden and unexpected change in operational procedure and leadership change? Notwithstanding your company within hours was about to launch a product that customers had flown in from all over the world to participate. Would you have had to postpone, suspend or delay the event?
Here are in my opinion some of the important points that should be included in in your approach to BCOR.
- Business Impact Analysis – Know what are your threats and how do they effect the organization
- Strategy and Tactics – Develop a plan, implement a plan, test and try the plan
- Succession Planning – Who is in charge, someone must always be in charge
- Cross Training – Do you know what I do, do I know what you do, and is it written down
- Cultural Embedding – Everyone at all levels needs to know that a plan exist
- Source Resources – Know what you need, what you have, how to get it, and how to use it
- Crisis Communication – What to say to who, who should say it and when to say it
- Travel Risk Management – Who goes where, when they should go, and who goes with them
- Review, Revise, Revisit – Adapt and change, remain fluid, the plan should be a living document
- Remember – READINESS – RESPOND – RECOVER – RESUME!
Murphy’s Law suggests that ‘what will go wrong, will go wrong’, the inherent threats to doing your specific business are just the threshold of various negative events that exist. You assessment of these incidents must go beyond what is controlled by your organization and look into those things that are out of your control. The dynamics of doing business in today’s industrial world demands that attention is given to things outside your control.
‘What has been will be again,what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.’ Ecclesiastes 1:9
We will continue to have tragedy, crisis, and loss this is a part of our existence. We must all do better jobs at accepting these realities and better preparing for them. But at the same time we will also have good times, celebrations and happiness, let us all put even more effort into preparing for these events as well as they are too a part of our existence.