By Susan Lacefield
When the pet food, candy, and drink company Mars Inc. wants to start a discussion with internal or external supply chain partners about supply chain risk management and resiliency, it basically holds a game night.
Chris de Wolfe, director of risk management, admits that initially he was skeptical that card and board games could help launch a supply chain risk management program. But he has since found that simulation activities are the best way to identify pain points and open people’s eyes to the risks around them.
De Wolfe and Sean S. Murphy, CEO of the business continuity consulting company Lootok Ltd., described two of the games that they use during a breakout session at the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) 2018 Annual Conference. These games have been used both at local Mars sites as well as with the companies’ key vendors.
For more than 10 years Lootok has pushed the boundaries of traditional crisis management and business continuity (BC). “I launched Lootok with the singular vision of doing BC differently,” said Lootok CEO, Sean Murphy. “Global volatility and increased competition have escalated the need for companies to prepare for disruptions. While everybody knows that they should have a BC program, nobody wants to do the work. BC is only important when it’s too late, and when an incident does occur, any data and plans that have been collected typically remain untouched.”
Lootok continually confronts these challenges by offering fresh points of view on industry standards and new ways to transform programs to meet today’s highly networked environment. Sean Murphy explains: “I knew that BC was an essential part of business. The negative returns I so often saw were not the result of BC itself, but rather how it was implemented. At that point, I saw a major opportunity in going beyond the cookie-cutter approach and offering something of lasting value.”
With this goal, Lootok based its services on a deep understanding of industry expertise and interdisciplinary sciences. Why integrate interdisciplinary sciences? It is a simple answer, according to Sean: “We get better results. Through integrating cognitive sciences, gamification, and branding concepts we capture higher-quality data, buy-in at all levels of the organization, and sizable costs savings through self-service and automation.”
2017 marked a reflective period in Lootok’s history, where the company restructured areas of the organization to yield even greater innovation and sharpened its services to Lootok clients. Lootok is excited to announce that there are four changes in its talent pool that set the stage for this evolution.
Learning to either manage the crisis or run the company, but not do both, is a hard lesson for most executives, as they want to do it all. Executives achieve their position through hard work, overcoming extreme obstacles, success, confidence, and leadership. It becomes difficult to let go of the organizational reigns to focus on the crisis. Likewise, it is just as difficult to let others manage a crisis while they focus on the organization. This post is a reflection of a number of executive crisis management trainings I facilitated where the executive (e.g., CEO, business unit president, segment leader) wanted to ‘fly the plane’ and ‘fix the problem.’
As you are making plans for the RIMS 2017 Conference in Philadelphia, make sure you don’t miss Lootok’s Sean Murphy and Jeremy Stynes speaking on Monday, April 24th. They will be exploring the psychology of risk, sharing innovative ways to market your program, and breaking down traditional myths of Business Continuity Management. All in our signature, non-conventional Lootok way. We hope you come and join us!
RIMS 2017: April 23-26th, 2017 | the Pennsylvania Convention Center | Philadelphia
Lootok Sessions on Monday, April 24 :
12:00 – 12:25 pm | Market Your Program Like a Product | Jeremy Stynes, President
1:00 – 1:25 pm | Five Myths of Operational Risk and Business Continuity Management | Sean Murphy, CEO
3:00 – 4:00 pm | Risk Shrink: Exploring the Psychology of Risk | Sean Murphy, CEO, Lootok; Hester Shaw, Internal Control Framework Director, GSK
Zona Walton [ADP - Global Business Resiliency] and I spoke at a private conference last month. The title of our session was The Future of Resiliency. We explored the idea that the future of resiliency isn’t resiliency; that is, it will be something else.
As business continuity practitioners, it would serve us well to take a cue from writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, who stated, “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
Many risk and resiliency initiatives are more robust and complicated than they need to be. Common signs of an over-engineered program may include: lengthy plans packed with procedures and protocol, a BIA that takes months to complete, lengthy internal audits fixated on industry standards, and just a handful of people who actually know what to do in an incident.
Blessed with “the curse of knowledge,” we as practitioners can easily lose sight of how business continuity is perceived by our stakeholders. We fall prey to assuming that others understand the value of participating in program activities, much less have the expertise to decipher industry jargon (how many times in your career have you had to explain “RTO” and “MTPD”?).
Even Wikipedia’s description of “business continuity planning” is prefaced with the warning: “This article may contain an excessive amount of intricate detail that may only interest a specific audience.”
Put yourself in the shoes of a stakeholder who rarely thinks of contingency planning or has yet to experience an incident, and it’s even more critical that you keep your program simple.
What would happen if we were to boil down business continuity to just the basics? What if we began describing concepts in layman’s terms, and it helped to ease understanding and facilitate program adoption?
Last month, I showed up at a client’s manufacturing site to facilitate an annual tabletop exercise. The company had recently kicked off its crisis management and business continuity initiative, so I wasn’t surprised to walk in and hear several people ask what this meeting was about, and how long it was going to last.
It is commonplace within organizations to have initiative atrophy or program of the month syndrome. People are doing more with less. Everyone is highly skilled at prioritizing work and recognizing false positive initiatives. Crisis management and business continuity can quickly get categorized as a ‘not now’ or ‘postpone as long as possible’ project in this environment. Therefore, it is important for risk and security professionals to allow our stakeholders bring themselves into the program. We need them to want the program and value the work we need them to do.
In my experience, there are usually three different types of people sitting in the room.
First, you have your evangelists, or your program advocates—they’re often the ones leading the initiative or they’ve already experienced some kind of catastrophic event. On the other end of the spectrum are those who have already decided risk management is irrelevant, so they’re checked out and sighing loudly.
But almost everyone in between is a good corporate citizen who has showed up with a printed copy of their plan because they were told to. Other than the occasional email, they’re not used to thinking about risk. You can’t blame them for wanting to just get the meeting over with and get on with their lives.
This mindset, unfortunately, is not uncommon. Whether people are unaware of the program or struggle to understand its value, it’s important to recruit them as active participants. So what are we as risk management professionals to do?
In our business, we can all identify with the feeling that something bad is looming—the next big power outage, unprecedented snowstorm, or vicious cyber attack is right around the corner. Sometimes it can feel like all we’re doing is getting ready for a negative event.
Many industry activities—things like assessments, plans, exercising, and auditing—help to create this “wait-for-impact culture.” As we evaluate endless industry standards, regulations, and consulting methodologies, there is a hyper-focus on documentation, policies, procedures, steering committees, and audits.
This methodical approach works with well-defined risks, or those threats that are so familiar to us that we’ve integrated them into the way we do business. But what about complex risk? The most procedural checklists and plans don’t account for managing those threats that we’ve yet to figure out. Risks that are still emerging and largely unknown are the ones that could actually leave us vulnerable.
Ten years ago, we developed Lootok’s BCM Model®* because we realized that it wouldn’t ever be enough for leaders to simply respond. For companies to stay competitive, leaders must be more proactive than ever to also consider threats that are on the horizon.
This presentation was presented at the D.C. Analyst Roundtable. I was asked to speak on crisis management, business continuity, and how to run a program like a business. You can download the presentation from SlideShare.
The “on time, on budget, and as promised” motto that dominates our industry is a cliché. It’s the stock answer when asked how to evaluate a project’s success. You may achieve one or maybe two of these measures, but satisfying all three is no easy feat. While project plans can help, you need much more. At Lootok, we deliver projects through two proprietary means: ODWR® and 5Ds®.
Why can’t risk management, crisis management, and business continuity be a rewarding experience that people actively desire to be involved with?
Join me at the Thomson Reuters: 2nd Annual Corporate Counsel Leadership Forum. I will be moderating a panel on ‘The General Counsel’s Role in Business Continuity Management’. To register, contact 1-800-308-1700. Hope to see you there!
One of the sad realities of the “new normal” is the escalating specter of terrorism-related crises in the workplace. Though not exclusively tethered to data privacy concerns or security incidents, a business executive’s ability to manage unforeseen trauma is an essential (and largely unspoken) part of the modern day job description. This interactive workshop offers timely, practical, scenario-based coaching on how to handle the unforeseen at a moment of supreme hardship. Participants will walk away with a clear understanding of core tenets of business continuity management, as well as key techniques for coping with or better understanding terrorism’s ineffable vicissitudes.
Where: The Metropolitan Club
When: November 16, 2016, 1:45pm to 2:45 pm
Topic: Darkness Descends: The General Counsel’s Role in Business Continuity Management
Join me at the DC Analysts’ Roundtable on November 14th! I will be presenting on Business Continuity & Crisis Management.
The DC Analysts’ Roundtable is a collaborative body of practitioners in the fields of intelligence and risk analysis from the private sector and federal, state, and local agencies. The Analysts’ Roundtable promotes the professionalization of the intelligence and risk analysis communities through the sharing of best practices, information, and analytical training. Sign up by contacting DC.Analysts.Roundtable@gmail.com. Look forward to seeing you there!
Location: Lockheed Martin Global Vision Center Auditorium, 2121 Crystal Drive, Crystal City (Arlington), VA
Date: November 14, 2016, 12:30pm - 5:30pm
See full event details here.
Join me at the Enterprise Risk Management Summit in Las Vegas on November 2, 2016!
I will be speaking with Andrew Miller from ADP about linking reputation management, business continuity and crisis planning to strengthen risk resilience.
Where: Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas
When: November 2, 2016, 9:00am
What: Linking reputation management, business continuity and crisis planning to strengthen risk resilience
Lootok’s ABdCa®: The best way to collect and analyse data.
We were at our wits’ end. Neither we nor our clients could take another dull meeting or frustrated end-user. Risk management, crisis management, and business continuity were simply too hard for too little. We took a deep breath and sat back. Finally, someone said it.
“There HAS to be a better way!”
We knew she was right, but none of us had any idea how to accomplish that. We started by just trying to have a little fun in our meetings: we played a few games. As we played, we discovered that our activities were not only fun, but engaging and memorable as well. We could use them to facilitate training and awareness. Then it got better. We realized we could collect and analyze data at the same time.
It was an incredible discovery for us. Not only did we change the experience of a meeting, it facilitated a better learning environment with higher adoption rates, while completing our deliverables at the same time. Developed and refined over the last decade, Lootok’s Activity-Based Data Collection and Analysis (ABdCa®) Model takes a fraction of the time and cost of traditional methods while facilitating a more effective process and more rewarding experience.
“Nothing happens until someone sells something to someone.” Thomas J. Watson (1874–1956), Chairman and CEO, IBM
Would a company sell a product or service that no one wanted? It’s an absurd question with a simple answer: absolutely not. You need demand. People have to want what you’re offering. At Lootok, we apply this same basic principle to risk management, business continuity, and crisis management programs.
Of course, most practitioners—people like you and me—see the value and the importance of their role in such services. But if you go outside this tight circle, demand quickly wanes. Rather than march to a linear project plan or industry standard, let demand drive the pace of progress.
Before you rollout, change, or update a global program, begin by assessing demand. Organizations tend to prefer immediate success and tangible artifacts (e.g., risk assessment or business impact analysis), but if you think of your program as a business, assessing demand would be the first thing you would do.
Out of this concept came Lootok’s Demand Model®, developed and refined over the past decade.
The Brit seemed like our perfect partner, and we feared it too good to be true—technical sophistication, strong reporting/metrics, and flexibility? Our self-defense mechanism kicked in, and we couldn’t help but try to dig up some dirt. So, we asked others, “Hey, what’s the Brit really like?”
But despite our best efforts, all we could scrape up were rave reviews from their existing clients. By all accounts, the Brit seemed reliable, stable, and drama-free.
Though it may seem shallow to admit, we also wanted to date someone with a pleasing, modern aesthetic—and the Brit was recognized globally for its good-looking user interface. Having seen so many clunky platforms, we bonded in our mutual love for user-centered design. We spent many a weekend waxing poetic about the need for “simple, unobtrusive, intuitive planning.”
Years ago, we were seduced by software that promised to solve all of our problems. Maybe it was our fault for being too naïve. The software only ended up being way too complicated, and left us feeling so overwhelmed and abandoned that there was no choice but to eventually break up. The whole experience burned us so bad that we swore never to enter into the software market again.
Maybe we’d just been in the BCM scene too long, but we didn’t want anything flashy or something just “good enough.” Perhaps our standards were high, but we vowed to ourselves not to make the same mistake again.
I had the privilege of sitting down with Mica Endsley —author of Designing for Situation Awareness: An Approach to User-Centered Design. Mica is the president of SA Technologies. Previously she was the Chief Scientist for U.S. Air Force.
Mica shares with us lessons learned from her book—Designing for Situation Awareness. I asked her nine (9) questions to solicit her thoughts on situation awareness, technology, and mental models.