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Facilitating an exercise? Find out how to reel people in!

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?

Lootok facilitate an exercise
Facilitate a successful exercise! Reel people in!

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Inspiring commitment over compliance: the elusive dream of all risk managers

Why can’t risk management, crisis management, and business continuity be a rewarding experience that people actively desire to be involved with?

Lootok Experience Model

This question led us down a path of evaluating the phenomena of experience. What makes an experience good or bad or great? Why do we love some brands and hate others? Why do we join some groups and not others? Why do we love that cash-only, poor-service, overpriced empanada spot in a run-down building on the Lower East Side, but we would be outraged with the same service and accommodations at another restaurant? Unlocking the answers to these questions begins with understanding your target audience.

  1. Who are they?
  2. What do they care about?
  3. What do they struggle with?
  4. Why should they care about your program?

While the Demand Model® evaluates the engagement level of an audience, the Experience Model™ gives us the tools to increase that demand.

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What do dog food and risk management have in common? Lootok’s Demand Model®

“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.

Lootok Demand Model

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Risk Management’s Sweet Spot

Chris de Wolfe, global director of risk management at Mars Inc., shares his challenges of getting the global risk management program at Mars up and running.

“The CRM group had a lot to offer but was severely underutilized, which led to high insurance premiums, a high risk profile, and a significantly reduced resiliency and recovery capability,” Chris said.

Reflecting on how Mars as a business became a major success, de Wolfe decided that he needed to market and promote his own department in the same way. Partnering with Lootok, a risk management consultancy firm, he developed a strategy to engage with the employees in a fun yet educational way. He devised a 5- to 10-year plan, broken into 12- to 18-month strategies and individual project plans by mapping out all of the products and services that risk management offers. He conducted a perception survey and drew up a program based on the ABCs of risk management.

“The ABCs allowed people to understand that risk management not only provides insurance, but it also ensures that the business continues,” said de Wolfe.

Sean Murphy, CEO and founder of Lootok, said of de Wolfe:

“I’ve known Chris for 10 years and what differentiates him is that he treats his program as a business. He had a good program before but he wasn’t satisfied with it so he completely revamped it and is now reaping the benefits.”

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How do you create situation awareness—Fresh perspectives with Mica Endsley

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.

Mica Endsley
Mica Endsley

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How do you use Nudge (behavioral science) in risk management?

Interesting presentation by Harvard Law School Professor Cass R. Sunstein on using behavioral science to change behavior:

From Behavioral Economics to Public Policy

He co-authored the book Nudge.

It is becoming increasingly necessary in risk management and business continuity management to be better, faster, and cheaper. We need to better Return on Investment (ROI), better participation, better end-user experience, faster change, greater reach and adoption, and enhanced techniques and concepts. We need people to do more with less and with higher quality and participation.  To accomplish any of this we need behavioral science.

Cass Sustein
Cass Sustein

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Can a crisis make you a celebrity?

Picture of man speaking to the press
Ready or not.  Say, “Cheese!”

While artists, athletes, and performers struggle to make their mark in the public eye with a memorable act or viral moment, a different type of celebrity has been emerging on the scene - the spokesperson for a crisis.

Here’s a quick exercise to highlight the point:

Jeffrey Boyd, Lew Frankfort, and Stephen Hemsley. Do these names sound familiar?
If not, don’t feel bad. They are the CEO’s of Priceline.com, Coach, and UnitedHealth Group, respectively.

Now, how about the names Tim Cook and James Comey?
We can immediately recall them as the CEO of Apple and the FBI Director, respectively, feuding over a locked iPhone involving a federal investigation of the San Bernardino shooting.

The media diligently covered Cook and Comey’s debate for more than three months. During that time, both men emerged as stars in a cast of characters ranging from lawyers, judges, politicians, and even presidential candidates. The media and public tuned in to hear their perspectives on data privacy, security, technology, civil rights, and terrorism.

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Debunking myth #5: Best-in-class BCM software exists

Will BCM software deliver on its promise of making your BCM program easier to run? Is it really possible for BCM software to eliminate the difficulties in running your program?

Yes, it can—but there’s a catch. It won’t address challenges that are unique to your program. Essentially, your problems need to be shared by every other customer of the software.

Download Best-in-class BCM software exists, the fifth myth in Lootok’s series on the five myths of business continuity management (BCM)!

Best-in-class BCM software exists
Myth #5: Best-in-class BCM software exists

See Myth #1: The plan is the promised land.
See Myth #2: You need a business impact analysis (BIA).
See Myth #3: The risk matrix measures risk.
See Myth #4: It gets cheaper and easier.

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Debunking myth #4: It gets cheaper and easier

Keeping a BCM program alive doesn’t get cheaper or easier over time. In this eBook, we’ll talk about why.

Download It gets cheaper and easier, the fourth myth in Lootok’s series on the five myths of business continuity management (BCM)!

It gets cheaper and easier
Myth #4: It gets cheaper and easier

See Myth #1: The plan is the promised land.
See Myth #2: You need a business impact analysis (BIA).
See Myth #3: The risk matrix measures risk.
See Myth #5: Best-in-class BCM software exists.

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Debunking myth #3: The risk matrix measures risk

The risk matrix is a standard tool commonly used in risk assessments. It’s straightforward to use, and easy to explain. The only trouble is, the risk matrix doesn’t actually forecast or measure risk.

When used as a quantitative tool, the risk matrix is misunderstood. Our challenge as practitioners is to recognize the limitations of the risk matrix, so we can use it in a way that increases understanding of the threats around us. In this eBook, we explore how.

Download The risk matrix measures risk, the third myth in Lootok’s series on the five myths of business continuity management (BCM)!

The risk matrix measures risk
Myth #3: The risk matrix measures risk

See Myth #1: The plan is the promised land.
See Myth #2: You need a business impact analysis (BIA).
See Myth #4: It gets cheaper and easier.
See Myth #5: Best-in-class BCM software exists.

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Debunking myth #2: You need a business impact analysis (BIA)

Many of us business continuity management (BCM) professionals are convinced that a business impact analysis (BIA) is a “must-have” for any company. On top of that, we often believe the more information we gather, the better. But after the enormous effort to collect mountains of data and conduct endless interviews, we end up with little value to show for it.

Doing a BIA is expected of us, but do companies actually need a BIA? I guarantee that conducting an extensive BIA project is a quick way to exhaust your resources, stall your program agenda, and taint the reputation of your program. But if you’re willing to question why you’re doing a BIA, and then facilitate the process in a practical way for participants, you can maximize your investment. This eBook explores how to do this, and why it matters.

Download You need a business impact analysis (BIA), the second myth in Lootok’s series on the five myths of business continuity management (BCM)!

You need a business impact analysis (BIA)
Myth #2: You need a business impact analysis (BIA)

See Myth #1: The plan is the promised land.
See Myth #3: The risk matrix measures risk.
See Myth #4: It gets cheaper and easier.
See Myth #5: Best-in-class BCM software exists.

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Debunking myth #1: The plan is the promised land

As BCM professionals, we’ve long believed in the myth that a plan is our key to recovery during a disruption. Often, we hyper-focus on the plan as undeniable proof that the right actions will be taken in an incident. This is the worst possible approach. Learn why in our eBook, The plan is the promised land, the first in Lootok’s series on the five myths of business continuity management (BCM)!

The plan is the promised land
Myth #1: The plan is the promised land

See Myth #2: You need a business impact analysis (BIA).
See Myth #3: The risk matrix measures risk.
See Myth #4: It gets cheaper and easier.
See Myth #5: Best-in-class BCM software exists.

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How can I raise business continuity awareness?

Business continuity can be a challenging thing to get people to pay attention to, especially when a disruption feels distant or unlikely. However, it’s critical that your staff knows about your company’s business continuity program and is familiar with its recovery strategies and plans—prior to an incident—in order for your planning to be effective. So how can you raise business continuity awareness at your organization?

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Business continuity and the Sony data breach

A massive data breach at Sony Pictures Entertainment, which experts believe was targeted by North Korea as retaliation for a film depicting the assassination of its leader Kim Jong Un, has led to an international incident that has gained the attention of business continuity professionals. Even large companies like Sony can sometimes put business continuity planning on the back burner.  BC professionals say that attacks like this can sometimes change their minds.

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Seven insights from superstorm Sandy: a financial sector retrospective

$18 billion dollars. That’s the number estimated in damages caused by Hurricane Sandy just in the state of New York alone. With the unexpected turns that transpired amidst the super storm, all businesses were reminded of the importance of business resiliency.

Given the vast amount of information presented to-date, it is still very important that the financial sector revisit the surprises from Sandy to ensure that critical financial services are better protected. A team of experienced BCM advisors gathered the recommendations in the accompanying table from industry thought leaders in leading global financial services companies to learn from their perspectives.

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Celebrate business continuity awareness week with these thematic posters

Looking for free resources for Business Continuity Awareness Week (BCAW)? Check out these thematic posters that illustrate this year’s BCAW theme.

posters
Download awareness posters

 

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Carnival Cruise Lines: What they should have done

At first glance, it appears that Carnival Cruise lines was well prepared when one of their ship had an engine fire and subsequently lost power last week. The media, however, tells a different story.  Here are three points that Carnival may have overlooked in their crisis response.

carnival
Carnival cruise

 

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How Oreo style the spotlight during the Super Bowl, and other lessons for scenario planning

The highest rated Super Bowl in history may go down in the books for the 34-minute power outage that upstaged the million dollar ads. With all the chatter about the blackout, advertisers were concerned about the effect on television ratings, while some brands capitalized on the opportunity to own the conversation through social media. Many are claiming the real winner of Sunday’s game to be Oreo, whose clever blackout tweet got retweeted 10,000 times in less than an hour.

oreo

When it comes to planning, the power outage also demonstrated that organizations must consider not just critical processes and recovery time objectives, but should also anticipate the impact of potential scenarios. Business continuity is about bouncing back, as well as taking advantage of the situations that may present themselves during incidents—particularly in this case, high profile events. Have you considered this when doing business continuity scenarios or exercises?

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How to create behavioral change for your business continuity program

Major change initiatives like business continuity take time, but many programs are often declared failures and abandoned before they are given a chance to succeed. For this reason, it’s crucial to show immediate signs of success, particularly for programs that are newly initiated or being re-launched. New behaviors also take time to become habitual, so in order for a business continuity management program to be self-sustaining, it must be gradually built and adopted as part of the company culture.

In order to accomplish this, people also need what Fogg calls “triggers.” Triggers can be thought of as a cue, prompt, call to action, or request that leads to a chain of desired behaviors. In other words, as Fogg states, “Triggers tell people to ‘do it now!’”

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What a crisis requires, beyond a barebones plan

The fact that Tokyo found the nuclear reactors in a worse state than previously announced underscores the need for honest, factual information for public consumption, and the importance of media in delivering this communication. The age where authorities view the public as a panicky wildcard that needs to be soothed, rather than as an equal partner in mitigating and recovering from a disaster, must come to an end – especially in a world where, thanks to the internet and information networks, information is disseminated to a wider audience at a faster rate than history has ever experienced before.

Was the community immediately surrounding Tepco’s reactor integrated in mitigation efforts prior to the incident? Subsequent actions and the announcement of possibly 30 billion dollars in claims indicate the opposite.

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What relationship do employees have with risk management, if any?

As risk managers and business continuity management (BCM) practitioners, we obviously see and understand the importance of the programs we help facilitate. But what about employees who are otherwise outside of the BCM/risk management realm? Realistically, how do these employees view the initiatives we help implement?

We posed the question to a group of BCM and risk management professionals on LinkedIn. Here are a few of their responses.

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Can risk management ever be a revenue generating activity?

It seems like selling risk management projects internally can be like pulling teeth. So what would it take for people to be willing to pay for risk management initiatives? We posed the question to a group of risk management professionals on LinkedIn in preparation for our upcoming Building a BCM Brand webinar. Here’s some of what they had to say.

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