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.
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 session, we covered the critical aspects of rolling out and maintaining a global supply chain operational risk – business continuity program. Supply chain leaders are naturally gifted at managing risk, as it is part of their daily lives. But, supply chains are naturally dynamic (i.e., disruptive), which makes many of our traditional operational risk – business continuity techniques ineffective. Supply chain leaders need risk management techniques and tools to help them make decisions, solve problems, and communicate in complex environments.
Learning objectives covered:
Common pitfalls (i.e. too fast, too big) of risk and resiliency supply chain rollouts.
The necessary methodologies, tools, and roadmaps to be successful in today’s complex, nonlinear, supply-chain environments.
“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.
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.
When working with the masses [end-users; not experts in risk management, business continuity, crisis management], I find it beneficial to present clear, concise, and concrete packaged solutions. People need guidance and structure to help them think through problems and build effective plans. This is one of the reasons Lootok created the 8Rs™ of Resiliency. The goal the 8Rs is to reduce uncertainty, simplify complexity, structure thinking and dialogue, build common ground, and establish preparatory activities. The 8Rs facilitates planning with a plan as the end deliverable (i.e., plans are the byproduct of planning). The 8Rs are designed to provide people with a set of options they can employ to continue operations under various threats and timelines. The 8Rs™ of Resiliency comprises of the following:
Relocate - physical moving assets (e.g., people, technology, equipment) to another location
Reassign – transferring processes (i.e., work) to another location
Repair / Replace – capabilities in place to fix the problem at time of event
Reinforce – fortify, strengthen, assets to tolerate greater impacts and occurrences
Replicate – simultaneous production (i.e., processes, technology, work) at two locations [duplication]; active-active
Redundancy - extra capacity and inventory
Risk Transfer – shift risk to other entities through insurance, contracts, and risk pooling
Relinquish – do nothing [e.g., too cost prohibitive]; risk acceptance strategy
Since starting Lootok, once a year I go to Rochester, Minnesota, my home State, to take my annual executive physical at the Mayo Clinic. It gives me a good reason to get back to Minnesota to visit family and friends, while maximizing my medical checkups. In just two days, more than fifteen doctors evaluate me. Risk management shares many similarities with the medical field, and it’s where you find the best analogies and metaphors. I wanted to share few of the insights I have gleaned over my time at Mayo.
Risk management is analogous to the immune system. It is not a thing or part. It is a system that co-exists within other systems that must properly function with a larger system called the organization | organism. You cannot just fix the immune system, buy it, or expect miraculous resiliency overnight. The immune system must be earned, strengthened and maintained every day. You need healthy habits, positive attitude and healthy living and work environments, proper planning and long-term vision and dedication, so forth. Risk management works the same way. Risk management also has the same challenges as our immune system: we don’t think much about it until something goes wrong.
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?
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!’”
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.
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.