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?
Why can’t risk management, crisis management, and business continuity be a rewarding experience that people actively desire to be involved with?
“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.
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.
Interesting presentation by Harvard Law School Professor Cass R. Sunstein on using behavioral science to change behavior:
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.
Lootok is a boutique NYC-based business continuity advisory firm that differentiates ourselves through our innovative, engaging and cognitive approach to consulting. We are looking for a full-time candidate to assist the COO/CFO with overall company operations. The ideal candidate will have the desire to be involved in all aspects of running a company including human resources, business partner management, accounting…
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?
Looking for free resources for Business Continuity Awareness Week (BCAW)? Check out these thematic posters that illustrate this year’s BCAW theme.
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.