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.
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.
Why can’t risk management, crisis management, and business continuity be a rewarding experience that people actively desire to be involved with?
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.”
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.
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.
“How did you go bankrupt?”
“Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”
- Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
I was working with a head of risk management—the chief risk officer—at a global organization that does not have a GSOC. One night over dinner, I asked him why his organization didn’t have one, and suggested he spearhead the initiative. His response? “I’m not convinced we need one. The organization has always operated without a GSOC, so why start now?” He also said, “The reality is, we’re already doing it here and there. The system works fine. Let people do their thing.” Something that seemed so obvious to me and so unnecessary to him left me on the defensive and him on offense.
The reality is, if you’re a global organization, you need a GSOC—or some version of it. If you don’t have one, you will need to communicate the severity of the situation and get one. Allow me to illustrate the need for such capabilities so you can justify the business case to your leadership and board…
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)!
Sharing a few thoughts on cyber security…
I was on the phone last week with a data visualization expert and author discussing visualization problem solving—basically, how to solve problems or at least understand problems with pictures (i.e., drawing pictures). He asked a question about cyber security: “Why is a cyber threat so scary? Isn’t it just another threat?” He was right… in part—cyber is another threat, just like infectious disease, civil unrest, flood, power outage, fire, war, or accident. While we use common frameworks and capabilities for threats such as command and control, situation awareness, threat intelligence, common operating picture, common ground, and so forth, each threat has unique characteristics we need to consider. Why is cyber security on the top of every executive’s mind? It comes down to six (6) characteristics of a cyber threat:
There’s a mnemonic for these six (6) characteristics: “is wild.”
What’s the biggest challenge in risk management? If you ask risk analysis expert Yossi Sheffi, it’s the lack of an industry metric. For example, when you choose a supplier, how can you quantify how risky your choice is? When it comes to metrics, Sheffi says, risk still remains an area where gut feelings and opinions play a major role. And the biggest challenge for risk managers? Defuse the responsibility for managing risk throughout the whole company.
Risk analysis expert Yossi Sheffi discusses two fundamental resiliency strategies that organizations can use to recover from an incident: redundancy and flexibility. Using the examples of Intel and Southwest Airlines, Sheffi talks about the role of redundancies, flexibility and interchangeability, and communication and culture to provide risk managers with realistic and practical approaches to consider.
Risk analysis expert Yossi Sheffi explores the capabilities and limits of the traditional risk matrix, and adds another axis called “detectability.” Detectability has to do with time dimensions, or how much time we have to prepare and react to a threat. There are some events, such as a cyberattack or theft of intellectual property, that have no warning; you realize their occurrence only after they hit you. While the standard use of the risk matrix is influenced largely by the past, adding detectability means greater opportunity to tackle impending threats.
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…
Dr. Yossi Sheffi, author of “Resilient Enterprise: Overcoming Vulnerability for Competitive Advantage,” discusses two of his favorite crisis management case studies with Sean Murphy.
The retail sector faces risk challenges ranging from cyber security threats to active shooter incidents. These threats, coupled with advances in new technologies, social media and public perceptions of risk have required the retail sector to reevaluate the resiliency of their business.
Written by Lootok’s Sweta Chakraborty and Iris Chung.
When it comes to managing risk, one oft-overlooked aspect is risk perception, or how we perceive a threat. What we believe or do not believe about risks has an enormous effect on how well we prepare ourselves for them, and the action we take when they occur. What factors into our fears, and how do they impact our decision-making?
September marks the 10th annual National Preparedness Month – a nationwide, month-long effort sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to encourage everyone to prepare and plan for emergencies. Across the country, there are a host of free educational events focusing on topics such as CPR training, preparedness outreach, and family safety.
With the winter superstorm Nemo rapidly approaching the Northeast with expected impact in major hubs like Boston and New York City, make sure your people know what to do in the event of a severe winter storm. Here are some last minute tips on what to do when it strikes.
Why all the ruckus about naming a winter storm? Sometimes, the intention behind the names is to draw the public’s attention to severe weather. While winter storms may not have as large of an impact as hurricanes, they can often be erratic; for example, dumping snow in one area while leaving nothing more than rain or fog in another. Now, it’s becoming clear that superstorms have hype cycles of their own.
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!’”
When it comes to risk perception, we are notoriously prone to misconceptions. Whether fearing planes over bikes or elevators over stairs, we have a tendency to misjudge just how dangerous certain situations are.
Here’s something most of us can relate to – the desire to comfort ourselves with something shiny and new after the infliction of an injury. In this, corporations are just like the rest of us. When a company finds itself bruised after a continuity incident, business continuity shopping therapy begins. Eager to assure ourselves we won’t get caught unprepared again, we turn to the marketplace to build our arsenal.
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.
Ah, Christmas…. a time of yuletide cheer, decorating the tree, opening presents, office holiday parties, and of course, eggnog. All the things that make the holiday season so special… and so dangerous? If you’re feeling overcome with Christmas cheer, leave it to the business continuity professionals to put a damper on those holiday spirits with this list of top holiday risks.