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.’
This is a continuation of my Business Continuity Basics article.
Consider the Basics for Crisis Management Program - as with most initiatives and programs, we tend to over think when we design them. The basics reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
When it comes to crisis management the majority of crisis teams need seven means to make timely and effective decisions based on applying judgment to available information. We need a command and control framework, critical information requirements (identification of gaps in our knowledge), intelligence, situation awareness, common operating picture, common ground, and intent.
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?
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?
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: