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The battle for Hearts and Minds

22nd May 2013

The battle for hearts and Minds imageDespite the formalisation of the BC industry over the last few years with the implementation of standards such as BS25999 and ISO 22301, in many cases one of the biggest obstacles to implementing a business continuity (BC) programme that follows accepted good practice is still lack of buy-in from the board.

At present, there is a clear divide between those boards that embrace the discipline in a positive and proactive way and those who see it as a ‘grudge purchase’ which they have been forced into by their stakeholders. Using my recent assignments (those conducted over the last year) as a sample group, less than half have had a positive attitude to BC.

Most (but not all) BC programmes have the benefit of an executive sponsor who should be the subject matter expert. This individual should be responsible for championing the subject at board level and have the necessary seniority to interact with the other board members on an equal footing.

However, in some cases the executive sponsor is not the most appropriate person to assume this role because he or she:

  • Has a lack of understanding of the overall scope of business continuity, in particular the ‘proactive’ as well as ‘reactive’ elements – specifically, a misconception that BC is all about disaster recovery
  • Does not take the subject of BC seriously – a belief that ‘it will never happen to us and even if it does, we will muddle through’, leading to a ‘do the minimum to meet the requirements’ approach
  • Does not have the necessary delegated authority, skills, time or support from the board to discharge the responsibility appropriately
  • Is not formally assigned the role of BC sponsor – in other words, it is not part of their job description – and is filling the role on a ‘best endeavours’ basis
  • Is not set performance targets in this area, or rewarded for meeting them, through incentives such as a bonus or pay rise
  • Does not understand or value the wider benefits of developing a BC programme such as:
    • Enhanced efficiency through improved resilience
    • Harmonised working procedures across departments or divisions that can breakdown silos and lead to more collaborative working
    • Enhanced flexibility in the work force
    • Smoothing of workload peaks and troughs
    • Improved staff retention rates through enhanced training and succession planning

Continue to read the full Battle for Hearts and Minds article…


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