Many new business continuity programs start strong then slow to a crawl, sacrificing the benefits of getting up and running quickly. In today’s post, we’ll share some tips on how you can get off the blocks fast and sprint through the finish, getting your program going in twenty-four months or less.
Unfortunately, we see time and time again where BC programs get off to a strong start, with new people coming in with a lot of enthusiasm. But then for various reasons, they get bogged down. In such programs, even the biggest gaps never get covered and life is a never-ending slog.
It’s so much better if a program gets off to a strong start and then runs swift and true all the way to the finish line—defined as a program that is comprehensive, executable, and maintainable.
The benefits of this are obvious: Your company is better protected, sooner. You’re meeting your legal and contractual obligations sooner rather than later. You’re minimizing the impact of any disruptions to your shareholders.
Achieving this kind of success also does wonders for the morale of the people in the BC office and their reputation throughout the company.
So how can you put your BC program in the fast lane, and keep it there?
Here are seven tips to help you get your BC program up and running quickly:
- Identify the critical path. Many programs grind to a halt because they try to boil the ocean. The swift implementation of a sound BC program requires focusing on essentials. What is your organization’s mission? What is the critical path of components needed to perform that mission? This is what you must identify and protect. Everything else is extraneous.
- Determine your framework. It’s important to choose a suitable BC standard and implement it. The standard is your cookbook. It provides your recipe for success. For more on standards, check out this post and also this one.
- Install the right people. To succeed, you need the right people, with the right skillsets, doing the right jobs at the right time. This what we mean we talk about getting people into the right seats on the bus. For more on building your team, see this recent post.
- Get your ducks in a row. This is about presenting your situation to management. Many programs wither because of lack of management support. Before you go to management, you should get your ducks all in a row. Know what you are doing and how to do it. If you do, and you can convey this to management, you have a better chance of getting them to back you up. For more, check out this recent post.
- Be budget savvy. You need to know how to play the budget game. If you tell your executives that you need the moon and the stars or the sky is going to fall, they’re likely to tune you out. If you tell them you will be focusing all your efforts on protecting the critical path, and that doing so requires X dollars, they are more likely to support you.
- Consider hiring a consultant. Not necessary, but potentially very helpful. Business continuity consultants, whether from MHA Consulting or another firm, have spent much of their careers dealing with just the sort of challenge you are now taking up. A good consultant can potentially save you time, money, and headaches. For more on hiring a BC consultant, see this recent post from MHA.
- Focus on your critical business processes, not on technology. Many programs get bogged down because the BC office gets hung up on issues of technology. BC is about protecting the processes needed so the business can perform its mission. From a BC point of view, the technology only matters insofar as it supports those critical processes. You must learn to differentiate between the tech that matters and that which is secondary and focus on the former.
ACHIEVING TIMELY SUCCESS
There is no doubt that the challenges of business continuity have a unique ability to swallow up even our best efforts. Timely success requires discipline and clear thinking. By following the tips laid out above, you can increase your chances of getting your program up and running within twenty-four months or less.
For more on this and other hot topics in business continuity management, check out these recent posts from BCMMETRICS and MHA Consulting:
- Client’s Guide to Hiring a BC Consultant
- Help, I Need Somebody: 4 Times When You Should Hire a BC Consultant
- The Human Factor: Optimizing Yourself and Your Business Continuity Team
- How to Pitch Your Business Continuity Plan to Management & the Board
- Standard Time: The Best Time to Choose a Business Continuity Standard Is Right Now
- How to Go from Adopting a BC Standard to Knowing What to Do to Comply with It