While this blog is being published the week after, I am writing it on Friday the 13th. Friday the 13th emanated from religious and cultural traditions and varies somewhat in the actual day of the week and month, but what is common is it is associated with catastrophe, potential, received or real.
Whether you are superstitious or not, I think it is ironic that Friday the 13th falls right before Business Continuity Awareness Week. Business Continuity Awareness Week is an annual global event to demonstrate the value of business continuity and help people understand why they should apply it to their organization. The theme for the week is return on investment.
Business Continuity Awareness Week is more than a Hallmark holiday. It is a great reminder to us all of the value of being prepared, not only organizationally but personally. I have blogged before about the importance of individual preparedness, and believe it is a cornerstone of organizational preparedness and resiliency.
Whether focusing on personal or organizational preparedness, there are three main factors to think about. This applies to all maturity levels.
- Understand Your Priorities. In simple terms, this means you have to understand what is most important to keep up and running and recover quickly if it is disrupted. This is always health and safety related, but could also be anything from finances to servicing customers to compliance. In the middle of a disaster, you always have to make tough decisions on what to take and what to leave behind, what to do or not to do. If a disaster struck, what would you absolutely take with you or not do without? Once everyone is safe, what business-related activities do you turn your attention to?
- Make Your Plans. It is not enough to say that you will deal with it when it happens because that usually ends up not going so well. Making plans means you think ahead of time how you will react before, during and after the disaster related to those priorities I talked about in point #1 above. For health and safety, for example, how will you ensure that everyone is safe? How will they act in the event of a disaster? Where will they go? How will you communicate? Make plans for each of those priorities you come up with. Plans need to be well documented with multiple copies kept somewhere safe.
- Practice. You only know if your plans will work if you practice them. Practicing shows you what will not be feasible, logical or natural and helps you iron out the bugs in your plans. Practice also makes perfect. Once your plans are solid, then practice helps everyone to learn what to do – what their roles are in the plans. This instills confidence not only in those organizing, but in the participants – real people who may someday have to deal with a real life event.
Being prepared adds an element of much-needed peace to our lives, takes one thing off our executives’ plates and lets us focus on life, running our business or whatever else is going on.
Leave Friday the 13th to the black cats - and enjoy Business Continuity Awareness Week.
Oh, and make sure you thank a Business Continuity professional! Email me at Patrick.firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts and ideas.
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