Company Engagement Series: Making the Connection between Business and Business Continuity
Broadly speaking, “culture” refers to the attitudes and behaviors of a group of people. It is the way people habitually conduct themselves on a day-to-day basis. Moving from the general to the specific, a business continuity management culture can be defined as people’s all-in commitment to develop and continue to improve business processes and strategies in ways that are aligned with the reality of continuity risk. In such an environment, everybody in the company is pulling together to achieve a common end: the resilience – and therefore the success – of the organization.
If you want to create a business continuity culture that engages every person, you have to put it terms that people can identify and align with. The most effective method is to connect business continuity to what your firm is selling. To do so, spend time answering the following questions:
What are the characteristics of the industry you are part of? E.g., manufacturing, retail, energy, healthcare, software, services, finance, government.
What are you selling? Is it a product or service? Does it require a large or small monetary investment by the client? Does it represent a short- or a long-term commitment by the client?
Who are you selling to? What are the demographic characteristics of your target market? What are their pain points? What motivates them?
What is the sales model? Do you rely on advertising? Networking? Online or brick-and-mortar sales? What are the various steps in the sales cycle?
What retains clients? What generates a great customer experience? What keeps clients coming back for more?
By understanding these factors, you become equipped with key information to effectively connect your business continuity program and culture to the business. Consider how this works out for an investment firm. An investment firm is asking people to commit thousands and even millions of dollars into its care. Prospective investors want to know if their money is safe: can they trust the investment firm? What if there is a major disruptive event or crisis? What happens if the firm’s technology becomes unavailable? The answers to all these questions fall under the purview of business continuity! Business continuity is therefore directly connected to the process of convincing prospects to invest, and to retaining clients as the firm demonstrates resiliency in the face of any event that may occur.
Consider how this approach transforms business continuity in the eyes of others. It is no longer an entity that exists to conduct business impact assessments and build plans. Rather, the purpose of business continuity is to build a program and a culture that contributes to the organization’s tangible success. By thinking of it in these terms and acting accordingly, your department will get the budget, the recognition, and the executive championship you need to build the culture you want.