By staying with Traditional Business Continuity practices that date back to IBM mainframes and Y2K, practices that have yet to catch up to Lean, Six Sigma, Agile, Management 3.0, and the nature of life in 2018, you are significantly limiting your potential as a BC professional.
An approach that empowered you to be twice or three times more efficient in your professional role would most most certainly warrant some consideration — one that offered ELEVEN times more productivity, eleven times more value for your efforts, demands attention.
- Start with Why – Adaptive BC focuses on the continuous improvement of an organization’s capabilities to recover from an uncontrolled incident. Your vocation is not the creation of documents or the maintenance of spreadsheets. Your value lies in enabling your organization to continue its services under adverse circumstances. This bottom-line “why” provides a touchstone for all BC activity. Every effort of the BC professional must drive the end goal of improving capabilities.
- What Gets Measured Gets Managed – Capabilities are measurable. Traditional BC can only count things, like numbers of documents, BIAs, and tests. Yet it is meaningful metrics and data driven decisions that inform strategic management. The Adaptive BC practitioner can provide these KPIs. Adaptive BC provides a way to quantitatively measure the outcomes of your program.
- Outcomes, not Output – Traditional BC has historically been concerned with output, that is, the overall effort of its practitioners’ labors. But effort is inconsequential to actual outcomes. What matters are real capabilities of the real teams in the organization. If detailed policy statements do not lead to improved continuity capabilities, they should not be done. If program direction can be established with a five-minute conversation, a 6-month enterprise-wide BIA should be eschewed.
- First things First – Successful leaders establish what Patty Azzarello in Rise calls “Ruthless Priorities”. BC professionals should have one, single, overarching goal, namely, the continuous improvement of an organization’s recovery capabilities. Any work that does not contribute to this goal should be eliminated. This mirrors the Agile principle that “simplicity — the art of maximizing the amount of work not done — is essential.” A tight focus and narrow scope of work allows for maximum value.
- Innovation is Key – Innovation will be the key not only to the most successful organizations, but the most successful recovery efforts. As the lessons from Daniel Pink’s 2009 TedTalk have only begin to be fully incorporated into daily business, and corporations are looking to Pixar’s practices for inspiration, Traditional BC is woefully behind the times. Innovation is crucial to any successful career. It is also crucial to any team’s successful continuity and recovery strategies. Traditional BC practitioners following a linear and inflexible set of instructions in order to teach front line staff to follow a linear and inflexible set of instructions at time of disaster is now unconscionable.
- Business is Complex – As the long-term impacts of Moore’s Law continue to be felt in all aspects of our lives, organizations in 2018 are a far cry from their industrial roots. It is all-to-common for all of us to operate in a Cynefin environment of real complexity where what is unknown vastly outweighs what is known. In situations where daily operations are complex, and, what is more, in a post-disaster environment that always threatens to devolve into Cynefin chaos, we must bring practices and principles to bear that allow the flexibility to meet the actual facts of the shifting situation.
The list of drivers goes on. But if you are not paying attention to the pace of change and incorporating the lessons learned from related disciplines, you will stagnate, becoming increasingly irrelevant to your organization.
And that is a shame, because the organizations that support our communities deserve the best you have to offer to ensure their continued development (and existence).
David Lindstedt, PhD, is an author, advisor, and speaker in business continuity. www.AdaptiveBCS.com.
David is co-author with Mark Armour of the groundbreaking book, Adaptive Business Continuity: A New Approach (2018, Rothstein Publishing).