Business Continuity Planning and Management
BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT 5
BusinessContinuity Planning and Management
BusinessContinuity Planning and Management
Oneof the primary tasks of a business continuity manager is to make surethat necessary resources together with processes are available toenable an organization to respond to unforeseen occurrences, therebyachieving its mission and objectives. This is derived from thedefinition of business continuity, which refers to “theuninterrupted availability of all key resources supporting essentialbusiness functions,” (Hiles & Noakes-Fry, 2014 p.2). Thisdefinition also suggests that a business continuity manager isresponsible for creating strategic plans that will enable the firm toremain functional even following disruptive events like computererrors, natural disasters, and terrorism. To come up with relevantstrategic plans, business continuity managers will be required toconduct detailed analyses and assessments of the risks inherent inthe firm`s business environment.
Inorder to make sure that the proposed initiative is headed towards theright direction, there are several actions that must be taken by thebusiness continuity manager. Considering that the new initiativesignifies nothing but a change process, the first step is for themanager to create a shared purpose or vision (Construction FinancialManagement Association, 2017). This essentially means that themanager must help his or her followers to see the value of the newinitiative, without which it will be difficult for them to cooperate.At this stage, the manager will spend quality time with employeesexplaining the benefits of the new initiative to the organization andalso to employees’ personal goals. Whilst this phase is necessary,one of the potential pitfalls associated with it is complacency,which simply refers to a situation in which individuals resist changedue to the notion that everything is working just fine. A secondpitfall that is likely to be encountered is that the proposedinitiative may not augur well with the personal values and goals ofall employees.
Oncea shared vision has been established, the next activity is for thebusiness continuity manager to identify a team that will spearheadand execute the initiative. According to the Construction FinancialManagement Association (2017), teams are crucial to the success ofany vision because teams enhance the decision-making process.Nonetheless, building an effective team might not be an easy task forthe business continuity manager, and this is partly because of trustissues. Inasmuch as trust is said to be the binding glue thatdetermines the functionality of teams, a high level of trust may behard to achieve due to conflicts related to position power. Apartfrom this, it might be challenging for the leader to select a teamthat is accepted by all members.
Thethird activity is to create a vision for the change, which simplymeans clarifying the usefulness of the new initiative in improvingthe organization`s future. This activity is different from the firstevent in that it seeks to chart a direction for the organization’smembers, whereas the first activity is intended to garner the supportand cooperation of members. Whilst acknowledging that everyorganization requires a vision, it is equally recognized thatcreating a feasible, realistic vision is not always easy. It ispossible that the manager and his team will come up with visions thatare extremely ambitious to the point that they cannot be implementedusing the firm’s current budget (Construction Financial ManagementAssociation, 2017).
Oncethe vision has been developed, the next activity is for the managerto communicate it to organizational members. As the ConstructionFinancial Management Association (2017) puts it, it is very crucialthat the manager communicates the vision to as many people aspossible to enhance buy-in. However, gaining people’s commitment toa novel initiative is rarely easy, and this partly arises due tomiscommunication. The implication here is that in communicating thenew initiative, the business continuity manager may unconsciouslycause confusion through miscommunication.
Inline with the fourth activity described above, it is very crucial forbusiness continuity managers to plan their presentations carefullyand wisely so that they may obtain the necessary buy-in from managersand other members of the organization. As Hiles and Noakes-Fry (2014,p.54) note, “People are more likely to provide long-term support bybeing persuaded, particularly with realistic scenarios, rather thanby being threatened with doomsday scenarios." Pursuant to thisassertion, it would be helpful for business continuity managers toplan their presentation such that they employ a variety of channelsto communicate the purpose of the new initiative. Specifically, itwould be worthwhile to make use of newsletters, memorandums,meetings, posters, and e-mail to reach all members. At the same time,the manager should hold regular meetings and encourage all members toattend.
Doraiswamyand Shiv (2012) have identified several challenges that are normallyencountered in project management, some of them including issuesrelated to project infrastructure as well as undefined project scope.The authors also acknowledge that significant challenges are normallyencountered during the introduction of a new service. In simpleterms, this may be translated to mean that a major challenge that islikely to be encountered during the infancy stage of the newinitiative is resistance. This resistance partly stems from the fearthat employees may not have the skills and competencies needed toperform as per the new initiative. With this in mind, it would behelpful for the business continuity manager to provide awareness aswell as training programs for all employees.
ConstructionFinancial Management Association. (2017). The8-step process for leading change.Retrieved from <<http://www.cfma.org/content.cfm?ItemNumber=2378>> on 10 April 2017.
Doraiswamy,P. & Shiv, P. (2012). 50top IT project management challenges.Ely, Cambridgeshire: IT Governance Pub.
Hiles,A. & Noakes-Fry, K. (2014). Business continuity management:Global best practices, fourth edition. Brookfield, Conn: RothsteinAssociates.
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