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9 Operational Resilience Strategy Exercises

Clients might understand the value of business resilience exercises but not the variety

If the pandemic has taught your clients anything, it is that they can’t just plan for crises; they have to test business resilience plans consistently. The failure to perform business resilience exercises regularly is often given as a reason for the breakdown of processes during critical events.

But not all business resilience exercises are the same. What kinds should your clients know about? 

The business resilience exercises clients can undertake

Well, it depends on the results of their gap and needs analysis. This analysis not only helps makes the case for a best-practice testing program, but it also points clients to the kinds of exercises that program should be deploying.

What are the varieties of business resilience exercises clients could be undertaking? Not an exhaustive list of all possible business continuity exercise, they include the following:

  1. Alert exercise. The purpose of an alert exercise is to test the organisation by alerting participants, with the aim of getting them to arrive at a designated place within a certain time. It can also be used to test an alert mechanism. This type of exercise is primarily applied to staff within your client’s own organisation, but it may also be applicable to other contexts.
  2. Start exercise. A start exercise usually builds up on the alert exercise by testing how fast the crisis management organisation can be activated and start carrying out their tasks. A start exercise is a means to test and enhance the ability to activate the crisis management plan.
  3. Staff exercise. In many crisis management plans, a staff exercise will be designed to increase the ability of personnel to work with internal processes, peers, and information routines in order to create a common operational picture.
  4. Decision exercise. A decision exercise is primarily used to exercise decision making processes within an organisation, e.g., the ability to make fast and clear decisions on actions and to initiate cooperation between stakeholders under time constraints.
  5. Management exercise. This type of exercise is a combination of alert exercise, start exercise, staff exercise, decision exercise, and system exercise. The focus is often on roles, organisation, SOPs, etc.
  6. Cooperation exercise. This is a type of exercise where coordination through cooperation between management levels is being exercised. A cooperation exercise can be carried out both in large and small scales.
    1. A cooperation exercise may consist of either “Vertical” coordination (between national, regional, and local levels) or “Horizontal” coordination in a sector where public and private stakeholders participate.
  7. Crisis management exercise. A crisis management exercise simulates crisis conditions and provides the opportunity for people to practice and gain proficiency in roles designated in the crisis management plan.
  8. Strategic exercise. A strategic exercise refers to comprehensive exercise activities at the strategic level (e.g., inter-ministerial crisis staff, political-administrative staff, cross-sector and cross-departmental management staff, crisis management organisation of corporate management).
    1. The aims, here, are improving the integrated crisis reaction ability in exceptional threat and danger situations (crisis situations) and developing a comprehensive coordination and decision culture in organisations of the public, private, or not-for-profit sectors.
  9. Exercise campaign. An exercise campaign is a series of recurrent exercises with a common generic organisational structure.

Finally, clients should know that the pandemic tested the business resilience of even the most prepared firms, firms who didn’t rely on generic plans and testing.

Previously, your clients might have thought that a customised testing program was overkill, but that’s no longer the case. So how to help them get that program up and running? Consider learning more about the Noggin Partner Program.

Learn More About Noggin's Partner Program Link