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Business Continuity: Engaging Stakeholders

In the wake of COVID, businesses have likely been thinking hard about business continuity. Risk managers have updated continuity plans. But planning for the last crisis isn’t enough.

To get business continuity right, organizations will have to get their internal stakeholders involved in business continuity management. That hasn’t always been easy. 

Disengaged sponsors have made getting stakeholders involved in business continuity a challenge

Indeed, a perennial challenge to getting business continuity management (BCM) projects successfully off the ground has been lack of executive sponsorship.

Executive sponsors, once secured, find themselves disengaged. Instead, they delegate key sponsorship duties to mid-level managers.

Why’s that an issue?

While mid-level managers might be good at running the day to day, only executive sponsors can secure the requisite level of visibility across the organization that’s needed for BCM projects to flourish.

And these projects, touching multiple departments as they do, specifically require a high-level of cross-business visibility to ensure the needed cooperation from relevant departments.

Business continuity projects are implemented for the wrong reason

So, what can be done? Organizations might appoint relevant senior leaders to cross-functional project steering committees. These committees should meet frequently to hammer out relevant issues in project development, execution, and maintenance.

Beyond establishing project steering committees, BC practitioners should also understand why senior leaders have historically been so loath to participate actively in the sponsorship of business continuity (BC) projects.

Why’s that?

Part of the reason is that executives, with numerous other demands already on their plate, don’t always think that BC projects are worth their time.

Indeed, the core of the issue is that senior leaders don’t always think that disasters will happen to them.

This type of thinking predominated before COVID. But there’s reason to believe complacency is creeping back, with many senior leaders considering COVID to be a Black Swan event rather than being symptomatic of a deteriorating risk picture for business.

For instance, business continuity planning still remains geared towards compliance. Sure, regulatory compliance can be a benefit of business continuity, but it shouldn’t be the goal.

For, such an approach only exacerbates stakeholder indifference to BCM, while the projects themselves are administered indifferently, leading to poor outcomes.

Simple measures to get stakeholders involved in Business Continuity

The most serious of those poor outcomes, though, is a lack of organizational and operational resilience, which well-run BC programs and projects as well as resilience management software can help ensure.  

So, what can be done?

Securing stakeholder buy-in to BCM projects and programs isn’t easy. One thing your clients can do is create awareness campaigns targeted at their internal champions.

These campaigns will (1) define what BCM is, (2) highlight the value of BCM for achieving resilience, as well as (3) underline other BCM benefits, e.g., meeting customer demand, avoiding liability, and maintaining a competitive edge.

How else does BCM generate a positive ROI? Download our guide to Calculating the ROI of Business Continuity Management to find out.

Download Calculating the ROI of Business Continuity Management