The more we speak with our colleagues in the resilience industry; there is one thing we find we have in common. Almost all of us ‘fell into’ resilience or had it thrust upon us. Even the most seasoned resilience professionals will tell you – they had no intention of making their career in this industry.
So, if you find yourself unintentionally responsible for business continuity at your organization, let us reassure you with this undeniable truth: You are not alone!
If our colleagues are honest, they will tell you that they commonly suffered from impostor syndrome early in their careers.
Since we’ve pretty much all been there, we at the Resilience Think Tank (RTT) feel a sense of responsibility to help provide you with the tools you’ll need so you won’t have to fake it until you make it.
Top 10 Things You Need to Know
Let’s start with the top 10 things you’ll need to know as you venture into the role of a resilience professional.
Connect with like-minded people. Join a professional organization focused on continuity and resilience. Good choices are the Business Continuity Institute (BCI), the Disaster Recovery Institute (DRI), or the Association of Continuity Professionals (ACP). Of course, we recommend you follow the Resilience Think Thank. We will give you more tips along the way.
Your employer should send you to at least one major conference a year. DRJ runs two conferences a year in the US – one in the spring and one in the fall. The BCI hosts its BCI World annually in November. Register early and spend time reviewing the program to find the speakers and topics that mean the most to you.
Network with peers. LinkedIn is a perfect spot to build your network and get to know your new colleagues in the resilience profession. A simple connection request from one resilience pro to another generally does the trick. However, it may help to add a note explaining that you’re new to the profession and want to expand your network. Typically, we a helpful lot. Most of us don’t bite.
Commit to being an active learner. There are countless podcasts and free webinars available in our industry. The people you follow on LinkedIn will provide excellent leads for you in this area. Once you find a podcast that you like, be sure to follow it and keep learning!
Not all Business Continuity Programs are the same. What works at one organization doesn’t necessarily work at another. When learning a new role, the best thing you can do is learn as much as possible about the organization. Get to know its culture and understand what is most critical to them. Ask what products or services make them the most money and so are most vital.
Business continuity isn’t overly complicated. You want to build solutions that allow your most critical functions to regain operation before the impact of the disruption becomes unacceptable. The best place to start is by conducting a Business Impact Analysis (BIA). The BIA is the first step to understanding the business functions, defining how long they can afford to be offline, discussing alternate work locations, system requirements, and establishing minimum business continuity objectives for your critical functions.
Keep plans simple. Einstein said it best to “make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Nobody wants to read through a 40-page continuity plan when dealing with disruption. Focus on providing simple instructions that lead the team to get those critical functions back online as quickly as possible.
When you write a Business Continuity Plan (BCP), focus on the effect, not the cause. For example, you may have specific procedures that you will follow if people cannot access the office. This doesn’t matter why they can’t get into the office. The point is how to recover.
Exercise your plans. The old saying the more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle applies to business continuity and resilience. If you’ve written a plan but haven’t exercised it yet, you’re not ready.
You’ve got this! Most of your resilience colleagues (including your boss) were once in your shoes. Work confidently, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. We are here to help!
There is something else you should be aware of if you haven’t figured it out yet. We use a lot of acronyms in this industry, like BCP, BIA, RTO, RPO, MTPD, MBCO, IDKWID. Okay, we made that last one up. Don’t let the acronyms intimidate you. It’s more important that you understand the concepts behind the acronyms than the letters themselves. Look for future articles from the RTT about common acronyms and what they mean.
We’re glad to have you as part of the resilience family.
By Mark Hoffman and Ashley Goosman | Resilience Think Tank