Tuesday, December 9, 2008

ERM-BC-COOP: Like a winter holiday

The holidays, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas are a lot like Enterprise Risk Management (a/k/a Business Continuity and COOP).

During the "season" we hear a lot about helping the less fortunate.

That's commendable and I encourage everyone to do just that.

However . . .

The less fortunate are less fortunate before and after the Big Give holidays.

They need to eat and they need shelter and they need employment for self esteem.

These needs are not limited to two months in the winter; they are a year-round requirement.

Rather like ERM/BC/COOP.

Now is the time to plan for the coming hurricane season, not June 1 when the 6-month (June 1 to November 30) season commences.

Now is the time to plan for the coming floods of spring and drought of summer, not when the water is creeping under the door or when firefighters are praying for rain to drench wild fires before they scorch homes and businesses.

But, like the needy, unless we are reminded again and again and again that ERM/BC/COOP is an on-going program, it - like the needy - becomes "out of sight, out of mind."

Let me rewrite that last paragraph a bit. Make it read "Unless we remind others again and again . . . " That's part of our job. First get "their" attention, then tell "them" what we are about to say, say it, and finally tell "them" what we said . . . then start over.

We have some allies. I notice billboards put up by various governments promoting personal emergency planning. States and some municipalities encourage business continuity and personal emergency planning on their Web sites. Not only do governments encourage such planning, many offer guidance.

Maybe we need bell ringers standing not outside the Big Box Stores but outside the Mom-and-Pops and Small-and-Medium organizations (non-profits and charities as well as for-profits") to get the attention of owners and senior managers. I'd settle for getting ANYONE's attention, on the assumption that, like ants toting sustenance to the mound, our message will find its way inside.

The less fortunate need assistance more than 2 or 3 days-a-year.

Likewise, ERM/BC/COOP programs need to be functional more than only when a threat, like the Three Little Pig's wolf, is at the doorstep. (You'll recall that one of the pigs had a plan - he built a wolf-proof house.)

Now, go forth. Put something into the red kettle and promote organizational survival planning.

John Glenn, MBCI, SRP
Enterprise Risk Management/Business Continuity
Planner @ JohnGlennMBCI.com

No comments: