Friday, April 1, 2016

ERM-BC-COOP:

Poll shows firms
Have effective plans:
What were the questions?

 

A GLOBAL BUSINESS TRAVEL ASSOCIATION (GBTA) POLL convinced the organization that the "vast majority of companies have effective risk management plans."

More than 72 percent of global travel buyers report that their company has a risk management plan in place, according to a poll conducted by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and its European partner associations. In addition, 81 percent found their company’s risk management plan to be effective directly following the terror attacks in Brussels.

What questions were asked?

Do the "global travel buyers" polled know anything about risk management? Have these people SEEN their organization's risk management documents?

I'M A SKEPTIC.

Perhaps the respondents' organizations have a plan for travelers; perhaps it even is a good plan that has been vetted through experience - at least a "walk-through" exercise.

Having a travel plan - what to do if you can't get from Point A to Point C via Point B by a specific deadline via a specific method - is something I've preached for many years.

But I know that (a) most organizations lack realistic travel risk plans, and (b) most organizations have useless plans if they have a plan at all.

It was not so long ago that an organization was satisfied if it had an IT (MIS) recovery plan; recovery that lacked any preventive actions to avoid having to go into recovery mode. Any practitioner who has been in the risk management business - a/k/a "business continuity" - knows this truth.

It's not the practitioner's fault that plans are lacking; the blame falls squarely on Very Senior Management, ostriches who are certain "nothing will happen to us."

I'm curious about the questions the GBTA asked. Did they ask about lenders? How about supply chain? Government regulations? Foreign trade restrictions? How about foreign labor laws (since the suggestion is that the travelers represent global organizations)?

Were the "global travel buyers" asked what they would do if

  • Another volcano blew its top a la Eyjafjallaj√∂kull or even Mt St Helens?
  • If an airport - origin, intermediate, destination - is closed, for weather, strike, or - as in Brussels - Muslim terrorists?
  • If an airplane was "rerouted" from, say Cairo to Cyprus' Larnaca International Airport?
  • What options are available if a flight/train/boat is cancelled or delayed, or a critical roadway is closed?
  • If the traveler was denied access to the desired transportation mode or denied access to a country, either the destination or an intermediate stop?

There are many more questions to be asked just on travel alone - never mind enterprise risks.

When I see a headline such as the one over the GBTA article, I confess to being skeptical, but then I am skeptical of ALL polls unless I know

  • What questions were asked?
  • How were the questions asked? (Face to face, via mail/email/online, telephone)
  • What organization sponsored the questionnaire and who created the questions to be asked?

And even then some skepticism remains.

I would like to think that all the queried organizations had validated (exercised) risk management plans, but . . .


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