By Dominic Cockram
As the torrential rain and gales continue and, with the wettest January in UK already recorded, the mind swings to what else 2014 will hold for us within the resilience and crisis management world. Just for starters, we should see the launch of two new British Standards for Crisis Management and Resilience, both borne of the increasingly turbulent world in which organisations are operating and striving for success. I have also compiled a list of the Top 10 topics most likely to influence us this year.
Crisis Management (BS 11200)
Firstly, we have the imminent publication of a Standard for Crisis Management (BS 11200) which is following in the footsteps of PAS 200, developed a couple of years ago. A tough subject to “standardise” and most will be happy to hear – as I am – that it is to be published in the form of Guidance rather than Specification, thus aiming to inform and support organisations rather than be a Standard to be certified against through external audit.
Resilience (BS 65000)
Then, close on its heels is the British Standard for Resilience – BS 65000. I am involved in its development which is both stimulating and engaging. This one is more intellectually testing as the subject of resilience is so immature and the body of academic work is still in its infancy. However, it is causing much interest in the business community, since it is very “on trend” in today’s challenging business environment and encourages work towards the further integration of a business’ culture, behaviours, disciplines and activities to achieve strategic objectives. Again, it will be published as a Guidance document.
What topics are most likely to influence organisations in 2014? Here I have pulled together both my own views and those of a number of industry colleagues to create a top 10:
1. Cyber threat – an evolving landscape that is possibly moving faster than many can keep pace. With almost daily reports of high profile cyber incidents, this continues to be a big concern.
2. Resilience – how do our truly global businesses become better and more mature at ensuring they survive and adapt to disruption and the changing risk landscape?
3. Supply chain – more dependencies and connections. Can we manage the complexity and criticality? Can we even visualise all of the linkages?
4. Regulation – more red tape or better management? There is certainly more coming to many in 2014. How do we integrate it into our preparedness. Is it really helping?
5. Executive preparedness – things keep going wrong and many senior execs keep showing how ill-prepared they are to deal with them. A trend towards doing something about it may be starting?
6. Social media & Social networks – almost an inevitable factor in any crisis and becoming a part of every day crisis management. But, not everyone is yet comfortable with this, despite the impact social networks can have on reputation.
7. Technology transformation – BYOD et al. More risks than rewards?
8. Severe weather – can it get worse? Probably, and are we getting better at surviving it?
9. VUCA – Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity – are we going to just get more “VUCA” as the world develops? Where is the next state crisis?
10. Doing more with less – on-going cost-cutting will continue to challenge resilience programmes.
What I am sure of is that 2014 will still hold some surprises. Keeping crisis preparedness at the top of the agenda for all organisations aspiring to thrive in the face of whatever is thrown at them, will be essential for a successful year. The age-old mantra springs to mind, “Fail to plan, plan to fail”.
With thanks to Mark Moran, Michael Gilbert, Prof Ian Mitroff, Jon Arthur and Kevin Brear for their valued input.