Top Tips for successful Business Continuity planning

By Andy Cuerel

Business Continuity Management Systems (BCMS) encompass comprehensive and often detailed suites of activities. Comprehensive, however, does not equate to incomprehensible. And detailed should not be a euphemism for over-engineered.

Consideration of the following should help keep your BCMS lean, mean and fit for purpose! Continue reading

Engaging the top team in crisis preparedness

Crisis-Management-Insights-Survey-2015-011.pngChief executives, managing directors and other senior business leaders are failing to engage fully in crisis preparedness and risk undermining their organisation’s ability to manage crises, according to Steelhenge and Regester Larkin’s latest crisis management survey.

The survey of 170 large companies from 27 countries revealed that big business understands the need to prepare for a crisis, with 86 per cent of respondents owning a crisis management plan, 59 per cent carrying out crisis training and 68 per cent conducting crisis exercises at least annually. It is clear that crisis preparedness is high on the agenda. Continue reading

Seven tips for cyber exercises

Cyber%201By Dominic Cockram

Cyber attacks will continue to threaten business operations in 2016, with many commentators claiming that this year we could see ‘the big one’.

Organisations are increasingly focused on understanding the impacts a cyber attack could have on their operations and reputation. Many are now using cyber scenarios in their crisis exercises to test and validate their assumptions on how they would respond and reflect on the unique challenges a cyber attack could bring.

The exercises range from fully immersive simulations, that develop and build competence and confidence, by allowing a realistic replication of the pressures, issues and uncertainty, to desktop sessions, that provide leadership teams and broader management the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the nuances of a cyber response such as the awkward language and reporting processes.

Having run a large number of cyber exercises over the last 18 months, I thought it would be useful to share some of the common lessons.

Continue reading

‘Strategic’ and ‘operational’ resilience – establishing more comfortable bedfellows

Untitled-1By Dominic Cockram

The more I hear of the current discourse on organisational resilience, the more uncomfortable I find myself feeling.

The concept has been around for a long time and was brought sharply into focus in 2014 by the British Standard, BS 65000: Guidance on Organisational Resilience. As one of the editors, I was party to vivid and lengthy discussions and much positive disagreement as we ranged around the topic of organisational resilience, what it meant and how best to set it out in a standard. In the end, what came out was a ‘Guidance’ and that was an excellent result. Resilience is a complex and many faceted concept and it would have been wrong to go too far in framing an approach at this stage.

Continue reading

Volkswagen: a long road to recovery

By Dominic Cockram

220px-Volkswagen_logo_2012.svgIt has certainly been a busy few days for the VW crisis management team. If they had a mature and practiced crisis preparedness capability in place then hopefully they will have been hard at work for some time now. Suggestions are that others did have some foresight that all was not well in the industry from the roadside test reports, so there may have been some early work going on.

But, in facing this potentially overwhelming corporate crisis, how should VW set about managing the crisis, identifying their priorities and ensuring their reputation recovery? Continue reading

Getting ahead in the reputation game

Reputation Management Concept on the Cogwheels.Reputation and the importance of a good reputation is well understood; for businesses reputation is a vital and valuable commercial asset, albeit intangible. But how do organisations actively protect their reputation and manage the risks to it being damaged?

That is a harder question to answer. The 2014 Forbes Insights Survey found that 39 per cent of companies surveyed rated the maturity of their reputation risk programmes as “average” or “below average,” and only 19 per cent gave themselves an “A” grade for their capabilities at managing reputation risk. Clearly there is still much to be done – but what? In this blog, I offer some ideas for consideration and debate.

Influencers of corporate reputation 

External perceptions of quality, transparency and trust are key influencers of corporate reputation, as found by research published in the Edelman Trust Barometer (an annual survey of more than 5,000 informed publics in 23 countries), the Fortune 500 listing of the world’s most admired companies and the Reputation Institute. But herein lie the first two problems for reputation risk management.  Reputation is an intangible asset and its gift is in the hands of your stakeholders; both factors make it harder to gauge. Continue reading

Joining the crisis dots – How simulation exercising can create a culture of crisis sensitivity

By Dominic Cockram

As a crisis dotscrisis management professional, I have worked with many different crisis teams over the years. What has become apparent is that, in the majority of cases, those conducting the operational response to a crisis (and by that I mean at both the bronze/operational and silver/tactical levels) have little understanding of the strategic drivers, priorities and concerns, and potential challenges of the executive or ‘gold’ level.

This lack of understanding can fail to give those protecting the organisation’s license to operate what they really need to fulfil their role. Resulting in delayed escalation, incorrect assumptions and the transmission of skewed information to the top. Continue reading

Launch of BS 65000, The new British Standard for Organisational Resilience

The GuildhallThe new British Standard, Guidance on Organisational Resilience (BS 65000: 2014) was launched on 27th November at the Guildhall in the City of London. The venue was an apt choice for the launch of a resilience Standard; built in the 15th century, the Guildhall is one of the older secular buildings in London not only surviving both the Great Fire and the blitz but also remaining relevant today as the high-tech home of the City of London Corporation and the setting for many banquets, receptions and corporate events.  This history of the Guildhall struck me as having parallels with the essence of organisational resilience described by Chairman of the BS 65000 committee, Dr Robert MacFarlane from the UK Cabinet Office. He emphasised that resilience is a dynamic concept requiring organisations not only to be able to continue with their business operations during a sudden change or disruption but also to adapt over time to keep pace with changes in their wider context in order to survive and prosper. It seems the Guildhall has managed this. Continue reading

Managing Perception: Lessons from the Ebola epidemic shed new light on pandemic planning and response

Ebola-storyAs the tragedy of the Ebola epidemic continues to blight West Africa, the developed world has been reminded once again about the threat that diseases of epidemic proportion and pandemic potential pose in our globally connected world. It has also raised some complex questions in many organisations about exactly how they manage the realities and risks, both actual and perceived, of such disease threats in countries like the UK that have well-developed public health systems. Continue reading

Key Themes from the Crisis Management Conference 2014

IMG_0580Last month, we were delighted to welcome a capacity audience of international delegates to the Crisis Management Conference (CMC) 2014 in London.

The day had an auspicious start with the official launch of the new British Standard in Crisis Management, BS 11200 by the UK Cabinet Office and the British Standards Institution.  BS 11200 is the successor to PAS 200 and marks a significant point in crisis management as it codifies accumulated best practice into top-level guidance for organisations looking to implement a crisis management capability.

Continue reading