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

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

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

The Crisis Management Conference 2014; Planning for Prosperity with a Coherent Crisis Management Capability

CMC2014 logo.jpgThe 2014 Crisis Management Conference (CMC 2014) will take place in London on Thursday 18th September. Delegates will be given a unique opportunity to hear speakers from the BBC, Network Rail, John Lewis, UBS, O2, UK Cabinet Office and the University of Liverpool discuss their first-hand experiences in preparing, responding and communicating in crisis. Click here to see the full programme.

Crisis management was long associated with failure and a desire to “keep covert” any crisis plans and preparations. Today, however, it is a topic of success, heralding responsible guardianship for the future well-being of an organisation’s people, performance, assets and reputation. It signals excellence in governance and leadership and is seen as an integral part of an organisation’s resilience, enabling it to thrive, survive and seize opportunity. Continue reading

Managing the upward flow of information in a crisis – what matters most?

By Dominic Cockram

The BriefHaving worked over the last few months with some of the larger organisations in the world, both in the UK and internationally, it has been fascinating to reflect on the unique challenges presented to a “super-corporate” in delivering crisis management and crisis leadership at the top.

Naturally, one of the greatest challenges is in the management and transfer of information about the crisis.  Quite rightly, it is filtered as it percolates up to senior leadership levels but any CEO worth his salt wants to get a feel for the reality “on the ground” and a true sense of what is happening.  This is difficult to achieve from a report which has gone through several levels of review, filter and reduction and which may be given by another executive who is also not on the ground.

So a challenge is presented, not least because any CEO appearing in front of the world’s media is going to want – and need – to be armed not only with his facts and key messages but also to be able to demonstrate he genuinely knows and feels what it is like for those right at the heart of the crisis.  Empathy is a difficult thing to achieve when you have only been presented with the “strategic issues” in a rather colourless fashion.  Yet in crisis communications, it is something the media and public are looking for and can be so judgmental about.  Continue reading

Reflections on BCM World 2013

BCMWorldConference logoSo, the BCM World Conference 2013 is now over and we can all reflect back on the trends it has presented.  Dominic Cockram from Steelhenge  led a presentation on “Achieving Control in a Crisis” on the first day and the stream – Thought Leadership – had an excellent turn-out. Dr Paul Robertson followed on the subject of crisis leadership and both sessions seemed to go down well although it was a quiet audience in terms of questions which was a shame.

Overall the conference felt as though there were slightly less people than last year but still a good turn-out at Olympia; never the most intimate or exciting of venues for conferences and more suited to large exhibitions.

As ever, there was a large turn-out of technology stands at the exhibition and the development of BC software, notification solutions and crisis software suites seems to continue to grow and develop.  We spoke to a number of visitors however and they seemed to want “something simple which just does what it says on the tin” so it still seems that many do not see the tech solution as giving them quite what they need  as yet.

The conference had a good spread of speakers and the case study stream had some excellent sessions looking more closely at how some are actually doing BCM.  The delegates always like to hear the realities from those doing the work at the sharp end. Our own business continuity planning case study of Establishing ISO 22301 in Crossrail: Europe’s Largest Construction Project, presented with Steve Hails, Health & Safety Director for Crossrail was extremely well received and it was a shame that the clock restricted the discussion session at the end.

Overall I would think it goes down as another good conference and well done to the BCI for all the work they always put in.  The trend seem to be moving towards Crisis Management and Resilience as the key areas of focus for the future, and reflected upon by Lyndon Bird in his article recently in Continuity.  Crisis Management is certainly seen now as a key area for businesses and the public sector to get right and there is much more effort heading in that direction now, as well as focus from the senior management teams which always helps.

Resilience continues to grow as a topic and is definitely gaining ground as the new arena for development.  Bringing together all the capabilities in a more integrated and measured fashion to ensure that organisations are ready for whatever is thrown at them.  The Mega Trends of the Future as set out in the PwC Global Review this year give some insights to way the world is heading and some of the issues we all need to face up to in the not so distant future and Resilience could be the approach to face this period of change and disruption to the norms we know now.  We shall see but it definitely offers considerable scope as a concept for such developments.

Other related posts: Resilience: The 21st Century Imperative

Crisis Management Planning 101: Learning from Asiana’s Mistakes

By Isobel Nicholas

South Korea’s Asiana Airlines was roundly criticised in the aftermath of its response to the crash of Flight 214 on Sunday 6th July 2013 at San Francisco airport, inflicting severe damage to its reputation.  The criticism largely stems from its silence in the hours after the crash and the lack of information made available to support victims of the crash and their families as they struggled to find out what had happened and whether their loved ones were involved.

Here we review what happened and look at what lessons in crisis management planning and crisis communications can be learned. Continue reading

Lessons learned – or are they?

By Katie Collison

A key theme to emerge from the 2013 Crisis Management Conference held in London in May this year was post crisis learning. The distinguished panel of speakers from the UK Cabinet Office, Unilever, Goldman Sachs, the BBC and Bank of England, unanimously agreed that it is all too easy to identify what went wrong in a crisis response or an exercise, but far harder to ensure that the lessons so welcomed are actually turned into change and implemented to protect and prevent the same things happening again. Continue reading