Business Continuity Tip of the Month

Feel the rhythm

Every business has a rhythm. The daily production meeting, the weekly sales meeting, the CEO’s fortnightly morale-boosting email, the monthly team briefing, and so forth, all contribute to this business rhythm.

The military, particularly in wartime, has a thing called the ‘battle rhythm’, which, depending on your choice of dictionary, may be defined as “A daily routine or order of business, especially as assumed by a military organization or during crisis”.

Whilst most businesses aren’t structured or run in the same way as the armed forces, the concept of battle rhythm can certainly be applied to crisis or incident management. Because it’s largely about information management and communication. It’s about implementing effective processes for gathering, assimilating and communicating information, providing situational awareness to the decision-makers to help them make informed decisions, and ensuring the right information is communicated to the relevant stakeholders at the appropriate times.

The crisis management battle rhythm includes the frequency of briefing meetings, situation reports, updates, stakeholder communications, and so on. That frequency may well vary as events unfold, as circumstances change and as our responses enable us to get on top of the situation. It’s likely that the tempo will be quite high in the early stages but will usually reduce as time goes by and things become calmer – a bit like starting with a quickstep and finishing with a waltz!

But our crisis management battle rhythm shouldn’t be left to chance, or be driven entirely by external factors. By considering in ‘peacetime’, through planning and exercising, the tempos we’d want to adopt in ‘wartime’, at what stages, and how we might go about setting them, we’re much more likely to have control over the rhythm, rather than dancing to someone else’s tune!