Oz's Business Continuity Blog 

From beekeeping to BCM

I’ve been accused (a tad unfairly in my opinion) by a colleague of occasionally making somewhat tenuous links in my blogs between some of my personal experiences and business continuity management. So what on earth, you may ask, is the link between beekeeping and business continuity management – or more specifically in this case, the risk management element of business continuity management? Well read on and you’ll find out…

People who know me, or who’ve been on my courses or seen some of my presentations, or read my first book “Practical Business Continuity Management” (no apologies for the thinly veiled attempt at promotion) will know that I’m a bit of a country bumpkin at heart. I live out in the wilds of Evesham in Worcestershire with my wife, 2 kids, 1 dog, 3 (pet) rats, 2 ducks, 3 chickens and, at the moment, about 20,000 bees (not that I’ve counted them recently).

About five years ago I decided to try my hand at beekeeping – as one does. So I went on a beginners’ course to learn the basics then set about setting up my apiary.

Now, the thing is, when I go and talk to my little stripy friends I tend to wear slightly different attire to that which I’m seen out in public in, for fairly obvious reasons.Those of you who have ever been stung by a bee (or a wasp for that matter – it’s a different poison but it feels about the same) will know that it’s not a pleasant experience. And because of my ineptitude as a beekeeper, the chances of me getting stung when I’m ferreting around in the hives are fairly high.

So I’ve done a risk assessment (albeit an informal one) which has identified the risk of being stung as a key one. I’ve considered the likelihood of this particular risk occurring and concluded that, largely due to the aforementioned ineptitude, it’s pretty high. I’ve also thought about the impact, which is also relatively high owing to my low pain threshold (I’m a bloke, after all). So I’ve concluded that this is a risk that I need to mitigate and part of that mitigation is to implement protective measures (in the form of my veil, gloves, overalls, etc), along with following a process that, at least in theory, reduces the likelihood of being stung. I also have a (somewhat basic) contingency plan that involves knowing my escape route and having learned to run reasonably quickly in wellies.

Some people, however, take a slightly different approach to their risk management than I do.

The point is though (actually 3 points) that it’s about :

a) Risk appetite. And different people – and different organisations for that matter – have different appetites for risk;

b) Understanding the risks that we face. And, believe it or not, the chap with the “bee beard” is far less likely to get stung when partaking in his “hobby” than I am when I’m carrying out mine (for reasons that I won’t trouble you with here); and

c) Taking appropriate risk mitigation measures. Now personally, I don’t think his is a good example of appropriate anything, but each to their own.

So, tenuous as my colleague might consider it, there is a link between beekeeping and business continuity and risk management.

And, having made a blatant and shameless plug for my book “Practical Business Continuity Management” earlier in my blog, it would be remiss of me not to do the same for my second book “Risk Management Simplified”!



Agree? Disagree? Want to share your own thoughts or opinions?

Post a comment and let me know what you think.


Andy Osborne (known as Oz to friends and colleagues) is the Consultancy Director at Acumen, a consultancy practice specialising in business continuity and risk management.

Andy is the author of two books ‘Practical Business Continuity ManagementandRisk Management Simplified‘ as well as his popular blogs and ‘Tips of the Month’, all of which aim to demystify the subjects of business continuity and risk management and make them more accessible to people who live in the real world.

You can follow Andy on Twitter at @AndyatAcumen and link with him on LinkedIn at http://uk.linkedin.com/in/andyosborneatacumen



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