Business Continuity Tip of the Month   -  June 2001

War and peace

‘Organise for peace, but prepare for war’ is an army adage that is as applicable to business continuity planning in the business world as it is in the armed forces. It reflects the fact that exceptional circumstances call for a different way of doing things to the norm.

During peacetime the army have a certain organisation and mode of operation. However, at the drop of a hat (or a bomb!), they change their organisation and individual roles to ones more suited to the new situation. This is not an easy thing to do, and it requires everyone concerned to be fully trained and practised in the wartime mode. It requires a commanding officer with the necessary skills and experience to effectively manage operations. And it requires a huge amount of training, so during peacetime they run regular exercises.

In the commercial world, crisis or emergency management is not the same as ‘business as usual’. It too requires a different organisation (crisis management structure) and a different way of doing things (crisis management plans). It requires a strong crisis manager, with the necessary skills and authority, and supporting team members who are fully trained and have rehearsed their plans until they are almost second nature.

So why not take a tip from an organisation that is well versed in crisis management? And whilst we all hope that peace will prevail, if war does break out you’ll be prepared.

 


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