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Atlantic Business Continuity Services

Resolve to be Resilient in 2016

As many of us begin 2016 with a list of resolutions, it is important to consider the one resolution that could actually save your organization when the next crisis or disaster occurs. Resolve to be resilient by implementing these three steps to begin your path towards a resilient 2016 and beyond.

1. Expect the Unexpected. One lesson learned from the October 2015 flooding in South Carolina was the rapid timeline that many disasters follow. A large rain system can quickly turn into a 1,000-year flood. Resilient organizations don’t limit their planning to predictable events like a hurricane or utility failure. Expand your planning horizon to consider worst-case scenarios that often come with little warning, such as earthquakes, loss of key employee, and terrorism. These events continue to occur with regular frequency and require more diligent advanced preparation, starting with the remaining two steps below.

2. Develop multiple recovery strategies. Too many plans that we review are based on a single recovery strategy, whether it is a single alternate worksite, a single IT recovery method, or a single method of emergency communications. Recent events like the South Carolina flooding and others have shown that plans often don’t go according to plan. The best plans often are those that have multiple options. When you identify the critical elements of your organization that require timely recovery, be sure to develop multiple recovery strategies for each. That means multiple alternate worksites or strategies, multiple IT recovery methods and options, multiple communications methods (not just relying on cell phones and email), and so on. Resilience often depends on flexibility and having several options available.

3. Prepare your workforce. People are the most valuable asset of any organization, but often are the weak link when plans are activated in response to a crisis. Schedule time on your calendar in 2016 to prepare, train, and test your staff’s ability to implement plans when needed. Make a recurring quarterly (good) or monthly (better) appointment to prepare your people for the various plans and conditions they may face. Schedule time during annual reviews to talk to each person about their home and family emergency preparations. Review cross-training gaps and identify multiple back-ups for each key position. Make your workforce resilient.

These three basic steps will put your organization on the quick path towards resilience in 2016 and beyond. Don’t let this resolution go unfulfilled. Resolve to be resilient this year by carving out a little time each month to make incremental progress on your plans and preparedness efforts. The payback for your time investment will be huge when faced with the next crisis or disaster, and it may save your organization and your livelihood. Our mission is to support you in these efforts, so please let us know if we can assist you. We look forward to partnering with you to keep this critical resolution in 2016.

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