The other day I was sat enjoying a coffee prior to going into a meeting. The coffee shop was in a busy part of central London and the pavements outside were full of office workers on their lunch breaks, tourists taking in the sights and school groups making their way between educational places of interest.

Every now and then a lycra-clad runner appeared, desperately seeking a way through the various throngs, desperately trying to keep moving, jogging impatiently on the spot as they waited for a gap to get past the slowly moving swarm of people. Their desire to get in a decent run during their lunchbreak was totally scuppered.

As I watched more and more runners try the impossible task of navigating through the crowds I began to wonder why they even bothered. Surely they knew the time they had chosen was a busy period for people to be out on the streets and equally I would guess they knew the route they were running along and the perils they would face.
So why not do it differently? Go later, or earlier, go to the park. They would achieve so much more.

The message here is don’t run (literally) headlong into obstacles you already know exist. Plan for them.

Time and time again we encounter obstacles to our Business Continuity Programmes. There’s never a good time to do this stuff because people need to get on with their day jobs, there are always other projects to compete with and occasionally there is just outright resistance. Each of these requires a strategic approach – ‘how do I get my work done, without getting blocked by the crowds?’

A situation I have encountered a few times when implementing Business Continuity programmes is ‘my department isn’t critical, we don’t need to be part of this’ – in other words, ‘get lost, leave me alone.’ It’s best to find this out early on in a project as it allows you to work with the other areas and report overall progress on a regular basis. Invariably the so called non-critical departments eventually modify their thinking or simply realise that alongside the other departments some of their work is actually critical, or at least that they need to be included in the procedures. It can be a slow-burn approach at times but the advantage is that the resistance ends up being overcome through their own choice rather than via confrontation and/or with resentment.

Back to running for a minute. Although I don’t always feel like going for a run I am always glad and always feel better for having gone. I know that I am not going to get as much benefit running in places where there are crowds or frequent stoppages so I think about the route before I set out. After all, I’m doing this for me, for my own benefit, it’s personal.

So, if you are running a Business Continuity programme you want to feel good at the end of it by having achieved the objectives so make sure you plan your route, think about the obstacles and how you are going to get round them.

If you need any help let me know.

March 28, 2016 at 7:03 pm
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Category: Planning