Four Tips for Getting Internal Buy-In for Your Business Continuity (BC) Program

  • April 19, 2013
  • Andy Vanderhoff

Gaining internal buy-in for a BC program from peers and executive leadership is a common challenge for BC/DR professionals. Some have chosen to go about it alone. However, going it alone without strategic considerations from executive management and other core teams can be disastrous. For one thing, after Business Impact Analysis (BIA) is done, people won’t agree on criticality ratings in the BC process/system. This in turn will create confusion during the exercise, as you may not have set expectation properly. Getting internal buy-in for your BC/DR program will help you to develop and sustain a successful BC program in place.

Creating internal champions for your program is actually easier than you might think. However, you may be asking yourself, “How do I actually go about doing this?” Below are a few tips that can help you in getting internal buy-in for your BC program

1. Make/create plans that are accessible, easy to follow and implement.

Time is a precious commodity. Think about others; your colleagues have responsibilities that they have to accomplish. When it comes to BC planning, many organizations tend to be heavy on the policy/regulation yet light on the implementation, making BC plans as rather unbearable. Make sure your BC plans are both action-oriented while at the same time having good policy in place. Simplify your BC plans, fewer pages is better! Be concise, clear and concrete; people are interested in knowing what they should do when a disaster occurs. Give your colleagues action-oriented checklist.

2. Be a servant. Think about making your BC plans less hassling.

Create a service-oriented BC team: be the one who is getting and providing data. Don’t just send out questionnaires; interview your colleagues in order to make it more personal. In addition, think proactively. The data gathered for your BC plans can also be shared not just for one department, but across the organizational elements as well.

3. Be smart in marketing your BC plans.

Define your product. Don’t just say you’re delivering a “plan.” You are delivering something greater than a “plan.” If you are trying to sell a drill, you sell the hole as well. The hole is the need so you should sell the solution to meet that need. Focus on the benefits of your plan: what are some of the benefits that your plan has to offer? Most importantly, when you are defining your product, don’t sell chaos, fires, and fears that could strike the organization. Sell tomorrow! Share the fact that the company will exist and succeed after an event, don’t focus on the event itself.

4. Remind others in your organization of the regulations/standards that are required.

There are numerous regulations that list BC Planning as a requirement: FFIEC, NCUA, FERC/NERC, FAA, FDA, OCC, ISO, BSI, FDIC and the list keeps adding each year. Educate your executives that BC planning is not a choice, it is a requirement.