Gaining internal buy-in for a business continuity program from peers and leadership is a common challenge for BC/DR professionals. However, going it alone without strategic considerations from executive management and other core teams can be disastrous. Identifying advocates for your continuity program will help you overcome many pitfalls and barriers in the BC planning process, equipping your team to develop and sustain a successful BC program.
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 gaining internal buy-in for your BC program:
Time is a precious commodity. Think about others; your colleagues have responsibilities and goals 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. Make sure your BC plans are both action-oriented and built on the foundation of a strong policy. Simplify your BC plans and be concise—people are interested in knowing what they should do when a disaster occurs. Give your colleagues an action-oriented checklist.
Create a service-oriented BC team. Be the one who is collecting and providing data. Don’t just send out questionnaires; interview your colleagues. In addition, think proactively. The data gathered for your BC plans can also be shared not just with one team or department, but across your organization’s business units.
Define your product. Don’t just say you’re delivering a “plan.” You are delivering a solution that meets an important need in your organization. So focus on the benefits of your plan: How will implementing a BC program help other departments or teams? Most importantly, when you are developing and communicating your approach to marketing your program internally, don’t sell the fear, uncertainty, and doubt that come to mind when considering a potential disaster or business disruption. Sell the future! Remind colleagues that the company will exist and succeed after an event, rather than focusing on the event itself. People will be much more inclined to get involved with something that has a positive impact on your organization.
There are numerous regulators that list BC planning as a requirement, including the FFIEC, NCUA, FERC/NERC, FAA, FDA, OCC, ISO, BSI, and FDIC, among others. Educate your executives that implementing a business continuity program is not a choice; it is a requirement.