Business Continuity Management is more of a Mindset than Theoretical Planning

The legendary founder of Infosys, N R Narayan Murthy once when asked what his greatest challenge everyday was replied that putting mind over mindset is something that he consciously strives to do every day. This observation is very apt for all facets of business as the mindset of success is more important than having elaborate and detailed plans on paper on how to be the number one in the chosen field. When organizations as a whole and individuals in particular develop the mindset for success, there is nothing stopping them from achieving their goals. Similarly, the ability of a company to respond quickly and swiftly to an emergency is largely a function of the disaster preparedness mindset among its employees.

We need not look farther than the response of companies in the wake of the 9-11 attacks. Companies like Goldman Sachs and Citibank were able to resume business in no time whereas other companies took their own time to resume operations. The difference in the response times of these companies is the prevailing mindset among its employees as to do the right thing in case of an emergency.

For instance, Citigroup lost many of its employees in the attacks but was in continuity of business mode within a couple of days. This was possible mainly due to the frame of mind of its employees who were trained and prepared to tackle emergencies as opposed to that of other companies that were caught like Deer blinded by a headlight.

To inculcate a mindset of disaster preparedness, companies ought to ensure that the employees do not panic in case of an emergency and have their wits around them when disaster strikes. This is possible only if the employees are trained to respond in an agile and adroit manner to emergencies. This is particularly important for those companies that operate mission critical systems like 24/7 banking operations and communications networks. For these companies, disasters are opportunities to show their customers on how well they can respond to the emergency and ensure that the customers do not suffer. More often than not, the agility with which companies respond to emergencies is often the way in which top management maintains its calm and presence of mind during emergencies.

The reason for this is that it is human nature to flock around a leader in times of emergency and most of us would have known how we gravitate towards the head of the family or the one in charge during personal emergencies. Similarly, companies ought to groom leaders who are capable of displaying extraordinary leadership during crisis situations and the way in which these leaders stand up and be counted during crises determines how well the company responds to the emergency. Hence, the key takeaway here is that companies ought to nurture and groom leaders who display calm and not lose focus during an emergency and by doing so, the companies would have planned for emergencies when the workforce looks up to this leader and follows him or her like bees around the Queen Bee.

In conclusion, like in personal crises, it is the presence of mind and the well developed sense of fortitude that pulls people through emergencies. Likewise, companies ought to ensure that the mindset of disaster preparedness permeates to all levels of the organization and also to groom leaders who are capable of displaying extraordinary leadership during contingencies.


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