There could be a self-contradiction in the term “business continuity”. We hear so much about the increasing pace of change in technology, organizations, and business in general. So does that mean business continuity is incompatible with the need to continually adapt to new markets and environments? Thankfully, there’s a loophole – after all, we also hear frequently that the only constant is change. Business continuity that continually aligns the business to meet varying conditions then unifies “continuity” and “change”. So far so good, but in that case business continuity managers will also need to understand change and how to handle it.
The life cycle of change unfolds in three stages:
- You identify the need for change. This change may be needed because business continuity tools or requirements for compliance have altered. It may also come from changes in your business. New risks, risks that no longer apply, and changes in business impact from risks are all things to look out for.
- You lead the change. Any change in your organization will mean that you must lead the changes needed in the associated business continuity. You may have also have to initiate change in a department or business unit if you, as a business continuity manager, discover that critical processes are at risk of interruption. For example, you discover that your supply chain now depends exclusively on just one financially unstable supplier – put your “change hat” on!
- You manage the change. Once change has been agreed on, it’s time for action. Teamwork, empowerment, training and accountability are all good concepts to embrace and apply, to make sure your colleagues work together, have a positive feeling of being responsible for the outcome, and have the know-how to make it happen.
This primer is only the start of effective change life-cycle management. You’ll also need to “move the cursor” correctly so that your actions guarantee business continuity in a way that meshes in with those of your colleagues in the different departments. But at least you now have a basic roadmap for handling change as part of business continuity.