Good business continuity training can teach you all the essential parts of BC planning and management. Application of training and practical experience in the field can then round out the principles and theory. But how do you then get business continuity awareness into the hearts and minds of accountants, research engineers, HR managers, logistics project managers – and anyone else with a specialized role in your organisation? It’s impossible to know everybody else’s job like they do, and foolish to try. In fact, rather than trying to ask them job-specific BC questions, you may get further by using the following technique from the world of coaching.

The idea is to get people to think through a problem or an opportunity which they feel concerns them, but without pushing any particular solution at them. The solution should be defined by the people themselves. Your role as a “business continuity coach” is to keep the solution-finding process going and to help people converge on a useful plan of action. It’s important to note the difference with the “directive” coach who literally tells people what to do. In an emergency for instance, directive coaching may be more appropriate. However, in building awareness and getting people to take ownership of business continuity in their area, the neutral coach approach is likely to garner better results.

After making sure you have their interest (they see the benefits of BC, the dangers of not doing it, or both), here are sample questions to get the ball rolling:

What factors or events could stop you (or your team) from carrying out normal activities?

  • What would the consequences be for you and for the organisation?
  • What is the maximum acceptable delay possible before you resume normal activities?
  • What procedures or resources have you put in place to avoid this delay becoming unacceptable?

These questions can all be asked in exactly this way, without needing to be an expert in the job are of the people you are working with. Look out for further posts on this subject as we explore possibilities for effectively applying business continuity in your organisation.