It is not a matter of ‘if’ Business Resilience will falter, but when. That is not an insinuation that resilience planning is inadequate. It is the recognition that it is impossible to anticipate every permutation of an incident that might interrupt your business – especially in today’s highly complex environment. That is why the best business continuity plans adopt an ‘all-hazards’ approach – contemplating the unavailability of all valued resources, including people, facilities, data, systems and third parties. But even the strongest business continuity plans can falter. Robust incident management discipline will help carry the day when the inevitable business interruption strikes.
Not every ‘incident’ is a crisis – but every incident has the potential to evolve into a crisis if mismanaged. Job One for an incident ‘manager’ is to establish and maintain order throughout the lifecycle of an incident. Job One for incident ‘respondents’ is to listen to the incident manager and follow the structure that your organization has devised. Time is always valuable – but never more so than during incident resolution.
Most incidents – especially those heading into crisis territory – evoke strong emotions. Here are a few common sense tips – whether you are an incident manager or a respondent:
- Park your ego. If you are not invited to a call, it is because you are not required for resolution. Incident Management Calls are not ‘open houses’. Looky-loos are not welcome.
- No finger-pointing. Why the incident happened can be examined post resolution.
- No competitive suffering. An incident management call is not the time to tell your story.
- Do not speak to either a) just hear your own voice; or b) grandstand.
If these tips seem harsh – you probably aren’t cut out to manage or respond to incidents. Great incident managers are like rubber bands – flexible and extensible. If you’ve not done so recently, go thank your rubber bands. They just may be the key to holding your business together when resilience falters.
Teresa C. Lindsey has more than 30 years of experience developing business resilience, continuity and incident management best practices within the financial services industry. T (as she is called) retired in 2019 from Citizens Financial Group (CFG) where she served as Executive Vice President and Head of Resilience, Recovery and Crisis and Chief of Staff in Corporate Security & Resilience (CS&R). T will serve as a Senior Consultant to The Santa Fe Group.