If you are a business continuity manager, you know what your job is. If you aren’t, you know your job isn’t business continuity. This is a problem of course. How do we make continuity everyone’s job? BCS author Stuart Hotchkiss suggests some methods.

Here are some methods to try:


Yes you need one but it is a foundation only, not the whole house. Essential for other reasons though.


Make sure everybody has a metric which will measure them on compliance to the continuity policy. Great idea but metrics are there to be avoided or form the basis of a broad judgement of performance. A functional manager who hits his functional metrics and misses his continuity one is unlikely to be sacked.


Better, but how do you do it? Bribes?

Grinding them down

Works as long as you are there - as soon as your back is turned though...


Lots of time and lots of money but in terms of effectiveness for performance, it is a moot point.


The only thing that works. There is negative selling: ‘if you do this, you will pass audit’ and positive selling: ‘this is why it is good for you’.

Let’s look at the latter. Start from the top first. Business continuity is a competitive advantage for a company. If the CEO is not convinced, all is lost. The CEO may be convinced and delegate this to someone rather than embedding it in a corporate strategy statement. No matter - go to the delegate.

Why and how is continuity an advantage? Keeping up supply in bad times. Giving guarantees of service levels to customers. Improving response times. Having less downtime. All of these are things which can be worked into the customer offers a company makes and priced into them too. Customers buy the best, not the cheapest. This is a marketing job.

Once the CEO or delegate is convinced, do not expect it will now work automatically. There is now a sales job to do at every other level. It takes diligence, time and face-to-face meetings and each person in an organisation needs a different message. The transport manager will be interested in transport reliability. The sales manager will be interested in how this makes the products more attractive and how he can keep selling in any situation.

Think this through for each person and if all else fails, ask them why they don’t want business continuity and then counter these arguments. One thing is sure though, business continuity just because an audit requires it is not a panacea, and less so regulatory needs. Unless and until people realise the advantages, it will not be embraced.

The last thing to void is the dramatic. Sell the improved efficiency of having planned for all the little glitches and not the dramatic burning building because all you will get is a budget for fire extinguishers.

Stuart Hotchkiss is the author of the new BCS book Business Continuity Management In Practice, and is a business consultant at Hewlett Packard.