Getting people to think about business continuity and include it in their daily lives is one ofthe most difficult and underestimated aspects of a business continuity programme, yet it can make or break the perception of how successful the programme is. It doesn’t matter how good your resilience and continuity are, if people do not know about it, what to do in an incident or how to maintain it, then you have failed to achieve some of the fundamental principles of implementing business continuity.
This requires communication in the form of education, training and awareness on your organisations business continuity at all levels: staff, management, Directors and key suppliers. Embedding business continuity in the organisation requires an organisational culture change. Organisational culture is often described as ‘the way we do things’, which can be broken down into a collection of shared values, working styles and patterns of behaviour, typically enforced by a set of strong social controls which establish behaviour and control the behavioural patterns. Industry experience has shown that behaviour change initiatives fail to achieve lasting commitment unless attitudes and beliefs are also engaged and corrected. One such attitude which occurs frequently as a barrier to BCM is: ‘it will never happen here’ or ‘it will never happen to us’. In 2003, when embarking on my first BCM project in Oman, I heard these exact comments when discussing BCM threats and risks relating to Cyclones, Hurricanes, floods, industrial disputes and civil disorder/strikes.