Matt Hodges-Long 11/07/2016
You are undoubtedly familiar with the evolutionary concept ‘Survival of the Fittest’ and businesses are no different. Resilient businesses are fitter, stronger and ultimately more likely to succeed.
Sadly, the majority of businesses still pay lip service to resilience, which presents an uphill struggle for risk managers.
Here at TrackMyRisks, we believe ‘herd resilience’ is the solution…
The starting point
The majority of small and medium businesses are disengaged from risk management and resilience planning. Many will say they have a business continuity plan but very few have the capability or a properly coordinated program for continuously improving their resilience.
This lack of engagement means that, on the whole, businesses are exposing themselves to a high level of risk. Managing and reducing risk at an individual level across each business that makes up the mass market will ultimately have a tangible and positive impact on the ‘herd’.
Why herd resilience?
Describing the mass market as the herd is in no way meant to be patronising, it is simply a hook to make it more memorable.
During the last swine flu outbreak, the concept of herd immunity was presented as a case for immunisation of a critical mass of livestock to protect the members of the herd who were not immunised. Effectively, the immunised members of the herd would provide a ‘firewall’ against disease transmission.
Here at TrackMyRisks, we immediately drew a parallel with risk management in business. Incremental improvements in resilience across the mass market (the herd) would not only benefit the individual business, but also deliver positive benefit throughout the supply chain and in turn the wider economy.
Currently, business continuity service provision is primarily focused on the easy to identify, well-resourced larger businesses. However numerically they do not represent the herd so the question is, how do we work together to improve the resilience of the herd?
Three steps to herd resilience
- Simple solutions: develop service-led business continuity solutions that are simple to understand, affordable and easy to implement. Most importantly, recognise that management teams are busy and do not want to become business continuity experts;
- Education: regularly communicate with the herd to keep them engaged and committed to ongoing resilience improvement. Within TrackMyRisks we call this the ‘resilience journey’;
- Incentivise: make investment in resilience attractive through a combination of recognition and reward. Smaller businesses have multiple calls on the same money and internal resources so the financial case for resilience investment needs to be clear. Government, trade bodies, insurers, procurement managers and marketers all have a role to play in promoting and recognising resilience.
The long haul
Achieving true herd resilience is a big challenge (many might say impossible) but as an industry we owe it to ourselves and society to work together to make this happen. From our perspective, it represents a win, win, win:
As a business owner the resilience journey will identify process improvements, safeguard revenue, reduce costs and make their business a more attractive proposition to customers;
Improving resilience across the herd will maintain productivity, maintain employment and protect tax receipts;
Companies involved in the business continuity industry will benefit from the significant growth in demand.
A new way of thinking
The combined experience of the TrackMyRisks team has highlighted the key points for engaging the herd in resilience planning:
- Use language your customers understand, rather than trying to blind them with science;
- Keep it simple and demystify the business continuity planning process;
- Provide end-to-end solutions (reduce client workload rather than increase it);
- Focus on positive outcomes (i.e. by becoming resilient you will be able to sell more, reduce overheads, increase enterprise value etc);
- Demonstrate return on investment (resilience budget is not normally ring-fenced so a clear case for investment is required).
Have your say
If you like the concept of herd resilience and would like to work together to make it happen, we would be delighted to hear from you. Similarly, if you think the concept is flawed or doomed to fail, we would be delighted to hear from you. By overcoming the objections and concerns, the proposition gets stronger. By sharing knowledge and working together to deliver change, we will all benefit from a resilient future.