Archive for November, 2011

It’s a Dog’s Life When it Comes to Business Continuity Development

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Dogs teach us many lessons in life (cats do too … however this article favors my canine companions). They teach us patience during their puppyhood, tolerance during their adolescence, leadership during their adulthood, and appreciation during their senior years. Each lesson plays a vital role in building a successful business continuity (BC) program. Let’s take a closer examination…

Business Continuity is not an activity that typically produces immediate results or payback in terms of investment (unless a disaster strikes immediately after you have developed your program). It takes time to build relationships and reap the rewards that are possible as one becomes a trusted business continuity advisor. Some organizations don’t develop business continuity programs because they perceive this time as not well spent since they can’t see the immediate results. Big mistake, if you ask me.

Alternately, some give up on building a BC program too soon because they lack the patience to develop solid relationships. I believe patience is critical when developing a BC program. If I had not had patience with my puppy 15 years ago (and trust me, I needed a lot), imagine what I would have lost. Now imagine what you could lose f if you don’t practice patience as you build your business continuity plan.

Tolerance is the recognition of and respect for the opinions, beliefs, and actions of others. The business arena is filled with a variety of different people, personalities, and perspectives. Yet it’s natural to surround yourself with people most like yourself. However, adding diversity to your internal sponsors and client base could open up amazing opportunities. Stretching outside your comfort zone to meet people different than you could expose you to people and organizations you might not have otherwise met. Diversity is a major key to your networking and program management success and it requires tolerance to allow the opportunities to unfold. It was tolerance that allowed me to fully respect the natural tendencies of the German Shepard I had selected to be a part of my family.

To some degree, I believe there tends to be a leader and a follower in every relationship. In the human/dog relationship, all you have to do is watch an episode of The Dog Whisperer to see the results when the dog claims the leadership role.

Business relationships are no different. Leaders model the behavior they wish to see in others and guide behavior in a positive manner. Leaders take ownership and accept responsibility and they know how to delegate and hold themselves and others accountable. Accountability for your own success in developing a business continuity program is the first step to achieving success.

I’ve heard it said that we appreciate things more after they’re gone. Surely, I appreciated Buddy while he was alive, however, after he was gone, I truly began to appreciate all the little things much more, especially the amount of joy she brought into my life.

How often do you stop and truly appreciate the people in your company or network that work on your behalf to help you reach your business continuity goals? How do you show that appreciation? I believe that one of our basic human needs it to feel appreciated. When you take the time to appreciate those that help you, you’re making an investment in that relationship. The more investments you make, the stronger the relationship becomes and the closer you get to becoming a trusted advisor; the stronger the relationship, the stronger the inclination for the customer to help you and vice versa.  

There’s one thing that makes a dog truly special — unconditional love. A canine companion loves you unconditionally, without hidden agendas. We owe it to our organization and/or clients to be the kind of person our dog thinks we are. We owe our internal and external network sincere gratitude and appreciation on a consistent basis.

In the end, Buddy taught me a great lesson in focus.  Focus was the only thing that got me through the passing of a wonderful pet.  Focused, strategic consulting is what gets you the results you want. It takes you to the right places and introduces you to the right people. 

Business continuity program development is all about these lessons mentioned here: patience, tolerance, leadership, appreciation and focus.  Take a look at what you are doing in the area of business continuity development and don’t be surprised if you are truly leading a dog’s life.

Patrick R. Dunn, CBCP, CISSP
Practice Manager – Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity