Thomas Cook ceased trading on Monday 23 September 2019. With many experts saying its fate was inevitable, what can be learnt from the demise of Thomas Cook?
With 2020 behind us, we had hoped 2021 would bring with it some resemblance of normalcy. However, we’re starting the new year with another national lockdown and a second go at juggling work and homeschooling. If we have learnt anything over the last 12 months, it’s that there’s never been a more pertinent time to expect the unexpected. With your business surviving thus far, it’s worth taking the time to look at the organisational resilience of your business to make sure you’re able to continue to weather the current storm as well as any future ones that might come your way.
How resilient your organisation is has certainly been put to the test in 2020. Many organisations were ill-prepared to deal with the impact of a global pandemic, yet many have managed to navigate these uncharted waters, learning, adapting and finding solutions as they go. However, having plans and protocols in place that provide a framework for how to deal with any risks or threats to your organisation will make sure you’re prepared. This approach, utilises Business Continuity management to help ensure the survival of your business.
The purpose of Business Continuity is to look after the resilience of your organisation; the discipline deals with how your business manages risks and threats. Applying the Business Continuity Management discipline to your organisation enables you to prioritise and prepare solutions to risks and threats that would disrupt your business. With the primary goal being that you can continue key business operations in the event of a disruption.
In the simplest terms, employing Business Continuity for your organisation will identify its risks and threats, provide responses to them, and address incidents and crises if and when they occur.
Business Continuity is a relevant management discipline for all industry sectors and organisations. It’s not only useful for large corporations, SMEs can benefit from its application too. When building organisational resilience using Business Continuity, you first need to establish a Business Continuity Policy for your organisation. The policy should set out the strategy of the Business Continuity Programme, as well as identify and agree not only the definition and objectives for business continuity within your organisation, but also the scope of the programme too. After all, it may be unnecessary or unrealistic for certain products or services to be included in the programme.
When building a Business Continuity Programme, the first step is to undertake a thorough analysis of your organisation. This will provide the recommended business continuity requirements for your business. Next, solutions are determined in order to achieve the requirements identified in the analysis stage. This then results in having the relevant information to create a plan that will support your organisation when managing an incident.
Armed with this information, the creation of a Business Continuity Programme requires ongoing management that embeds business continuity into your organisation.
Communicating and building awareness around your business continuity programme is fundamental for ensuring you can develop and improve organisational resilience within your business. Training for employees that are involved in the management and delivery of the business continuity programme will help embed it into the organisation as a whole. Whilst awareness training will encourage business continuity to become a part of the values, attitudes and behaviours that make up the culture of your organisation. Thus securing the overall objective of making business continuity a part of ‘business as usual’ throughout your organisation.
If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that we need to be prepared to handle anything.
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