Business Continuity — Operational Resilience

There has been a slow, yet enduring shift across society and culture that focuses on people, their wellbeing, and their ability to thrive. Inevitably, this has driven the vision and strategy of the most successful businesses towards People First.

People First is a principle that begins and permeates at all levels. This is most readily seen in operational and business posture-as-normal: an associate and customer-centric experience that embraces day-to-day health and prosperity.

Classically, business continuity has closely supported critical functions across enterprises through a micro-level, industry-standardized, and cause-and-effect approach.

As People First demanded an increasingly capable capacity to mitigate, respond to, and recover from exceptional circumstances, classical models began to underperform.

Business continuity’s micro-level approach captured critical functions but lacked macro organizational buy-in and led to static, incomplete, and under leveraged plans. Heavy reliance on industry standards led to the same continuity models for energy providers as for retail, for hospitality as for pharmaceutical, for NGOs as for private enterprises. The Cause-and-effect approach led to a focus on specific applications, services, and incidents, with little ability to flex in real-time.

Business Continuity accomplished its immediate goals without understanding the criticality of its mission

What People First showed us was that all organizations are complex adaptive systems. They are ecosystems that evolve and desire constant nurturing. Similarly, Business Continuity was pushed to evolve and take a role in its own system: Operational Resilience.

Operational Resilience focuses equally on the macro: the vision and strategy of the enterprise, the physical and cyber infrastructure, and the cross-functional relationships.

The focus on vision and strategy means organizational buy-in and operational alignment. Understanding of the infrastructure as a whole leads to cohesive resilience. Cross-functional relationships drive flexibility in response, real-time adjustments in recovery, and mitigated impacts just from dialing the phone to a familiar colleague.

Of course, as part of a complex adaptive system, Operational Resilience means different things to different industries and subject matter experts. Inclusive of Emergency Management, Crisis Management, Disaster Recovery, Intelligence, Global Security, and sometimes many more, each play a symbiotic role to the other.

In an ideal system, Operational Resilience, strategically aligned and mission-driven, does not necessitate perfect mitigation and response every single time — it does provide a:

Safe platform for innovation, failure, and camaraderie, leading to the long-term recursive resilience and prosperity of our people, operations, business, and reputation.