Technology at the wheel?

Long Server Room

Think again! So many companies these days think it’s a good idea to let technology get behind the wheel of business or business recovery. This is not going to move you forward. Business is about people and systems. If you happen to have a computer to help with one of those systems, fine, but don’t let that computer boss you around and don’t EVER start thinking that computer cares about you or your company. It doesn’t and it never will.

Likewise, there’s a strong trend to push business decisions on to the people who care for the computer. They are fantastic people and they help you get what you need. You may even get to feeling like they are indispensable because they are always saying things like, “We are working on that now”. Or they make your iPad work after you screamed at it and threatened to throw it out the window. Your tech team may be working miracles but they still can not run your business. Put them back in their car seat and get back to driving!

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10 Simple Planning Actions to Increase Your Consistency of Exceeding Customer Expectations

Fractal

Many executives ask themselves: “I know the basics about critical processes and mission-critical systems but what can I do to really make a difference in our ability to consistently exceed our customer’s expectations?”

 One way is to focus on increasing your business value and to sustain that value regardless of expected or unexpected circumstances. Below are 10 planning actions that you can take to support your mission critical value proposition.

10. Don’t be satisfied with a computer backup plan.  When your clients ask what’s the #1 reason they should use your company, do you say it’s your technology?  Probably not.  Why are you relying on technology to save you in a disaster?

9. Ask questions.  What are your employees doing in their personal lives for emergency readiness?  What are their concerns?  How can you help them?

8. Talk about operational risk and continuity management in business strategy meetings.  Talking is the first step to integrating it into the corporate culture.

7. Don’t count on vendors to pick up your slack in an emergency.  If it’s not written into your contract don’t put it in your plan.  Even then, always have a backup plan.

6. Know when to say there’s a problem.  Chances are you’re not going to be the one to first notice something is wrong.  If you are ignoring business deficiencies, others are too.

5. Know your emergency response plan.  Every natural hazard has a professional group that monitors it and knows how to respond.  The response plans are usually free online.  Get a good plan for the basic natural disasters in your area.  Keep it simple and your bases covered.

4. Don’t focus on the fear.  It’s easy to look at the unlimited disaster scenarios and get overwhelmed.  Instead look at what’s really important – a strong business plan.

3. Make a list of what is really important to your business.  Keep it short – not more than ten points (tops!).  Share it with everyone – your boss, your employees, your clients, your partners.

2. Build relationships with three key responders.  This could be your local police department or a critical vendor.  The point is being on a first name basis with the person who has the answers you’re going to need during your emergency.

1. Create a solid employee communications plan and test it quarterly or more often.  People are your greatest asset; know how to connect with them.  Set standards and make them clear.

Still unsure or need help developing a road map to make your path simple?  We’re here for you.  Call now for a free consultation.    888-297-PLAN


Operational Risk now OCC’s top concern

Operational risk has eclipsed credit risk as national banks’ chief safety and soundness challenge, Comptroller of Currency Thomas Curry told the Exchequer Club in Washington, D.C., last week.

Operational risk – the risk of loss due to failures of people, processes, systems and external events – is “high and increasing,” Curry said.  He cited flawed risk models, lack of adequate controls over third party vendors and anti-money laundering efficiencies as some examples of operational risk.

“[A]s banks and thrifts face greater resource constraints and higher compliance costs, they may feel greater pressure to economize on systems and processes in order to enhance their income and operating economies …,” Curry said. “All institutions … must resist the temptation to under-invest in the systems and controls they need to prevent greater risk and larger losses in the future.”

He emphasized the risk of operational failure is embedded in every activity and product – from a bank’s processing, accounting and information systems to the implementation of its credit risk management procedures.

“No issues look larger today than operational risk in all its dimensions, the manner in which all risks interact, and the importance of managing those risks in an integrated fashion across the entire enterprise,” Curry said. “These themes are a supervisory priority for us at the OCC today and they should similarly command the attention of the industry.”

reprinted from the Oklahoma Bankers Association Weekly Update, May 21, 2012


A Day without Business Event


It might be an auto repair shop washed away by a flood. A dentist’s office scorched by a fire. A dry cleaner hit by a tornado. A pet store frozen by an ice storm and power outage. There are lots of sorts of businesses, and lots of kinds of disasters, but one thing remains the same: businesses disrupted by disaster permanently close their doors at an alarming rate. In fact, according to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, one in four small businesses closed by a disaster never re-opens.

So, when the unthinkable happens, will you be prepared to lead your business through the crisis? Preparedness is the key! By creating a disaster recovery and business continuity plan, your business can increase its recovery capabilities dramatically. A plan can help you make the right decisions quickly, cut downtime, and minimize financial losses. It can even help you avoid certain disasters through planning and mitigation measures.

The prospect of creating and implementing such a plan can be daunting, but business leaders in Tulsa have a unique opportunity to get a head start on the process by attending A Day Without Business, a business continuity summit hosted by Tulsa Partners’ Disaster Resistant Business Council.

A Day Without Business will take place on Thursday, March 15, 2012 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn – City Center in downtown Tulsa. Registration is open through March 2, online at www.tulsapartners.org or by phone at 918-632-0044. The cost for the one-day event is $65, and space is limited.

The event’s opening speaker will be Tulsa Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mike Neal. The luncheon keynote speakers will be Rob O’Brian and Tonya Sprenkle, President and Vice President of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, who will share about their Chamber’s experience with the May 2011 Joplin Tornado.

The lead sponsors for A Day Without Business are Tulsa Partners’ Disaster Resistant Business Council, State Farm Insurance, TRC Disaster Solutions and Williams. Other participating organizations for the event include the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, Titan Data Services and the Tulsa Health Department.

For more information about A Day Without Business, contact Tulsa Partners at 918-632-0044, tulsapartners@gmail.com, or www.TulsaPartners.org.

Written by guest blogger Jessica Hill


Business Value Balance

Given that you agree with the recent post on every business having the same four core values . . . let’s continue our discussion.

Here’s a diagram for visualization: Business Value Balance.  Each operational value exists in a spectrum (generally from happiest to least happy).  Depending on the current score for each value on their respective spectrum, business is probably good.  Referring to the chart, you can see the business as the core, four-pointed star.  When the staff is happy, the customers are happy, the business is generally likable and its making a profit the business is sustainable.

There’s another star, too:  a red, eight-pointed star.  The eight-pointed star is the zone of risk tolerance. If you chart the scores of the four requirements for sustainability within the level of tolerance, it’s holding steady. If the level of value isn’t meeting or exceeding the least tolerable level, then its a problem.  Simple enough.  When one or more of the scores exceeds the level of tolerance, the business will naturally look for ways to move back toward a balance.

HERE’s THE CATCH: How the business finds its way to pull one score back to center could happen at the cost of another value.  And, if no one’s managing the balancing act, it will be at the cost of another value.  They’re all interrelated so they will all be effected.

If you don’t have plans to deal with keeping the four basic core values in balance, business ends up looking chaotic.  It is constantly in flux, always pulling and pushing at itself.  Costing the happiness of staff, the happiness of clients, likability and profit.  This diminishes sustainability and resilience.

Next blog: keeping the business values at the center of your continuity program.

What do you think?  Do you agree?  Disagree?  Case studies?