If you follow the CIR magazine’s annual Business Continuity Awards and the one for Business Continuity Consultant of the Year in particular, the following may be familiar to you. The factors considered by the judges include “the use of creative ideas to resolve problems, innovation in the actual techniques used, the instigation of a business continuity culture in all the organisations worked with, the strengthening of relations between service suppliers, insurers and business continuity professionals, and strong ideas on future developments in business continuity planning.” What is conspicuous by its absence is a criterion concerning the level of success in making business continuity work.
To be fair, the Business Continuity Awards include other categories such as “Most Effective Recovery of the Year”; and just because business recovery success isn’t explicitly mentioned in other categories doesn’t mean that the judges don’t pay attention to it. However, it’s still an indication of priorities. Yes, business continuity consultants can use creativity, innovation and predictions about future developments: the business world is changing all the time, and business continuity requirements with it. But to use a broader analogy, they can also use continuity capitalism, where what counts are the results, and innovation is just one tool among others for getting those results.
Similarly, the instigation of a business continuity culture may be a praiseworthy goal, but depends on how you define it. If a business culture can be defined as “the way we do things round here”, then business continuity culture in this sense has a good chance of bringing practical benefits. On the other hand, business continuity culture as an attitude only goes halfway: you still need to see the results at the other end. Still, it’s easy to criticise and any organisation that contributes to positively promoting the image of business continuity deserves thanks. Business continuity consultants who feel they’re stronger on results than innovation can also still take heart. There’s also a Lifetime Achievement award for those who have the patience to wait that long.