The ideas that generally drive Emergency Management and Business Continuity efforts are connected to events that can or have previously caused harm to our constituents or our business. The severity of an event and the perception of its severity both have influence on planning associated with the event. As preparedness and continuity professionals we all work in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) environment that presents unlimited challenges and limited resources. That arrangement forces us to prioritize. To be most effective, perhaps we need to more actively consider that our constituents (customers, patients, staff, business partners, and community partners) face the same environment but look at it through a very different lens. In the past it has been our practice to build our response and continuity plans around scenarios. Scenarios of fire, flood, tornado, hurricane, and earthquake live clearly in the thoughts of our constituents and customers, but tend to concentrate on the tactical aspects of response. Should we expand our approach to how we build, and test plans? Can our planning processes and plans benefit from separating how we consider the strategic and tactical domains?
Please remember that I believe that scenarios are absolutely necessary to create context for planning and to inform tactical response. My suggestion is that we can leverage years of great work with even greater effectiveness by planning strategically with the consequences in mind…and tactically with specifics of scenarios in mind. Sharing the details that allow us to relocate, evacuate, or reconstitute our operations across plans based on the consequence can be valuable if applied when and where appropriate. If we consider the strategic (consequence driven) and the tactical (event and consequence driven) as separate domains that converge during an incident when we build plans we may find opportunities to lighten the load and reduce the duplication of effort in both domains.
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