Charlie discusses what business continuity professionals can take away from the recent coronation of King Charles III and talks about how we can improve our business continuity responses.
Whether you are a republican, monarchist, or not really concerned either way, you cannot have missed the coronation. Most observers said the whole ceremony went off well, and so this week, I thought I would write about what we can learn from the occasion.
- It was unlikely that anyone who planned the last coronation was available to help plan this one, so the planners had to rely on documented procedures. Plans are important in business continuity and when the plans are implemented, the author may have long left the organisation.
- Practice makes perfect. If you want an event to go off without a hitch, you need to put in the time to practise. All those who took part had been practising for weeks, including the King. Most had mock-ups of the venues or the route, so that in the practices, those attending could visualise what they had to do. In business continuity, we need to keep practising and using the plans, procedures, and venue or video conferencing software we would use on the day of an incident, to help those responding visualise their response.
- The coronation plans included elements of 1000 year-old ceremonies, but the ceremonies and actions were updated for a 21st-century audience. As with business continuity, we can have plans, but they always need to be adapted to meet the requirements and the nuances of the incident we are facing. No incident plays out exactly as we expected it to do so.
- There will always be things that go wrong. I heard that one of the horses shied and hit a barrier. This was not seen on TV, as they concentrated on other elements. It is known that this often happens, and there is nothing you can really do to stop it, except getting rid of the unpredictability and not using horses. If we recognise that things in a business continuity response can go wrong, then we can be prepared to respond and recognise it as a small glitch in a wider successful response.
- Around the ceremony, there were national celebrations: the parade down the mall, the concert, and street parties. In a business continuity response, it is important to involve all those not directly affected by the incident, and make them feel part of it. A combined response with maximum involvement – even if it’s just keeping people up to date – helps the feeling that all are working towards the same end.
There is always something to learn from events!