In my upcoming webinar, “Trends in Business Continuity: Recapping 2015 and Looking Ahead,” on January 27th, I will take a moment to look back at 2015 on the types of challenges that the continuity field experienced, and then gaze forward, contemplating what might be next. Once we know what we might likely face, I’ll explore eight ways to reimagine your program to meet the significant challenges ahead.
One those eight ways is Number Five…“Work Out.” No, I’m not discussing aerobics or yoga (although that couldn’t hurt), I’m talking about the importance of exercises. Practice (aka exercises) breeds familiarity and “muscle memory,” which should be (and could be) the real measure of competence or capability. The term “muscle memory” has been used synonymously with motor learning, which is a form of procedural memory involving the consolidation of a specific motor task into memory through repetition. When a movement is repeated over time, a long-term muscle memory is created for that task, eventually allowing it to be performed without conscious effort. That is what we want our teams to be able to do – perform their duties without conscious effort.
One of my favorite ways to get teams to this ‘without conscious effort’ state is to do what I call “ripped from the news” exercises. These are simple exercises that can be done every few months. They can be done with minimal planning and are great tools to build the teams’ muscle memory. Here’s how to do a “ripped from the news” exercise:
- Open any newspaper.
- Find a bad thing that happened that could be used as an exercise narrative (earthquake, shooting, flood, bomb, denial-of-service attack, etc.).
- Assemble your team.
- Spend an hour doing the following:
- Review the incident assessment process.
- Discuss your communication strategy.
- Develop an Incident Action Plan.
- Discuss the business continuity approach.
- Is that approach outlined in the plan? No? Add it!
This type of exercise is designed to help teams be prepared for the challenges ahead.
Join me at 12:30 PM on Wednesday, January 27th to hear how you can put new energy into your work in 2016. Reserve your spot here.