Establishing Leadership, Management, and User Support

  • • The establishment of the change team should reflect critical members from the top down. The selection and identification of the leadership are critical to gaining the necessary senior-level support to include the leader-champion for the change initiative. The champion will support, defend, and go to war for the change - a true believer with the power to make a difference.
  • • The management of the change initiative depends on the selection of the right people to perform the actual project tasks - the managers make things happen. The managers help develop the change initiative project plans; this is where experienced project managers are of great value. While project managers are critical to the development of an efficient and effective project plan, a manager with an understanding of the dynamics of change management is crucial.
  • • Each organization will have an approach to the management of a project. Some have multiple managers performing separate functions that come together to produce the entire project. Some approaches will have a senior leader in charge of the project, with middle managers performing assigned tasks. Other approaches will have a middle manager as the project leader coordinating with the appropriate contacts to complete the tasks.
  • • Consider using a recognized standard or governmental regulation to support the project. Using a conventional approach consisting of best practices (i.e., a standard or a regulation) establishes credibility and confidence in the project.

Author's Note: Since the ISO 22301:2019 project is complicated and resource-intensive, it is critical to gain the right support for the success of the project. Multiple tasks require the involvement of senior leadership to develop the necessary foundation for the project. If possible, seek a believer in the project and not a senior leader in the chain of leadership that is forced to support the project. A proactive champion will help prevent problems from occurring.

Establishing a Connection between the Initiative and the Employees

  • • It is critical to establish a connection between the change initiative and the employees. If the employees see the value of the change and establish a connection on a self-interested level, it will become much easier to implement the change.
  • • Look for the small connections that might lead to more substantial connections. Consider the essential aspects of work, life, and personal development as beginning points to make a connection between the employees and the change initiative. Remember, each person is different, and the connections might also reflect the same differences.

Author's Note: It is imperative to establish a connection between the value of the business continuity project and program and the employees so that they embrace the potential for the organization and the organizational culture. Demonstrating the benefit and tangible value to the employees is one of the essential aspects of the project. It is not a waste of time or effort building a positive connection with the employees - they are the crux of success.

Effective Communication

  • • Effective communication is the most critical skill to possess in a long list of essential skills. The value of clear, concise language, both written and spoken, is critical to reaching an audience.
  • • Remember the necessary components of the communication dynamic (i.e., message sender, interference, and audience) and the goal of reducing the interference to enhance the chance the audience will understand the message. Some interference begins with the message because it is poorly written (i.e., poor grammar, poor word choice, unclear meaning, and weak conceptual foundation) or spoken. There is no value in using complicated language if it confuses people - concise sentences that are unfettered with jargon or highly technical words is the ideal approach.
  • • Learn about the members of the audience to ensure the proper level of language. Changing the message to match the audience is an excellent way to increase the reception of the message. A well-educated audience of technical experts or academicians will not balk at more advanced relevant language, but an audience of lay-people that does not possess the expertise of the topic is a different matter; keep it simple and direct.
  • • While language and format are essential to the audience receiving the message as intended, the intent and the interpersonal underpinnings of the message are often hidden issues that determine the outcome of the message. Audiences are in tune with the non-verbal aspects of the communicator. How the message is spoken is the unhidden complexity that communicators forget.

The sincerity and honesty of the message is the crux of the issue. An audience will know if the speaker is insincere. Acknowledge mistakes that have been made and answer questions with honesty. It is better to say that an answer is unknown instead of trying to think of a quick response that is ill-formed.

Author's Note: Communication should be viewed as necessary throughout the entire business continuity project. Most projects will suffer from poor communication because there are insufficient messages or meetings, and the information is not presented at the right level of focus. It is advisable to use a variety of methods to communicate vital messages to the organization. Remember, modern organizations consist of employees from baby boomers to generations X, Y, Z, and millennials; each group prefers a different method of communication. Some will like handouts, some will like electronic messages (e.g., email or videos), and some will prefer instant messaging formats (i.e., tweets) to learn about a project.

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