As BCM/DR professionals, we are always trying to improve ourselves and learn more about our profession and learn more to enhance and progress the profession (at least I hope you do). We take training courses, attend conferences, sign up for webinars and become members of various forums; we build networks and we learn new perspectives and information from academics. We take what we learn and see if there is anything we can utilize within our own programs to improve them or to utilize in a clients program development. We use the learning’s to kick start programs or figure out why our programs – and plans – seem to be stuck in the mud and not progressing. All of the possibilities can help us one way or another.
Academia – and scientific research – helps us learn the nitty-gritty and details of how to predict the direction of tsunamis, the
aftershocks of earthquakes and the path of volcanic ash when disasters strike. We also learn from our own experiences; experiences from trials and tribulations we’ve encountered over our careers. All this can be of benefit to us as professionals but is it beneficial to others?
Science can offer us a lot of information that can help us plan and prepare for the ‘unexpected’ but will, or rather does, science help the average person understand BCM/DR and Emergency Response? First let’s define what each means.
1 – Science: knowledge, as of facts or principles; knowledge gained by systematic study (Dictionary.com)
2 – Logic: the system and principles of reasoning used in a specific field of study (Dictionary.com)
Now that we understand the difference between the two, let’s look at each separately and how they come into play with BCM/DR/ERM; first, science.
Science is the investigation of how to do things and investigating the nuances of how to do it and get better results. It breaks items down to the component parts of DR/BCM/ERM components; a detailed investigative research on what, how, when, who and how things occur. It creates statistical analyses of various aspects of disasters, incidents and behaviours that can be used by professionals to develop plans, processes and programs.
Does science and all the statistical research it creates, actually help professionals when sitting in front of clients? It might help with arguments and helping to build a business case to get a program initiated but it doesn’t help the executive if you’re not speaking their language – and they’re the ones who’ll be making the decisions based on what they understand. If you’re quoting stats and other information, it may be well-received but it doesn’t capture the executive’s attention like it should. The stats have
to be communicated in a different way so as to spark the interest and ignite a passion within an executive to have them back your cause (of developing a BCM program/plan). Not changing your approach may get you into trouble down the line because the proper process wasn’t explained. Meaning, you can’t get from A to C without going through B.
This means that the professional can use science to help build the desire for plans and processes but it must be communicated in a
logical manner, not a scientific manner full of incomprehensible scientific gobbly-goop. No, I’m not stating that scientific information is gobbly-goop but I am saying that if this is communicated to others that aren’t scientists or understand the profession, it will come across as such.
If you use science as a scare tactic – when it can be used to help you – it only spreads paranoia and/or apathy and people may not
want to participate in the BCM program. It can also have a backlash. The scientific findings communicated in the wrong way can cause executives to fast-track development items and make decisions without having all the facts available. They would be making illogical decisions, based on scientific information communicated in a non-logical format. Makes sense?
You must know how to get from A to C and knowing that you can’t be really there if you haven’t gone through B first; that’s
logic. Science may help determine that you can get from A to C by skipping through to D and then working you way backwards. It’s all how a BCM/DR professional uses and logically communicates scientific information.
What we need to do as professionals is to ensure that we speak and act logically (and present logically) if we want others to understand our industry. A logical approach is an internal ‘knowing’ of how to utilize and communicate the key rationale of BCM/DR – the sciences of BCM/DR – in a way that others can comprehend. Logic keeps people focused – too much detail (the science) will turn people off. Too much science won’t help corporate leaders, as they don’t deal in science even if the BCM professional utilizes the science to build and guide their programs’ development. If the BCM professional uses too much
science, the executive won’t see the value of what’s needed. It won’t be logical to them. When a disaster occurs, science isn’t thought off; only logic is used (or panic if there’s no program or plan in place).
There is nothing wrong with leveraging the information that scientific investigations and research provide us but we can’t speak the same scientific language to others outside the profession. Using fancy words and terminology won’t provide warmth to those who aren’t in the industry; they want to know what part they play and they will think logically (for the most part). Sure, during a
disaster many people don’t respond logically but that’s down to human behaviours and that’s a subject all on its own. What people will want to know is what they should do when a disaster strikes; what’s their role, what should they expects in the communication chain and what actions should be taken as a result.
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by StoneRoad founder, A.Alex Fullick, MBCI, CBCP, CBRA, ITILv3