Art of Essentialism in BCM – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Michael Herrera

Managing an enterprise BCM program requires BCM Practitioners to address many program initiatives and tasks that must must seamlessly work together.  I liken BCM programs to a watch with many moving parts;  some critical and others not so critical to its operation and ability to provide accurate time.

In today’s high pressure environment, we see BCM Practitioners being overrun with not only managing the program daily but dealing with external influences (e.g, audit requests, questionnaires, etc.) that take up their time.  Yet, many BCM Practitioners continue to attempt to work on everything at once in an effort to maximize productivity but end up actually producing less and making more mistakes.   Are you and your team experiencing any of these symptoms:

  1. Are you and your BCM team stretched too thin?
  2. Do you simultaneously feel overworked and underutilized?
  3. Are you often busy but not productive?
  4. Do you feel like your time is constantly being hijacked by other people’s agendas?
  5. If you answered yes to any of these, the way out is the Way of the Essentialist.

I have learned from being a BCM practitioner and now running multiple BCM related companies that to be successful you must be mindful;  and more importantly,  be an essentialist in order to not get more done in less time but get the right things done that make the most difference.  A member of my Board of Directors had me create a list of everything I was doing and / or  felt I needed  to do in managing our companies.  The list was exhaustive and made it clear how scattered my efforts were and were not focused on the essential tasks that bring the greatest return on investment to me and our organizations.  Eliminating unnecessary tasks was not easy; it required me to train others to take tasks, hire where possible, outsource to external parties, forget about some and most importantly, trust that the minimum set of tasks was what I needed to do.

 So, how do we apply this to our BCM teams and our programs?  

  1. List all of the tasks you and your team members perform.
  2. Inventory all of the program initiatives (Policy, Plans, Strategies, Audits, BIAs, etc.)  you are working on currently.
  3. Starting with your team member list of tasks, review the list and categorize them by essential and non-essential by looking at tasks permit you to make the highest possible contribution.  Determine what to do with the non-essential tasks (e.g., eliminate, transfer, outsource, etc.).
  4. Based on your review of you program initiatives, which ones provide the greatest return on compliance, resiliency and maturity?  Which ones are window dressing?
  5. Revise the tasks you and your team members will perform based on what is essential and brings the highest possible contribution.
  6. Generate a program roadmap with the most essential initiatives that will heighten the sophistication and maturity of your program.

Essentialism is systematic discipline for identifying what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so we can make the highest possible contribution towards the things that really matter.  By applying a more selective criteria for what is Essential, the disciplined pursuit of less empowers us to reclaim control of our own choices about where to spend our precious time and energy to bring about the highest possible contribution to our team and organization.

About
Michael Herrera is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MHA. In his role, Michael provides global leadership to the entire set of industry practices and horizontal capabilities within MHA. Under his leadership, MHA has become a leading provider of Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery services to organizations on a global level. He is also the founder of BCMMETRICS, a leading cloud based tool designed to assess business continuity compliance and residual risk. Michael is a well-known and sought after speaker on Business Continuity issues at local and national contingency planner chapter meetings and conferences. Prior to founding MHA, he was a Regional VP for Bank of America, where he was responsible for Business Continuity across the southwest region.