WATERMARK
Risk Management International, LLC
 

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Focus72

Business and Government Continuity of Operations



When it comes to helping businesses and government agencies to prepare to respond to and recover from a major crisis, Watermark takes a refreshingly different approach compared to most companies. We call this approach Focus72TM. Focus72TM addresses the two critical components needed for any enterprise -- large or small -- to prepare itself for crisis response, recovery, and resumption of operations: continuity planning and leadership preparation. By focusing on the crucial first 72 hours of a crisis and by capitalizing on managerial development investments the enterprise has already made, this approach delivers leadership and staff tools ready to employ at roughly 25-30% of the time and cost of most business continuity programs.

The payoff of Focus72TM to senior leaders is the immediately increased preparedness from top to bottom of the enterprise to weather virtually any disaster with the greatest odds of rapidly resuming operations. These same principles and tools are equally useful to government agencies charged with developing Continuity of Operations (COOP) plans. While we understand and can apply standard detailed methodologies and processes, we believe that effective continuity planning and response need not entail the lengthy, extensive, and ultimately expensive process so commonly used.


By way of analogy, we believe that the challenges of continuity planning frequently mirror those of another organizational-wide effort: strategic planning.  Good strategic planning is critical and can be insightful to the organization's leadership.


The best strategic planning provides the right leaders and functional managers with training and advice on synthesizing their environment, goals, objectives, resources, and then allowing them to make decisions.  The most useful results of strategic planning are not coffee table-sized books, but leaders with the experience and knowledge, who understand the keys to successfully moving forward and can develop and implement the plan. Far too many well-intentioned strategic plans grind to a halt under the burden of the designed process and a belief that the plan is either too vulnerable to environmental changes or lacks organizational buy-in. Our consultation services in strategic planning avoid these issues, and we avoid them in continuity planning as well.


Continuity planning within Focus72TM minimizes the risk of a large investment of money and staff resources to produce a soon out-of-date plan that doesn’t really cover all the nearly endless range of possible crises scenarios. There is marginal value in an extensive Business Continuity Plan that is developed largely by outsiders and dropped on your desk. The more comprehensive the plan, the more out-of-date it is when it arrives or soon thereafter. We believe that the greatest value comes from preparing the executive team to better lead the response to a crisis immediately and for the key organizational functional managers to quickly develop an action plan within the first 72 hours to begin the process to return to normal operations.


Unlike other approaches, Focus72TM is designed to begin improving your ability to respond to crisis from the first week and we add to it incrementally throughout a three phased process that is tailored to where you are today in your business/government continuity of operations planning. In general, we can deliver an effective continuity planning and leadership crisis preparation program for a moderate-sized enterprise within 4 months.


In short, our approach centers on helping business and government leaders prepare their people to continue critical operations and helping business managers prepare business continuity and COOP plans to mitigate the damage and recover.

 

We’ve identified these commonly held “myth-perceptions” about good continuity planning:

  • It requires extensive analysis of potential threats.
  • It requires multiple response plans for the array of threats and/or vulnerabilities.
  • It is hard to do once and even harder to maintain.
  • Its cost greatly exceeds the likely return on investment.

 

As a result, we have developed these tenets of our approach to continuity of operations:

 

  • Company leaders need a short list of principles that will frame their style and decisions in virtually every emergency or crisis situation.
  • Subordinate leaders/staff must understand these principles to guide their decisions when information is sparse and demands are great.
  • Greatest value comes from focusing on surviving the first 72 hours and devising a well-thought out recovery plan for actual circumstances.
  • Line managers know their business and their people best; they can and will craft solutions to unexpected problems – they do it everyday.
  • Line managers will need to think more creatively and quickly in crisis – they can be prepared to do so with confidence.
  • Do not overemphasize the value of finding single points of failure – there will always be some. Invest instead on improving the performance of the single points of success in a crisis – your leadership!

Watermark offers a full range of business continuity and COOP services and capabilities within the Focus72TM family including:

 

  • Management business continuity plans.
  • Security and continuity plans.
  • Scenario development and planning.
  • Executive and response/recovery team training.
  • Exercises.
  • Red teaming of existing plans.
  • Development of a variety of crisis aids to include Executive Crisis Response books, quick response materials, employee crisis aids, checklists etc.

 


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