Edward Borodzicz believes it is vital for businesses in the region to plan for every possible emergency. The director of the International Centre for Business Resilience at the Abu Dhabi University Knowledge Group discusses how to do this.
What exactly is business resilience?
Business resilience is the ability of an organisation to be able to deal with failures, either internally or externally, while maintaining the ability to carry out its core function or service. In even simpler terms, it's the ability of organisations to withstand whatever threats life throws at them.
Why is it important for executives to think about this field?
Our cost, lives and the viability of organisations can be put at serious risk, as was the case with volcanic ash [that cancelled numerous flights] last summer. Executives must increasingly consider their responsibility and duty of care to maintain the safety and well-being of staff.
And if they don't?
Failure to do this could lead to prosecution, legal action, loss of services and potentially even the destruction of the organisation. At a national level, ensuring that most businesses can operate under difficult circumstances should they arise also means the nation is better protected.
It seems like companies could plan for a long list of disasters. Where do large businesses start in creating a business resilience plan?
Yes, of course the list of possible threats is almost unlimited, but the best way to develop resilience is to put together a crisis team [that can respond immediately].
What should businesses keep in mind when putting together a crisis team?
Crisis management will require people with special skills and abilities who are equipped to deal with such events.
Sounds like it could be a costly endeavour. Where do smaller businesses in this region begin to implement a plan?
Crisis management need not be costly. It is something most organisations can do for themselves with very little help from [the] outside. [They need] the ability to run a series of small-scale training sessions, [which] can build up the ability of the crisis team to deal with events and issues more effectively.
What else might small firms have to consider that big businesses don't have to?
Small firms are actually at an advantage in this area. Since they are smaller, their internal communications are often better structured [for building a crisis management team].