Monday, 16 December 2013

Making Waves: Professional Development in BCM

At what point in your development do you move from the proverbial nodding dog in meetings to providing a solid and valuable BC contribution? By which I mean driving forward BC-related solutions independently or perhaps even challenging the view or approach of a senior professional, particularly if you believe there to be a better idea out there.

More importantly, how can you guarantee that your knowledge thus far is significant enough to play with the grown-ups? I’ve often sat in awe of some professionals and how they arrive at some ideas before I’ve even poured my coffee. In contrast however I occasionally arrive at the solution before my seniors but then immediately dismiss the thought as invalid because “they would have thought of that by now if it was any good”.

Now this may well apply to virtually all professions but I’m considering it from a BC perspective and it’s a real conundrum of mine.
Are there any definitive points, milestones or any other experiential indicators that a junior BC professional can use to gauge their knowledge and ability, short of taking the BCI examination?

To illustrate my point here’s an example...

As I sit quietly on a conference call one day with a senior project manager, two other business continuity professionals and an executive, I couldn’t help but feel just a little off the pace. As pertinent and valuable points were being made one after the other without my involvement, I was suffering with two critical questions on repeat in my mind:

1. Good Point - Why didn’t I think of that?

2. I thought of that weeks ago - So why didn’t I bring it up?

This example has occurred to me on more than one occasion in the past and it can become quite frustrating. So for those in the BC world who have perhaps had similar experiences please do not fear. After discussing this with a number of my peers, my mentor and other close friends I have arrived at some positive thoughts and advice that I’d like to share.

The Experience Card:

The BC professionals on my call were vastly more experienced than me and were more likely to have had the same conversation maybe three or four times in different walks of life so could easily pull something useful out the bag when put on the spot. This might seem like normal logic to some people but this realisation gave me great faith for my long term development and that one day I would be in the same position. Hindsight is a wonderful thing!

Go Sailing:
I was once told when learning to sail that you have to overcome your fear of falling in and getting wet if you ever want to master your skill! If you don’t accept the reality that sometimes you will almost certainly fall in then you won’t take the risks, push your limits and ultimately get better...I believe the same rule applies in a career in business continuity management.

I have often fell in to the habit of playing it safe and keeping my mouth shut unless I’m absolutely certain about what I’m about to say. As mentioned in a previous post, the BC role requires some degree of “poker face” and the less I said the more likely people would assume I was totally capable. In reality it was the fear for looking stupid or getting it wrong.

The essential thing to remember here is simple... go sailing, Step out of your silent comfort zone and occasionally sail against winds of (apparent) BC experience and see where it leads you. But more importantly accept that sometimes you will fall will get it wrong, make a mistake, and perhaps even occasionally look foolish.

A colleague of mine working in a high pressure BC role for a retail bank in the UK once told me:

“Every now and again in this industry you are going to step on a landmine it happens to everyone”

I will now make every effort to bring what ideas I have to the table at the time when they occur to me!

1 comment:

  1. I actually believe that lack of experience sometimes is underrated. With the rapid changes of today's business environment it's crucial to continually find new and better solutions to all sorts of problems. With experience you also get habits and those habits might prevent you from thinking freely and find such new solutions. This is of course a generalisation but still this is something that I feel is very much overlooked when we discuss the value of experience.