How to Find a Business Continuity (BC) Mentor if You’re in a Small Company

Finding a mentor is a challenge at the best of times. Finding a business continuity mentor when you’re in a small company is even harder. This post will help you get started.

I’ll begin by congratulating you on realizing that while you may want to “go it alone” and set the world on fire, it is probably the least effective career move that you can make.

Your position in an organization—whether it is a mega-corporation or a smaller company—usually requires interaction on your part with colleagues and extended contacts you may have developed.

Going forward, you will need to expand this circle to include subject matter experts who can advise you on how you might go about getting to the position or responsibilities you wish to assume. I prefer to refer to these advisors as “career coaches”.

As your “confidant” list served you well thus far, (in retrospect, these advisors came from various backgrounds and experience) you must now add career specific “coaches” to point you to business continuity (BC) practices and procedures.

With business continuity being such a broad venture, it would also be wise to seek out a number of professionals, a couple of different business continuity mentors with broad and varied backgrounds and experience to help you better understand the entire process.

Business continuity involves three major areas: 1. Continuity of business operations; 2. Uptime of all related information technology hardware and software; and 3. Crisis management plans to help avoid major impacts due to unforeseen incidents.

  1. Your search for a career coach in business operations continuity should involve trying to get a solid understanding of how a department / process contributes to the overall business of your company. While the COO (Chief Operations Officer) would be an excellent advisor in this area, your manager may guide you (or refer you) to a senior subject matter expert to help you on your way.
  1. Information technology is inter-twined in every business process and supports the most critical applications and processes in your organization. The coach you seek could be a business analyst or liaison with your IT department. This person may or may not be familiar with both the software or hardware used in a department, but will lead you to the IT staff able to answer your questions.
  1. Crisis management plans involve the Facilities Department, Security, Ground Transportation, Aviation, Insurance and other departments that would be involved in a serious disruption of normal business operations. A senior member of the Facilities Department understands the ramifications of an outage on any one of the locations or departments within these areas. A senior member in this area can assist you in understanding the impact of a facility outage.

The positions identified here may not necessarily involve separate individuals in a small company but there are DEFINITELY administrators in your company performing these functions. You may ask and find someone who has experienced an incident and can help craft a solid business continuity program.

In the sad event that business continuity issues are not being addressed in your organization—no matter how small—it is your responsibility to raise these issues to senior management for the continued viability of your organization.

Besides internal resources, there are many external sources of information to help you understand the nuances of business continuity, IT disaster recovery and crisis management. Searching the DRII and BCI websites will provide a wealth of information.

Strategic BCP Consultants are also available to answer any questions or to act as a business continuity mentor.

Who did you find to be the most helpful when you were first learning about business continuity and disaster recovery? Was it hard or easy to find a mentor? Let us know in the comments below. Bookmark or share for future reference.

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