Tuesday, 26 June 2012

When controls fail, will [risk] culture save your organisation?

Lee Glendon CBCI
The Institute of Risk Management is taking a brave step into an uncertain and very fuzzy area – understanding and influencing risk culture.   A six month project bringing together experts in organisational behaviour, culture and sociology presented a progress report last week to an audience of risk practitioners and stakeholders including the BCI.

The rationale for the project, which intends to publish a paper this October, is quite simple:  a successful Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) programme requires at least an understanding of an organisation’s risk culture, and ideally the tools to influence it.
The authors recognise this paper is not likely to be the last word on risk culture.  But it’s a coherent and valuable body of work, which is very much focused on practical guidance and not just theory. 
The objective of the project is to provide practitioners with insight and tools to do one or more of the following:
1)      Understand the existing risk culture and make risk management work as best as possible within this culture

2)      Change the risk culture

3)      Determine what kind of risk culture would make the organisation more successful

Culture is being defined as the values, beliefs, ethos, knowledge and understanding shared by a group of people with a common purpose.  Risk culture is seen as a subset of a “generic” culture.
The project is considering a number of diagnostic tools to help understand risk culture.   One essential tool, appropriately named the ABC model, asserts that while [risk] culture is hard to change in itself, if you understand that behaviour drives [risk] culture and attitudes in turn drive behaviour then you can start to understand, influence and control attitudes, with beneficial outcomes in [risk] culture.
One contributor made the contrast between the ethics of care and the ethics of obedience, which essentially showed that people care less at work than at home because of the need for obedience while at work.  To illustrate this point, an example was given of a large organisation that had 34,000 rules (imagine the poor folk who had the job of counting them!).
A rather liberating perspective was expressed when one person noted that risk management won’t avoid another banking system failure by creating more processes or building controls for the last crisis, instead resilience would be achieved through an effective risk culture.  When controls fail, you will be reliant on the risk culture of your organisation.
Naturally, as with modern risk thinking, there is an upside and downside perspective to risk culture.  Practitioners need to ask whether culture stops the organisation from doing things better.  For example, one test of culture is how long it takes to do something in an organisation compared with the need or requirement.  It was suggested that an understanding of the social activities (culture) is needed alongside a good technical competency in order for a project to be successful.
In summary, the work from the IRM is going to be a very useful input to our own work on organisational resilience and the role of culture in achieving it.  The paper from the IRM will be out for consultation between 20th July and 10th August – and BCI members are invited to respond (look out for notices in the BCI eBulletin).  The final paper is expected to be published in October 2012.

Reflective Learning and the BCI's CPD Programme

Donna Monkhouse, Your BCI Eye
The BCI’s CPD programme is based on Reflective Learning, which is considered to be best practice in Continuing Education. 

But what exactly do we mean by Reflective Learning? Most CPD programmes are based on points that are accumulated through attendance at specified events.  However, at the BCI we recognised that this approach cannot and does not work for a global organisation with membership in over 100 countries.  More importantly, we believe that the practice of Reflective Learning is the only way to ensure that CPD adds real, measurable value in terms of professional development.

Reflective Learning describes the process of learning from start to finish, including a period of reflection where the learner is required to recapitulate or ‘reflect’ on their learning experience and record in writing what they have learned, including how they will apply this new knowledge within their current role and beyond. 

Having a CPD programme that is based on hours spent in reflective learning provides a much more flexible platform for learning opportunities.  Reflective learning can include a wide range of learning activities from reading a published report or article in Continuity, to attending a workshop to researching a paper for publication.  The sky is the limit as long as you reflect! 

By focussing of what you have learned rather than simply ticking a box for attendance, you will be better able to plan any future professional development.  It also helps you to recognise the value of any learning undertaken and enables better assimilation of new-found knowledge.  

Although, on ‘first reflection’ Reflective Learning within CPD may seem like a time consuming and unfamiliar method, once started it is a quick process that adds significant value to your learning and helps to provide an indispensable record going forward.

CPD Instructional Webinar

Why not take a look at the BCI's  CPD Instructional Webinar and find out more about the CPD programme the BCI has to offer business continuity professionals.   Please note that the BCI’s CPD Programme is a Membership benefit available to Statutory members , so if you are not yet a member of the BCI, why not consider joining us and benefit from a wide range of other value add benefits. 

If you still have some questions about the CPD Programme or BCI Membership or would like to register for the programme, contact our Membership Manager, Helen Simm Helen.simm@thebci.org

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

How to avoid claims on your Professional Liability Insurance - Hints and Tips provided by Towergate Professional Risks

If a client should try to sue you, professional liability insurance will help protect you, however, most people prefer to try and avoid a claim altogether.  If you had to defend a compensation claim from a client, insurance would take care of the costs, but the process would also be very time-consuming and stressful, so avoiding the claim in the first place is usually the best for all concerned.

These quick and easy tips could help you minimise your risks and even avoid any claims: