There’s no doubt that 2021 presented some serious challenges for the vast majority of people around the world. As we continued to battle through the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses were also faced with a host of other challenges, from cyber attacks and extreme weather events, to business interruptions due to staff shortages and disruptions to the supply chain.
After the challenges of 2020 and the continuing impact of the global pandemic, risk awareness and prevention has taken on a whole new level of significance for businesses everywhere.
It's not being dramatic to say that COVID-19 has consumed both our personal and professional lives. We've been thrust into a world of disruption without any real sense of how long it will take for things to get back to normal and furthermore, what normal will look like. Even for companies that had their business continuity plans developed, a pandemic like COVID-19 was not something many saw coming let alone prioritised protecting themselves from.
Organisations often think that managing crisis is just a matter of being prepared for the worst. While your preparations may cover known potential disruptions, in unprecedented times, it becomes clear that 'emergent' risks, or risks that are newly developing and therefore not understood, may not be accounted for in your plan. When these ambiguous 'emergent' risks surface, the organisations that can adapt and respond continually are more likely to win.
If recent events have shown us anything, it is how vulnerable organisations can be without the right planning in place to support their responsiveness, their resilience and the decisions they make during a time of crisis.
Whether it is a natural disaster like the recent bushfires, or the unknown like we've faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, there are things businesses can do to ensure they are best positioned to continue operations into the future.