Do you find that the business continuity budget is continually the low-hanging fruit when it comes to budget review time? Are you asking for more budget but getting ignored, or maybe you’re just unsure how to ask?
Then keep reading to explore four key steps to getting the budget you deserve!
I also invite you to check out our Executive Support Amplifier. It’s the complete guide to building executive support, and I know it’ll have a big impact on your organization.
The first step is to start with is a clear purpose. Now, the purpose of the business continuity program may be clear to you, but is it crystal clear to your executives? We have found that executives need extreme clarity about what you’re trying to achieve with business continuity, and it needs to be more concrete than “increase the resiliency of the business”.
So when you’re talking to executives about the purpose of the business continuity program, always talk in products and services. It’s a language executives understand and it enables them to participate in the conversation in a meaningful way.
- What are the products and services that you are trying to protect?
- What are the downtime tolerances for each?
Get Great Metrics
The second thing is to get great metrics. So, when you’re talking about budget and resources, ideally you should be able to tie that back to a metric. Now the challenge here is that too many programs really struggle with metrics and they don’t have great ones, so it’s very difficult to tie your increased budget request to a particular metric outcome. However, the key to resolve this issue is to build metrics that are tied to the products and services that I mentioned in step one. As you identify the products and services that are critical to the organization, you should tie metrics to them to expose recovery gaps for each and tie that back to the budget request. That’s what will drive action on the executives’ part.
Drive to a Decision
The third step is to drive to a decision. It is essential to use your steering committee and executive groups to ask for a decision. Ultimately, it’s very easy to defer making a decision, but make clear that even a decision to do nothing is a decision (and, that’s a decision you’ve got to be okay with!). So, how do you effectively drive to a decision? Ask great questions!
Ask Great Questions
Simply asking, “Are you ready to decide?” won’t get you where you need to be. If your executive team is stuck or won’t give you what you need, start asking probing questions to move the process forward. The key questions I always use are:
- Who is the decision-maker?
- What other information do you need to decide?
- Are you clear on the options available?
- What’s holding you back from saying yes?
Understanding and listening to how the executives answer these questions will be the key to unlocking how you can move the program forward and get the resources that you really need.
A common myth among business continuity practitioners is that the size of your budget is equivalent to the level of support that exists in the organization for the program.
I want to help clear this up because, in most cases, that’s just not the case. Why? Because for executives, what they spend does not equal what they support; what they spend equals their risk tolerance.
So, recognize that when your executives are saying “no” to a particular resource or a recovery strategy, what they’re really saying is “we want to tolerate that risk instead of paying to address it”. Thinking about risk tolerance from the perspective of what you’re executives are willing to pay for, will help you get clear about risk tolerance.
The four keys to getting the business continuity budget you deserve, are:
- Be Clear About the Purpose: Talk and products and services
- Get Great Metrics: Align your metrics to products and services
- Drive to a Decision: Force a decision – even if the decision is to “do nothing”
- Ask Questions: My favorite is, “What is holding you back from saying yes?”
At the end of the day, you will get the budget that you deserve and become better aligned with executives about risk tolerance.
If you’re looking for even more help in amplifying the level of support that you get from executives, click here to download our Executive Support Amplifier. It’s the complete guide to building executive support for your business continuity program.
Connect With Our Team
We help companies around the world build strong business continuity programs.
If you’re ready to get hands-on help to quickly get results, please book a strategy session with a member of my team today to:
- Discuss your program goals
- Explore your current challenges
- Discuss how to achieve your goals
Are you ready? Book a meeting here.