plug was placed into the British socket,
and the power switch was flipped. The
British standard power supply flowed
from the wall and into the U.S. projector.
Bang! That was the end of that.
This was my birth of fire into the world
of standards. As our nations never got over
the need for proprietary supply levels,
sockets and plugs, millions of dollars and
pounds have been spent over the years
developing two different variations of
most electrical products to meet the needs
of the U.S. and U.K. markets.
Only last week I heard of the dilemma
faced by the U.S. and Great Britain in
that new British war planes were not
standardized to operate on U.S. carriers in the Mediterranean. How
could that happen?
Ultimately laptop providers, for example,
have created devices
that flex the power
on whether you
are in the U.K.
or U.S., but lots
of finance could
have been saved
and stress averted
if we could simply
agree on the best way
forward and comply
with an agreed international standard. We may still be
at odds over electrical supply and plugs,
but risk and resilience are now approaching the international crossroad in the
industry which will result in an international standard for the first time ever to
ensure we all save money and energy by
working in a common way in the future.
We all see the world through different
lenses based on our own lifetime experiences, and as that is the case unless someone takes the time to document and tell
or advise us on the best way forward to
approach a problem, this vacuum will usually be filled by our human desire to invent
a way forward if one does not exist or
maybe does and yet needs further refinement or improvement.
A key point to note in that last sentence
is if we are “told” or “advised” to do something as I would suggest this is why stan-
dards are not always taken up. Consider
the example of the recent introduction
of FEMA’s PS-PREP in the U.S. If not
“told,” will people comply with this new
U.S. initiative to get small and medium
enterprises (SMEs) to plan for potential
disaster? We all agree there is a need to do
this, but when these SMEs have mortgages
to pay and family responsibilities, especially in this climate, will people put focus
into the need to plan for disasters that in
their view “may never happen to them?”
As business continuity management
(BCM) practitioners we understand the benefits
they will get from developing a basic plan,
but there has to be obvious incentives or
pressures applied to get people involved.
If people can get away with something
that will get in their way, they will usually
consider the quickest and least resistant
path. It’s a little bit like water. Unless we
define the path and block the alternatives
some people will drift and invest in their
own way of working if they can get away
This has been a fundamental problem
in the risk and business resilience industry
for many years.
The round design or process of movement with a round wheel is the right way
to go only if it meets your interpretation of
what it is to “work” correctly.
ANSI/NFPA 1600 and BS25999, for
example, are a nation’s view and the
emergence of ISO 22301 will be an international view that all nations can suggest
they have a stake in which will then hopefully lead to many new applications for the
underlying standard that are not so obvious as it is being developed.
ISO 22301 – using Plan Do Check Act
(PDCA) – references back to the original
ISO quality standards. It all relates!
Imagine, for example, having the ability to develop a business continuity plan
in a standard format that is consistent with all other nations and
companies. This common
practice then opens up
opportunities to share
data and report
each other much
faster and more
Going back to
the wheel analogy,
What are you trying to
do? Move forward, or move
forward with smooth motion
and no turbulence?
If they are critical to the success of
the design, then the approach agreed to do
the right thing is the one that gets as close
to those needs as possible. The question
for ISO is what is the right thing?
PDCA Cycle Applied to BCMS
Because it was agreed that “round” was
the best shape and gave the best results
to help move the cart forward, the round
shape was agreed to be the standard design
which most subscribed to at that time. The
news was passed by word of mouth to
others to take up this best practice or way
of improving the need to move goods or
people around, and the cart was born.
Forgive me for simplifying this, but
sometimes the simple answers are the best.
Why did this then evolve over the years
from stone, to wood, and then ultimately
into the rubber, functional based thread
designs which we now have today?