Banks in Ukraine with offices in and around Kiev’s Majdan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square or “the Maidan”) are well aware of the likelihood and impact of civil unrest (0:52 YouTube) that occurred there in February. Many large, public gatherings take place in its expansive, symbolic plaza in the commercial center of the city. Déjà vu: Ukraine’s Orange Revolution in 2004 featured the same combatants having the same conflict over the same issues in the same place.
It’s easy to imagine the current protests in Bangkok, which started about the same time, ending in similar violence or a change of government, as they did in Ukraine last month.
There are three (3) bank head offices and ten (10) branches in this panoramic view of Kiev’s Majdan. Branches of Nadra Bank and Raiffeisen Bank Aval in the Trade Union Building (smoke-blackened building in upper right quadrant) were burned. Photo from http://zyalt.livejournal.com/1004656.html by Ilya Varlamov. Labelling by Artem Rumiantsev.
My colleague Artem Rumiantsev, BCM Project Manager at a European multinational bank in Kiev, sent me his notes about the business impact of events between 18 and 21 February last week, “the most stressful days of riot.” I have supplemented his notes with comments translated to English – and many high-definition photos – from Ilya Varlamov’s LiveJournal. Read more... (1404 words, 5 images, estimated 5:37 mins reading time)
I received this email (right) from the CEO of U.S. retailer Target Corp. (“Expect more. Pay less.”) in January. Target sent it to 70 million past and present customers. I thought it was a scam or spam because I haven’t had a Target account for 20 years. My son got the same message, and he discovered it wasn’t a scam: http://read.bi/LtorDk
Background: Hackers stole card numbers and personal information of maybe 100 million Target store customers (not online shoppers) in a two-week rip-off during the year’s busiest shopping season. New York Times http://nyti.ms/1dEqI8E
Timeline of Target’s “data breach” http://strib.mn/1jsB2lL
I was in Minnesota on 19 December when the theft was announced (Target is headquartered there) and have watched the company’s crisis communication since then. I.T. professionals will know more than I about lapses in Target’s information security, but I think the company’s crisis communication has been remarkably well-organized. Read more... (763 words, 2 images, estimated 3:03 mins reading time)
- Once you know it’s real, the letter is simple and clear. The CEO is apologetic, offers a remedy and a Target website to go to get more information.
- His email has the company’s logo but no other graphics, and the links in his message are in plain text, not HTML. Someone in Target’s Guest Relations or Press Relations understands the basics of email security.
A violent robbery in Malaysia highlights the importance of having a trained peer support team
An employee of Malaysia’s AmBank, 37-year old Norazita bte Abu Talib, was shot and killed by the bank’s own security guard as she opened the vault at a branch in Kuala Lumpur last Thursday evening (24 October 2013).
The murder and robbery were captured on the bank’s closed circuit monitoring system; a segment of the video was released without authorization and posted on YouTube.
What was the bank’s crisis response to the incident?
According to an AmBank employee who spoke without authorization:
- The bank’s Crisis Management Team (CMT) was activated as soon as emergency response was triggered. Escalation to the CMT occurred almost immediately after the Police were informed.
- The branch was closed for two (2) days while the Police investigated the crime scene.
- Other branch employees who witnessed the shooting were offered counseling.
- A management representative was assigned to the family.
- The bank’s General Managing Director sent email to all employees [about 12,000 nationwide] “to manage, console and update on what would be done and how we should align our expectations the way forward.”
From that information, I’d say the bank’s response was competent. Read more... (782 words, 2 images, estimated 3:08 mins reading time)
For preparedness messages, as in stand-up comedy, timing is everything.
After thousands of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) like “preparedness for individuals” (in English and in Spanish), “preparedness for business” and “preparedness for New York City,” and websites like Ready.gov, only 6% of Americans have done any preparation at all, and just 17% say they’re ”very prepared” for disasters. You might conclude, as the authors of this article did, that The Preparedness Message Isn’t Reaching the Public (from the November 2012 issue of EmergencyMgmt magazine).
PSA’s do reach lots of people, of course, but they don’t seem to motivate people to prepare. Why?
No one is motivated by gory pictures or finger-wagging lectures from public figures. I know I’m not – and I’m generally receptive to preparation messages because I make my living spreading them. In fact, images of leaking nuclear power plants, collapsed houses, flooded villages, even distraught victims don’t motivate us; they overwhelm us. ‘Well, it’s hopeless’, we think to ourselves, or ‘I can’t do anything about it anyway.’
Yet thousands of people all over the world donate generously to relief efforts for people they’ve never met in other countries- in Haiti, in Japan, in Indonesia – out of desire to help after a disaster. They won’t prepare themselves in advance, but they’ll willingly help others afterward. Read more... (1176 words, 3 images, estimated 4:42 mins reading time)
To stop annual fires that threaten the health of millions of people in Southeast Asia, separate the science of location from the politics of responsibility
A few months ago smoke from illegal burning in Indonesia represented an immediate danger to life and health in Singapore, where I live. On Friday June 21, “haze” originating in Indonesia caused Singapore’s Pollutants Standard Index (PSI) to peg the meter at 401, an airborne contamination level at which it is not only hazardous, but genuinely difficult, to breathe.
I think life-threatening haze from illegal fires fits into any broad definition of the word “disaster.” Haze reaches Singapore most years in the dry season when land in Indonesia is cleared for farming, but the consequences hadn’t been so miserable since the “large-scale air quality disaster” of 1997. There is no reason to expect it will stop until its perpetrators (by whom I mean landowners of palm and pulpwood concessions, not just the farmers who do their bidding) are stopped. Resilience professionals – emergency managers, business continuity managers, risk managers, crisis managers, security managers – could help.
As a downwind resident and as a resilience professional, I really want to know exactly where the burning plot is located so someone can figure out who owns it and who is responsible for burning it illegally. Helpless in the haze, Singapore government agencies pressed officials in Indonesia to make their land-ownership maps public specifically for those purposes. Read more... (970 words, 3 images, estimated 3:53 mins reading time)
I recently found this two-page sheet of emergency procedures
for Chevron House
, an office building in Singapore’s Raffles Place
. Chevron House has for many years had biometric fin
gerprint readers for access control, the only building in Singapore at which I’ve seen them. They must take security and emergency preparation seriously. I’m glad the property manager thought it worthwhile to create instructions for tenants (a visitor wouldn’t be answering a bomb threat call).
If you were designing something similar for your workplace, I’d suggest these improvements.
- The Office Emergency Procedure side says, “Please keep this in a prominent place”, but the Bomb Threat Checklist side says “Place this card under your telephone.” Both are good advice – for separate sheets of paper. The bomb threat side should be laminated if it is to survive under the phone on your desk for months or years.
The Egress Plan view (upper left corner) is much too small to be read, especially through smoke in a fire (but I can’t read architectural floor plans even with clear light and eyeglasses). It should certainly have a ‘You are here’ label to orient the viewer. It should be posted next to stairwell exits and in elevator (lift) lobbies. It should be larger, of course, but the only sure way to learn evacuation is to practice, practice, practice. Read more... (711 words, 2 images, estimated 2:51 mins reading time)
I’m running a day-long, pre-conference, table-top exercise on climate change on Wednesday, 28 August in Manila. Exercise participants will be in teams of six (6) people; half the teams will tackle sea-level rise, the other half will wrestle with drought. Each team will present its strategies at the end of the day. I’ll be speaking at the Resiliency Forum Asia on Thursday and Friday 29 and 30 August. Registration is just USD 840 for my exercise and the two-day conference (just $280 per day). Sign up by filling out the last page of this brochure: http://bit.ly/14ctBsN
You will not find the words “critical business process” anywhere in The BCI’s new 2013 Good Practice Guidelines (GPGs). That’s good, because there is no such thing.
The BCI devotes half a page (page 51) to addressing the erroneous assertion that BCM is only for “critical” or “key” or “important” activities. That’s wrong. It’s folklore, a superstition. It is a shibboleth, a canard, a lie told by charlatans to deceive unbelievers. It is the first step on a road to perdition and professional damnation. At the end of that road, here be dragons!
Come on, even Internal Audit becomes urgent eventually.
Sinners! Fall to your knees and repeat after me: ‘I believe that BCM is for all business products, services, processes and activities!’ The purpose of business impact analysis (BIA) is, specifically, to prioritize them. The 2013 GPGs state that the outcome of a BIA is “a list of the organization’s most urgent groups of products and services” (page 54).
In my world, the outcome of a BIA is a list of all products and services (and processes and activities), prioritized in descending order of urgency, which is generally – but not always! -n reflected in their recovery time objectives (RTOs): the longer the RTO, the lower the priority. There is no process so “critical” that its failure will by itself cause a company to collapse. Read more... (1257 words, 5 images, estimated 5:02 mins reading time)
India’s Supreme Court ruled in July that dance bars in India’s financial centre of Mumbai and its surrounding area could reopen after an eight-year ban. Bar dancers in India bare their midriffs and ankles (photo) and gyrate sinuously to loud music, while inebriated men toss rupee notes at them. Paid sex often ensues off-site.
It isn’t pretty: reporter Sonia Faleiro’s 2012 Book of the Year, Beautiful Thing, tracked the wretched, confused existence of one dancer. Bar dancing isn’t as overtly lascivious as pole dancing, but you can still hear loud gnashing of teeth and tut-tutting over the sleazy side of the trade.
Bar owners and the Bhartiya Bar Girls Union (a Facebook page) opposed the ban because of its impact on businesses and the livelihoods of dancers.
What was the business impact in the state of Maharashtra of banning bar dancing for eight (8) years?
I figure about USD 4 billion dollars.
According to my back-of-the-cocktail-napkin calculations, seven hundred dance bars in Maharashtra state employ 75,000 dancers. A dancer makes USD 250 month in a country where average monthly income is USD 96.00. 75,000 women x $250 per month x 12 months x 8 years comes to USD 1.8 billion dollars. That doesn’t count the incomes of bouncers and escorts to protect them, drivers who carry them to and from homes and hotels, the income of bar owners’ selling booze at inflated prices – or the bribes that bar owners and dancers pay to police officers to look the other way. I believe that must total as much or more as the dancers themselves make. Read more... (378 words, 2 images, estimated 1:31 mins reading time)
What should American food maven Paula Deen have done after she was accused in a lawsuit by a former employee of using a racial slur? If she’d asked me for advice:
1. ‘Fess up and apologize right away. ‘I was wrong. It’s a hateful word. I was brought up at a time and place where people used slurs like that and I’ve spent my whole life trying to overcome it. I failed in this case and will try harder’.
2. For added sympathy, ‘I will make changing myself the main mission of my life from now on. I’ll pray for the Lord’s help and guidance.’
3. Use the situation to create a teachable moment. ‘Our words can cause terrible casual harm, even if we say them unintentionally’. Use her media reach to spread the teaching.
4. Make a single, dramatic gesture like: ‘our company, our restaurants will initiate a ‘Say it nice, y’all’ campaign. Every time a guest says something nice, we’ll donate a dollar to the NAACP’. (Is the NAACP still relevant?)
5. Release facts about minority employment in her enterprises, assuming the facts are positive: per cent of racial minorities employed, per cent in managerial positions, money spent on training and development, etc. Read more... (278 words, 2 images, estimated 1:07 mins reading time)