Is leadership support important? This was the question Kuali asked about successful higher education business continuity planning (BCP).
In February 2017, leadership support became a common topic of discussion among the Kuali Ready team. In conversation with Kuali Ready clients, continuity planners mentioned the difficulty of obtaining leadership support. “Continuity planners want a more streamlined and effective solution,” stated Tony Benjamins, Kuali Ready Customer Engagement Director. “However, they can’t seem to get approval from their leaders, not because leaders don’t want a solution, but because leaders don’t have time or a significant reason to think about a solution.”
Kuali reached out to their community to learn more about the scope of this issue. We wanted to know what continuity planners thought about leadership support:
- Is it important?
- Do you have it?
- Have you struggled with it?
What we found was a resounding YES. Leadership support is important to a higher education BCP, according to 91% of our survey respondents. However, only 25% of respondents have been able to achieve full leadership support at their institution, suggesting that there is difficulty in achieving leadership support. Leaders in higher education often lack the time and incentives to address BCP. Their schedules quickly fill with other pressing matters, leaving no time for continuity planning.
It can be challenging to get a leader’s attention. Maintaining a leader’s attention presents a further challenge. At one institution, the business continuity planner realized he needed to periodically lobby for leadership support to keep from losing it. “Initially, I saw [plenty] of support and interest and as time passes, so does the interest and backing,” replied the anonymous respondent. “I think I may have to seek this buy-in every 2 or 3 years to continue making progress.”
Some continuity planners have addressed the lack of attention and urgency from leaders. In Texas, a BCP is state mandated, which acts as a compelling reason for leaders at institutions, like Sam Houston State University, to support continuity planning. Other universities are not so fortunate. One anonymous survey respondent said, “[Leaders view] business continuity as an extra chore to do that is not necessarily in their job description. It becomes extremely difficult to convey the value in integrating continuity planning in their daily operations.”
Our survey displayed that leadership support proves a difficult challenge to many BCP specialists. To highlight the supporting findings in the survey, we created an infographic that offers more information on the topic of leadership support and continuity planning. We hope our insights are beneficial to business continuity planners struggling to obtain leadership support.