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8 Skills Business Continuity Managers Need to Succeed

Published on July 14, 2022

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Business continuity specialists are sometimes under-appreciated. However, as ensuring the organisation's survival can be much more challenging than creating it from scratch, their knowledge and skills often prove invaluable assets that every business owner would love to have on board.

With that being said, business continuity management (BCM) is not something anyone can master in a matter of weeks. Instead, it requires years of practice and willingness to learn new things about the industry. To become a professional in this line of work, one must observe the trends, search for promising innovations, and find ways to apply them to a business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) strategy.

Successfully handling all of these tasks is borderline impossible without a specific skill set. Situational awareness, abstract thinking, adaptability, and risk management are a few examples of vital attributes an individual must possess to become a successful business continuity manager.

Situational Awareness

While there are many discussions about what the term actually means, situational awareness boils down to understanding all the environmental elements and the possible arrangements. It is an important skill for continuity managers because they have to find solutions to current issues and look to the future. Situational awareness allows them to determine critical business functions and the best ways to provide practical business continuity planning. Without it, their project management knowledge might not be enough to get the job done.

Abstract Thinking

Abstract thinking is another skill that can help people in charge make the best decisions to reap the long-term benefits. Many organisations search for people with the aptitude to think outside the box. The job profile of a continuity manager is an excellent example of why that is the case.

Abstract thinking skills allow business continuity professionals to understand complex problems and put things into perspective. These skills often come in handy when there is a need to create and execute the business impact analysis or develop effective training programs.


Whether we like it or not, even the most skillfully crafted business continuity plans have a chance to fail. When such a situation occurs, the ability to quickly adapt and put the project back on track is valuable, especially in the eyes of senior management. As a result, even though adaptability might not help during the planning phase, it is highly advantageous during the later stages of implementing contingency plans. Being able to assess a situation and react quickly and efficiently could save an organisation critical down time.

Critical Thinking

Despite what the name might suggest, this skill has very little to do with criticising. Instead, it is about not taking things at their face value. This includes observation, analysis, inference, communication, and problem solving.

    It is one of the key skills BCM professionals need to possess because it allows them to perform unbiased analysis. For instance, they can assess the profitability of specific business operations, strategies, or procedures.

    Additionally, business continuity managers can use this skill during implementing business continuity plans to evaluate and modify them on the go.

    Communication Skills

    Collaboration is the backbone of every successful company project. As such, establishing effective communication channels should be at the top of the priority list of every business continuity manager. Simply put, project management does not provide enough value without communication speaking and writing skills are both of utmost importance.

    When natural disasters or other unpredictable events stop business processes in their tracks, only effective communication can prevent the company from losing tons of money. Consequently, having a project manager who is well versed in tailoring communications between different departments is an integral part of crisis management.

    This set of skills can also be beneficial if senior leadership wants to promote BCDR awareness activities or deliver educational programs to BCDR teams. A well-spoken business continuity manager can explain the basic framework of recovery plans to other employees and inform them about potential risks the company may face in the future.

    Risk Management

    The ability to perform detailed risk assessments is one of the most important, top skills a business continuity manager needs to possess. It is essential in developing a successful business continuity program and dealing with disaster recovery.

    Without adequate risk assessment, companies might fail to reduce the negative impact of employee turnover or some unforeseen events. Furthermore, not conducting risk assessments can prevent the organisation from running business impact analyses and render the whole business continuity management system they have in place useless.

    Project Management

    Project management is a skill that encompasses a few other traits. These are skills that a BCM must possess in order to be effective in the role. This includes having the ability to coordinate other employees through leading projects, and working efficiently in a team. Having strong interpersonal and motivational skills as well as time management, and technical expertise are essential. The final and possibly the most important project management skill is being an excellent problem solver.

    Organisational Skills

    Possessing an organisation prowess is essential for any Business Continuity Manager. This includes the ability to create and maintain structure and order, as welling as being able to prioritise vital tasks. In addition to this, a BCM must be able to keep track essential tasks, contacts, and processes which are in place in light of a business incident. As the leader in a disaster scenario, a BCM must have the organisation to follow the processes put in place and have the ability to implement the plan in order to assist in the disaster recovery.

    Business Continuity Certifications

    Though not technically a skill, we thought it was important to add that a Business Continuity Manager should have the certifications to perform their role. Being able to demonstrate competency in disaster recovery and expertise in the subject matter is essential, especially when the health and safety of employees is involved.

    Some of the certifications offered by Disaster Recovery Institute International (DRII) and Business Continuity Institute (BCI), include:

    • CBCP Certified Business Continuity Professional.
    • CFCP Certified Functional Continuity Professional.
    • MBCP Master Business Continuity Professional.
    • CBCI Certificate of the Business Continuity Institute (CBCI)

    Besides holding the credential, it is important to stay up to date and constantly be refreshing your knowledge. Understanding the business processes inside and out will assist should the worst happen to an organisation.

    Experience Matters

    Competency and theory are fantastic tools to building up continuity and disaster recovery skills, however experience is the best teacher of them all. Performing and participating in Business Impact Analyses and Risk Assessments, and facilitating mock exercises, as well as participating in IT recovery exercises are great ways to increase experience with business continuity processes. The ability to create or carry out existing business continuity plans, IT technical recovery plans, business continuity policies, and crisis management plans, are also important skillsets to possess. Additionally an understanding of the basic regulatory requirements and the regulatory needs of an organisation are all essentials for an effective Business Continuity Manager.

    The Bottom Line

    In conclusion, business continuity managers are crucial for the success of enterprises. While many people might focus on CEOs and other people in charge, they are the ones who take care of some of the most challenging tasks. They deal with project management, assess the risks to business operations, evaluate how the organisation should implement new strategies, and take care of the development of BCDR plans.

    Through the ability to stay adaptable and creative, BCM professionals can guarantee that the job will be done on time. Thanks to risk management and the extensive knowledge of all the company's aspects, they can estimate what is worth developing and what techniques are best left untouched. Finally, their ability to communicate can put all employees on the same page and ensure a smooth flow of operations even during disaster recovery.

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    Written by Grace Lowe

    Operations Manager at Continuity2

    With a solid background in sales and support, Grace manages day-to-day activities so that business processes run smoothly, efficiently, and effectively. For the past 3 years, Grace has built and maintained strong relationships with clients, maximising their Business Continuity and Resilience efforts to the fullest.

    C2 Author Grace 1
    C2 Author Grace 1

    Written by Grace Lowe

    Operations Manager at Continuity2

    With a solid background in sales and support, Grace manages day-to-day activities so that business processes run smoothly, efficiently, and effectively. For the past 3 years, Grace has built and maintained strong relationships with clients, maximising their Business Continuity and Resilience efforts to the fullest.