SEMPER PARATI and business contingency management

8 min.

The last two months have shown us what externalities can affect the business world and how strongly. From conversations with our customers, it emerged that only about a third of them have prepared business contingency plans and actively work with them.

A large bank or manufacturing company both had a folder with steps and activities needed in an emergency somewhere in their headquarters drawer, and the local management just selected the "appropriate folder" and applied specific steps to the real situation. The fact that someone had thought ahead about possible scenarios and created a "template" for their resolution made the work easier for many companies and their leaders.

What is business contingency management?

In short, BCM leads to preparedness in case of emergencies, disasters, or system failures. It uses risk assessments and aims to identify vulnerabilities and threats and implement countermeasures to prevent crises or limit their impact if they occur. Operational continuity planning and recovery after such a crisis are key contributions of business continuity managers.

Business contingency manager vs. Health and Safety (BOZP) manager

In many companies, the role of BCM was temporarily taken over by leaders in cooperation with BOZP, but it is important to realize that the BOZP manager is not typically the key leader for BCM. The role of the BOZP manager is primarily in daily operations and prevention. Their focus is on detail and preventing minor and major issues from regular operations.

A business contingency manager, on the other hand, is a strategic role with an emphasis on unusual situations. They are the "black chronicle" of the company, a person whose task is to identify even unusual threats and creatively prepare realistic scenarios for their management or minimization.

Vulnerability vs. Threat

Vulnerability is a weakness in a business system, security procedure, or internal control that can be exploited by a source of threat. Some vulnerabilities can be eliminated or minimized by operational or technical solutions outlined in the contingency plan. However, it is not possible to eliminate all risks.

A threat can take the form of a natural event, such as a flood, tornado, earthquake, or hurricane, or it can take a technical or human-made form, which can be radiological, chemical, biological, mechanical, or electrical in nature. A threat can also be a deliberate act, such as a terrorist act, demonstration, bomb, attack, theft, or computer incident.

How to go about it?

Common sense will certainly get us to the same point, but a framework helps.


First, conduct a small survey within your organization to identify and prioritize the resources your company cannot do without, such as employees, IT systems, and specific equipment or physical assets.


Identify potential or real threats to these critical resources. Talk to employees, managers, IT, and everyone in between to get a comprehensive idea of the events that could impact your resources. If necessary, consider external consultations specializing in risk identification.


Ideally, create a contingency plan for each identified risk. It is best to start with the highest priority threats – usually those most likely to occur and have the greatest impact. Over time, you can work on preparing plans for each lower-priority risk.

When designing each plan, ask yourself what steps would be necessary for the organization to resume normal operations as soon as possible. Consider things like communication, employee activities, employee duties, and timelines (what needs to happen when). Then create a detailed plan for each risk.


Once each plan is completed and approved, ensure that every relevant employee has easy access to it, not just knowing it exists but also where exactly to find it. There are mobile apps for business continuity that provide contingency plans and related documents directly to each employee's mobile device. This approach eliminates the traditional method of paper-based planning and ensures that every employee has access to the latest plan, both before and during a crisis.


Ensure that each plan is current as your organization undergoes changes, especially concerning people or the use of new technologies. Additionally, regularly practice scenarios with stakeholders to ensure that every key player knows their role.

In conclusion

At this moment, as the first wave of COVID measures subsides and companies resume regular operations, we are noticing a demand from previously unprepared companies for the active search for such candidates.

The executive search / direct search methodology is ideal for this:

- Identifying similarly sized companies with similar business models
- Identifying specific competent individuals
- Identifying motives and stimuli for accepting a new role (e.g., implementing experience into a company with BCM "from scratch")
- Presenting relevant candidates and guiding them through the entire process with the company's management

The long-term success of executive search and direct search projects is crucial, with us achieving about 96% success. This ensures that the project will be successfully completed within a predictable timeframe.

Good luck, and hopefully, we won't need BCM for a long time, but if we do, the scout motto "Be prepared" or in Latin "Semper Parati" still applies.

Pavel Plachý is the founder of Flow-r Executive Search. He began his career in business intelligence, working for both Czech and multinational companies in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and the United Kingdom. He has also held international top management roles, leading teams in three countries with a total of more than 700 employees.

In 2008, he founded his own company focused on finding strategic candidates and, since then, he and his colleagues have been dedicated to executive search. They find top managers and strategic experts for their clients.

more about Pavel