Continuity Management: The Ways of Going on

By: Anamitra Roy

B.Com. Hons. (C.U., India), Certified Financial Accountant (CMC, India), DFA (CMC, India), PGDBF (HSIS India, India), Certified Financial Accountant (GLOBSYN Skills, India), GPBL (TASMAC, India & University of Wales, United Kingdom).

Abstract:

This study aims to investigate the reasons behind how some people are able to maintain continuity of their activities and enjoy long careers in which ever fields they are. In the process 120 respondents were interviewed, lives of people enjoying a successful and long career over a span of twenty years or more were observed and analyzed. This process of observation, data collection, data analysis and assimilation of the analysis results with observations were done covering duration of three years. Then the conclusion was reached that an increased passion level, practicing of perseverance, maintaining physical fitness, interest and relevance, bringing innovations, going back to basics in times of trouble, exercising few disciplines every day and developing a spirit for not quitting helps to maintain continuity and carry on.

Key Words: Continuity Management, Innovation, Relevance, Adaptation, Evolution.

 Introduction:

 “Time with its continuity logically involves some other kind of continuity than its own. Time, as the universal form of change, cannot exist unless there is something to undergo change and to undergo a change continuous in time, there must be a continuity of changeable qualities.”

– Charles Sanders Peirce

Maintaining continuity is one of the most difficult tasks that one has to take up in life. It is through maintenance of continuity that one can reach and stay at the zenith and get promoted to the stature of a legend. If an effort is made to study the lives of legends it can always be seen that they maintained a few disciplines every day and thus reached their goals and hold on to their position.

Sachin Tendulkar, Amitabh Bachchan, Lata Mangeshkar, Ratan Tata, Diego Maradona, Pele, Rajnikanth, Thomas Edison, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Maqbool Fida Hussain, Pablo Picasso, Michelangelo, Tagore … all these great men had one feature in common. They kept on and on. They had a long career in whichever field of life they were and it was possible because they achieved success and could hold on to success through continuity management.

One cannot just achieve success and allow it to go away. Then the continuity is not being maintained. There are great examples of talented people who achieved success and huge volumes of it. They could not hold on to it. Why is it that these people could not practice few disciplines every day and hold on to success? Why is it that they did not have a long career and had to give up? An attempt has been made to find an answer to these questions through observations of people spanning over a period of almost three years, to understand the ways of maintaining continuity in life.

 Literature Review:  

    1. An article named “Embedding Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery within Risk Management” written by Xinxin Zhang and Adela McMurray was published in World Journal of Social Sciences, Volume 3, Number 3, on May, 2013. The writers wrote about the importance of risk management in maintaining business continuity.
    2. Another research paper named “The Evolution of Business Continuity Management in Large Irish Enterprises between 2004 and 2009” was submitted by David N. Garrett at the Dublin City University Business School on May, 2012. This research showed that business continuity management is firmly placed in the hands of senior and middle management with a low level of board level involvement. Computer viruses and loss of communication were found to be the most important threats in the maintenance of business continuity.
    3. A research paper named “Business Crisis and Continuity Management” was submitted by Gregory L. Shaw in the Institute for Crisis, Disaster and Risk Management at The George Washington University, U.S.A. in 2004. In this research the researcher came to the conclusion that continuity management must be used as a strategic program with supportive functions and sub functions that must be integrated for the sake of overall effectiveness and efficiency.

Methodology:

Research Questions: As indicated in the introduction part, there are two major research questions in this study. These are as follows:

Why is it that some people have long careers in whichever field they are?

How to maintain continuity in what we are doing?

Modeling Volatility: 

The research methodology followed in this paper is spanned over a period of three years. Through observations, interviewing respondents through a questionnaire and study of the lives of people with long careers in whichever field they are, the data has been collected. On further analysis of that data conclusions and recommendations to be made have been reached.

Data:

The data for the purpose of research has been collected from different sources

  1. Through observation of the lives of people with careers spanning of twenty years or more in accounting, administration, marketing and general management.
  2. Through interviewing of 120 respondents by the help of a questionnaire designed for this purpose. These respondents covered respondents who are already enjoying a career spanning twenty years or more and those who are aspiring to have a long career.
  3. Studying the autobiographies and biographies of well-known personalities whose career spanned for twenty years or more. However, effort was also given to study the biographies of personalities who could have had a long career but ultimately did not have.
  4. Studying the operations procedure of organizations that have been able to maintain continuity and survive for more than fifty years. Examples of such organizations include: Apple, Philips, The George Telegraph Training Institute.

Results and Discussions:   

The most striking part of the data analysis and interpretation part was that there was a similarity in the survey results of 120 respondents and observation results of the lives of people who had long and successful careers spanning twenty or more years. More interestingly, these series of data interpretation results had to be assimilated together to reach the conclusions and recommendations.

Conclusions and Recommendations:

An Increased Passion Level:

In order to go on and on, one needs to maintain/ increase the passion level. When there is a drop, it is advisable to start thinking about the end result. Gradually put colors in the frame, add details, input sounds. When the frame is ready it has to be told to the inner self that this is the reason why everything is being done. On doing these the person concerned is bound to feel a childlike enthusiasm within him to carry on and thus maintain continuity.

“Passion is the genesis of genius.”

                             – Galileo Galilei

Perseverance:

When hiccups are there, which surely will be there, comparing myself with others has to be stopped. There is no space to think how much others have progressed and why I am lagging behind. It is recommended to always do what the concerned enjoys the most. In an interview Prabhudeva said that he preferred to dance when he was happy, as well as when he was sad. Think if this man was told to become a writer would anyone ever know his name. Would he be able to write when he was sad?

 One will automatically persevere for something that he loves to do. No obstacle will ever make him dance according to its tune. He will continue to carry on.  So in order to persevere one has to be in the field that he loves the most. He does not have to make an effort to persevere. He will be doing it voluntarily and unknowingly if he is in the field that he likes the most.

“Perseverance is stubbornness with a purpose.”    

                                                                –  Josh Shipp

Physical Fitness:

Continuity demands tremendous physical fitness. A lot of sports personalities are forced to take up premature retirement because of lack of it. The great politician from Bengal and the ex-President of the IFA, Priyaranjan Das Munshi had to retire on grounds of physical fitness. Jyoti Basu, one of the longest serving chief ministers had to retire because of the same reason.

 It is that important. Regular exercising and low intake of fast food can ensure this. When you have a physically fit body, as said by Robin Sharma, you will require less sleep. Thus, you will have more time to invest in your goals.

 “Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body; it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.”  

                                                                      – John F. Kennedy

 Interest Level:

Say there is a 1,000 page book which has to be read in a month. That means approximately the reader has to read about 33 pages per day in order to reach the target. If this job is approached this way, it will be easier to maintain the continuity and reach the destination. Moreover, when the reader will reach his daily targets he will feel happier and secured. He will feel that he is on right track and achieving the target seems a realistic possibility. Thus, breaking the target into fragments can help you to maintain your interest level.

 “The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.”

                                                   – William Morris

 Innovations:

When the daily targets are being reached, the mind is happier and relaxed. Automatically more interest will be generated in what it is doing. The mind will have more time and will start to think about developments and modifications. Therefore, time management is the key to bringing innovations. If one has time, he will be able to think and thinking will get him closer to innovations. Take the example of organizations like Apple and Philips which have prospered through innovations. The HR departments in these organizations take special care to design the job in a manner so that employees have free time to think about innovations.

 “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

                                    – Steve Jobs

 Relevance:

In order to maintain continuity, it is very important to maintain the relevance along with the demands of the changing times. Here, let me cite the example of one of modern India’s best, largest and professionally managed institutions, The George Telegraph Training Institute. In order to maintain the relevance of the topics being taught this institute has formed a “Board of Studies” comprising of members of various corporate houses. They advise the institute about the current demands of the market. The syllabus of the courses taught is framed accordingly, thereby maintaining relevance. In the absence of maintaining the relevance there would be only one option … the option of getting extinct.

 “Create relevance, not awareness.”  

                                                                                     –  Steve Jobs

 Adaptation and Evolution:

In one of his writings Tagore once wrote about the process that he used to follow while framing the plot. He always used to start with a sketch of the writing in his mind. But during penning down the writing quite often he used to drift away from his plan and adapt according to the demands of the moment. When we study history, we basically study these stories of man’s adaptation to the surroundings. These adaptive measures combine to form the chapters of evolution, which in turn ensured the continuity of life. This rule applies to our daily activities, too. In order to maintain continuity we have to adapt and evolve into a new lease of life and creativity.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”  

                                                                              – Charles Darwin

 Going Back to Basics:

The famous Australian sportsman, Greg Chappell in the middle of his career was suddenly out of form. His life was in turmoil. He consulted all the leading coaches. Nobody had a solution. Greg approached a sports psychologist. The psychologist suggested him to watch the ball. Then hit it with the bat. Greg was furious. He told the psychologist that this is the fundamental teaching that is given to newcomers but I am a superstar. The psychologist calmly insisted Greg to follow his point. Greg attended a practice session where he followed what the psychologist said. It was like magic. Greg was back in form. He was hitting the ball with the middle of the bat. After retiring, in one of his columns in a sport blog, Greg Chappell wrote about this incident. This incident speaks of the importance of going back to basics when we are in difficulty. Basics are like foundations. At times due to pressure, greed and stress one forgets the basics. Then he loses his touch. He can regain everything and maintain the continuity by going back to the basics.

“You cannot do epic without doing the basics.”

                                                                         –Ussain Bolt

Performing Few Disciplines Every Day:

It was way back in 2007. I was having a serious tooth ache. I visited a leading dental surgeon in Kolkata, Dr. Supratim Chanda. Dr. Chanda extracted the tooth that was causing the problem. Then he advised me to gurgle with a glass of warm water from the next day for the coming three days. The next day, I got three glasses of warm water and gurgled with them. I was happy that my task for the next three days was over. After three days I met Dr. Chanda in his chamber again. I was having some discomfort in my mouth. The doctor examined me and asked me if I had gurgled with warm water. I told him the truth. The doctor explained to me the importance of practicing a few disciplines every day. I realized how important it is to be consistent.

We are never rewarded for our odd venture one day. We are rewarded for maintaining consistency and practicing a few disciplines every day. A student has to study every day. A businessman has to satisfy his customers/ clients every day. A researcher has to research every day. A policeman has to maintain law every day. Every day, day after day, we need to do what we are supposed to do and what will make our dreams come true.

  “Small disciplines repeated with consistency every day lead to great achievements over time.”

 – John C. Maxwell

Remember Why You Started:   

In the middle of his career, the great Pakistani sportsman, Wasim Akram was frustrated. There were a lot of reasons behind this, some personal and some sports related. In one of his interviews to the well-known Indian movie star, Simi Garewal, Wasim Akram was speaking about these. He said that at one point of time he even considered saying good bye to sports. It was in such a phase that his the then wife and renowned psychologist, Huma took a step forward. She told Wasim that he is free enough to retire. But she also asked has the reasons which instigated a love for sports in him, been achieved. Wasim Akram realized probably not. He could immediately feel a change in him. His performance improved by leaps and bounds. He was soon given back the cap of the captain of the Pakistani cricket team.

This is one of the most common ways of regaining the will to carry on. If the purpose for which the start was made has not been satisfied then it is not the right time to say adieu. Then it’s time to continue.

 “Never say good bye because saying good bye means going away and going away means forgetting.”                   

                                                                                                                             – Peter Pan

Scope of Future Research:

This research was done covering a span of three years. But in an effort to study continuity and ways of maintaining it, time spans of greater duration like ten/ twenty years can be considered in a future research work. This will enable to study the factors triggering continuity in details. Moreover, this research covered a study of continuity in different types of fields. But as these fields are different from each other so a bigger study on various fields separately can be conducted.

Bibliography and References:

Books:

  • Hotchkiss, Stuart (2011). Business Continuity Management, 1st Edition, United States, Heritage Publishers.
  • Hiles, Andrew & Barnes, Peter (2001). The Definitive Handbook of Business Continuity Management, 3rd Edition, New York, John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
  • Gupta, S.P. (2011). Statistical Methods, 4th edition, Delhi, Sultan Chand & Sons.

Articles and Journals:

  • Gregory L. Shaw (2004). Business Crisis and Continuity Management. George Washington University, U. S. A.
  • David N. Garrett (2012). The Evolution of Business Continuity Management in Large Irish Enterprises between 2004 and 2009. Dublin City University Business School, Ireland.

About the Article:

This article was read out in the Fourth International Conference on Global Business, Economics, Finance and Social Sciences (GB15 Kolkata Conference) ISBN: 978-1-63415-898-5, Kolkata, India, from 18-20 December, 2015. Previously a presentation with the same name was published in the blog of The Concept Research Foundation. This presentation was prepared on the basis of this article.

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