Why business resilience should be about people: not algorithms
- Published: Friday, 17 February 2017 09:21
To become more widely accepted the business continuity and resilience profession needs to change its focus from science and analysis; and it needs to understand that people should be at the heart of a resilient businesses. Paul Kudray explains…
The single most import thing any business needs to be resilient is people. Not a process, flowchart, plan, risk matrix, equations or numbers. We are the key to a resilient business because we have a desire and an instinct to survive.
To understand business we have to understand people first. The only person who really knows you, is you. We as people, naturally have different personalities and styles; methods of communication; needs, wants and likes. Successful communication is about knowing ‘the other person’ and what they want and need and then adapting our style.
The business continuity management approach is different. That’s because BCM is a process; a vehicle which needs people to drive it from A to B. It was not designed with people as its first principle.
Today we often still see and read a great deal of resilience concepts and theory put forward that are immersed in science. The profession puts science at the heart of resilience; not people.
The academic world of resilience focuses heavily on the high-end organization as a process and not on the people within a business; and this disconnection will keep growing unless we do something to address it.
Take the average everyday business person of today; people who will own, operate and lead businesses. They really are not recognising business resilience as a quality they want and need. This is simply because (in my opinion), the traditional definitions of BCM and resilience mean nothing. They are process heavy. They don’t ‘turn people on’ (unless you’re procedurally inclined that is!). Just take a look at the definitions and tell me who they entertain and educate the most today?
Leadership in any field is about engaging and building effective communications. We know that of course. But if we look at traditional business resilience communication; who is that communication with and for? The resilience profession? The high-end businesses with the potential financial support to invest?
My belief is it is fundamentally for those that know what the subject is already and not the people we truly do need to ‘win’ over. That should stimulate us to take that challenge on and to want to engage with those people. But we need to adapt.
The only way to achieve that is to do something fundamentally different to the traditional and dated methods and start to communicate in a way of today. We need to embrace and utilise the media technology we have available as a way of engaging the world more effectively. We need to engage with the world about the relationship and value of personal and business resilience; about how it supports our livelihoods and futures. The ‘what’s in it for me’ factor.
The technology of today is so under-used by the resilience profession compared to other industries. Business resilience, BCM or organizational resilience just isn’t out there enough to make a difference going forward. That has to change or we will get left further behind. People want content and documented communication not just the old reliance on traditional written formats (such as this post!) That’s the truth and we have to get on with it or die.
The business of resilient people
There are only so many times we can read expert opinion on how to apply resilient concepts into an organization and its culture before we have to stop and do it. But the doing bit should not be designed around the professional resilience person to go and ‘sell’ the idea within that business. That is currently how the BCM approach is.
People need to be able to understand business resilience in a simple format. First and foremost, people aren’t logical; we are people of emotion. Business leaders, owners and entrepreneurs fundamentally want something more valuable to them than business resilience. Their driver is to live and make money and operate. To be a success at what they do and to the level they want to achieve. That is their resilience.
Until the resilience profession fully embraces this attitude, it will continue to only serve the same market and organizations it currently has; and will not appeal to new audiences. Simply because the current communication was built in a different time.
Business resilience should not be seen as a vehicle of process first; it should be seen from the eyes of the person and what they want. We need to stop building and presenting a vehicle for the driver, but build the vehicle around the drivers.
If you don’t want that then just keep looking at cars that will never be driven.
An international leader in business resilience consultancy, training and coaching; Paul Kudray, MSc FICPEM CBCI AMBCI Fellow of the EPC, is an ex-emergency services commander who finished an exemplary 32 year career in the UK healthcare sector, working for the NHS - culminating in 7½ years as the Director of Resilience for one of the world’s largest ambulance services, NWAS NHS Trust. He now works with private and public sector clients around the world, training, advising, coaching and mentoring them at the highest levels about emergency and business continuity management.