Posted on: August 14, 2019 by Rina Singh
Guest Blog Series
We are excited to debut our Guest Blog Series featuring some of the amazing experts from the Fusion community with their industry insights. Our first guest blogger is Resilience Manager at Network Rail Rina Singh, MBCI with her first post titled Resiliency Through Relationships.
Rina is passionate about all things business continuity, risk management, and organisational resilience. With more than a decade of experience, she is currently equal part of a dynamic award-winning resilience team at Network Rail and runs her own blog the Resilience Pod, dedicated to helping organisations and individuals become resilient in a world full of disruptions.
– Marketing Associate Bridget Anders
Collaboration is important in most professions, but in business continuity management, it’s essential. Whilst digital transformation through systems and processes make our daily lives much easier, it’s still about people and relationships. The idea of using automation via technology is to save time, and that time needs to be spent building relationships and developing strategies.
While technology improves efficiency, the resilience of a company cannot be solely reliant on one person or one department. It must be through a collaborative effort across the company. It’s a joint effort in all aspects, but this can be difficult in a siloed environment where communication is sparse. If you get that relationship right, you may be able to influence in ways you never knew you could to ensure resiliency. That’s why building and maintaining those relationships are so important. Here are four key tips to empower resiliency through relationships!
1. People must know you exist
This sounds obvious, but if people don’t know who you are, they can’t come to you. Start with a basic introduction over a coffee or tea with your subject matter experts and stakeholders before getting in to the nitty gritty. Then build it up via lunch-and-learn sessions for example. This way your first interaction with them isn’t you asking something of them via email but taking the time to get to know them. It also takes some people more time to warm up than others. Don’t let this discourage you – be consistent in your efforts.
Find a way you can relate with them and doing so face-to-face when possible. We are in that digital age now where it’s easy to message each other or pick up the phone. While this is necessary sometimes, it’s so important to meet in-person to strengthen that connection when trying to influence resilience activities. If you are there, they can see you, making things much more tangible. Then when you do email them later, they remember you and the connection made.
A great example is through a lot of effort I put into trying to get hold of one stakeholder via email to meet about business continuity management activities. I consistently emailed this person and followed up but kept getting nowhere. But when we did meet, it was great, because the way one can come across in an email is completely different than how they can come across in person. Now, even though this person is busy, they will always take the time to respond to my emails. That’s purely from the relationship I have built, which is important because when something is required, they know me, and my name is out there.
2. Create a mutually beneficial relationship
You must be authentic and transparent to create a mutually beneficial relationship. It’s more than just small talk; you must genuinely listen to subject matter experts and stakeholders. It’s that personal touch and level of understanding with the other person. Don’t hide your personality, adding that personal touch is so important.
You can give, give, give, but there comes a time when you think “well, I am doing all this stuff for you, why should I do more? What’s the incentive?” Naturally, as human beings, we are selfish, and we want something back.
Helping each other is mutually beneficial because if you do me a favour, I will remember it. When you need something, I will know that you helped me, and I will want to do that because all of the help you’ve given me. If you are helping another department by introducing them to another stakeholder, they will remember that. It’s proving that credibility and following through on it.
3. Educate others on business continuity management
You must translate the requirements into simple steps avoiding all jargon and showcasing the value of doing this work. The simple question, “what’s in it for me?” comes to mind. A part of this process is training so they understand what business continuity means to them, rather than just telling people what to do. Once they understand the “why,” it provides clarity and gives them part ownership, which in turn helps build that relationship and promote a collaborative culture.
Educating also means you must be educated on the wants and needs of subject matter experts and stakeholders. Listen to their concerns and apply that in your planning. So when you’re communicating activities you have all of the information you need to educate others properly. These things take time, but showing people that you truly value them by giving them your time is important.
4. Continue the relationship
Even if it’s just going for a coffee or catching up weekly for two minutes, that really makes a difference to understand your stakeholders. You need to stay up-to-date on what their concerns and constraints are in their business area. It’s important to remember that you must stay committed to approach but be flexible on some of the details when you can to accommodate your fellow colleagues.
Always follow up, whether it was your first interaction or your ninetieth. Be sure they know you are listening and want to collaborate with them. This also helps them remember what was discussed and also feel like you really value their time.
Empower a culture centered on teamwork and collaboration
By building these relationships through helping others and listening to their concerns, it gives people a sense of community. They know they can come to you and vice versa, which can make the difference when ensuring organisational resilience.
Essentially, we can’t get things done if we don’t involve other people, and if you don’t have that relationship it’s not going to happen. This creates siloes. All this will not only move your business continuity programme forward, but also create an example for others to empower a more collaborative culture for better resiliency. After all, resiliency is achieved through relationships.