Business resilience and business cyber security are new catch phrases in the business world of today. Where most terms including cyber security and cyber crime have been around since the 70’s and 80’s (William Stirling) resilience is one of the newer kids on the block.
Businesses resilience is the process of making your business more adaptable and changing the internal culture of the business. This is not an easy process. It is something that takes time and sometimes, an investment in capital and personnel. Not everyone understands that a resilient business is best for everyone. That is one of today’s business challenges.
Everyone who is in business today will have been influenced by what is happening on the Internet. Whether it is just using email for a sub contracting business, or social media and Internet marketing, to web sites, SEO and content marketing we all have something to do with the communication medium that is the Internet.
The problem is the Internet is a dangerous place. When you are not prepared I equate it to walking down a dark alley in the worst part of your town, with your hands and feet shackled, a very full wallet and a big neon sign saying “rob me”. A resilient business looks at this and says, we do not want to be in that alley to start with, what do we need to do to make sure we are not there”
We constantly see references to how dangerous the Internet is but only 1% of business seems to understand what needs to be done to remove the risk.
Resiliency in a business is the ability to ensure the business viability no matter what is happening in the world. Business resilience is not a check box type activity like business continuity and disaster recovery. It is the ability for a business to protect itself from the bad stuff as well as seeing opportunities that the business would not otherwise of seen.
To create a resilient business is a culture change. It is getting people in with the right attitude and nurturing that attitude to benefit the organisation. It is a process of involving everyone in the business in the direction of the business. The coal face team usually cop the brunt of what is happening in the real world, they will tell you if something is working or not as well as better opportunities for the business.
I was recently talking to a sales executive for a software company who had a unique experience at a sales meeting. Whenever the sales team goes out to do a sale they normally rely on what the businesses has produced and they sell that product. What if the sales team came back and said – ” we have a client that likes the product but they also need these type of features can we add them in”. In most cases they would be told not to be so daft, in this case they said – next upgrade those features will be in the basic features.
Your business IP is usually critical for you to do business. Whether it is your contact lists, your prototypes or the way you do business, this information is your intellectual property. The loss of that information, if it became public knowledge, would cripple the organisation.
In addition to the hard information that makes your business work there are a number of soft skills that make the business more resilient. One of the best is having people with the right attitude, the can do attitude. No problem is too difficult, no problem is too hard and no matter what these people get it done.
This can do attitude is one of the best cultural changes that can be added to an organisation. With people like this in key positions the culture changes. Have you ever noticed that there are some businesses who’s workers seem to be better, they are better trained but they also have a better attitude. This is culture and this makes a resilient business.
So you know what makes a resilient business, how do you change yours to be better. It has to come from a top down attitude as well as bottom up input. The people at the front lines, the coal face, are the ones with the contact with your customers. They are the ones that get chewed out when a customer has a problem, they would be the first group of people to actually know, solid data, what the customers think and feel about the business. This is not a time to say “management knows best” and ignore it, this is the time to embrace the comments and do something about it.
The second way is the hiring process. Everyone who applies for a position in the company usually has the required skill. The best widget maker in the work can do an amazing amount of damage if he does not understand the culture of the business. So not only do they have to have the skills to work in your company but they also have to have the soft skills to suit your culture.
Most people say that that person would not fit in, this is applying the business culture to the candidates. In most cases it is possible to see this but it is better if you have structured questioning around the interview process that can quantify and qualify that feeling.
As a component of the Organisations risk management strategy, making sure that when everything is going badly there is a way back, resilience is also used to see other potential markets for the business. A resilient business has the capability to see opportunities that the other in the same sector do not. They have the ability to change what they are doing to suit the market.
I recently overheard a client talking to their staff, like everyone else they have cash flow and revenue problems. Getting money in through the front door, can at times be difficult. Her comment was “when there is money coming in we all get paid, when there is no money coming in no one gets paid, so it’s in everyone’s interest to make sure that money is coming in”. This is the type of culture that took flight center through the GFC.
Changing your culture will invariably change your business practice. It will make your business more resilient by allowing everyone to act in accordance with how the business operates and make sure that all opportunities are seized with both hands, but protecting revenue and business capabilities.
“We can do it”, “nothing is a problem” and “we do not have problems we have challenges” are the catch phrase of a successful resilient business. Do you have that attitude.