Why are communications important to resilience?

First of all, let’s take a few minutes to answer the most obvious questions. What have communications got to do with resilience? What are you going to get out of this series of articles?
We work with people who need to keep their organisations running during business continuity disruptions, disaster recovery events, and sometimes traumatic situations. Those events can range from severe weather, to reputational crises caused by data breaches, to facilities issues, terror attacks and infrastructure breakdowns … the list goes on.
The one commonality that those situations have is that effective communication plays a key part in mitigating the impact. So, we’re going to focus on overcoming common roadblocks to implementing resilient communication solutions and ensuring that you can keep your people safe, informed and connected by communicating effectively.
Before we start talking about how to go ahead and implement actual solutions, first we need to be really clear on why communications are so important to resilience.

1) Resilience is a group activity

Resilience is all about overcoming reliance. Because we live in an interconnected world, everything we do affects, and is affected by, other people. That’s equally true in the business world or in any other working environment that you can think of. Whenever we carry out our day to day tasks, we are reliant to some extent on someone, or something else.
Sending an email to a customer? We’re relying on the device we’re using, the email provider we’ve chosen, our internet supplier … and the recipient’s device, email provider and internet supplier. And in turn, they are all relying on someone else as well. So, your resilience is our resilience. Resilience has to be a group activity.

2) Nobody is resilient in isolation

Resilience is not a tick box exercise. Let’s say you’ve bought some software that tells you it’s going to provide you with a business continuity plan. Great, automatically a big tick! All of a sudden we hear “I’m resilient! I’m business continuity compliant!”. Sometimes we even hear “I’ve bought a mass communication system – I’ve never used it, or tested it, but I’ve bought it so I’m all good…”
Going back to our first point about reliance, you may have bought the most expensive piece of kit on the market with a 100% SLA. But 100% of nothing is nothing if that piece of kit can’t work because it relies on something else. How many people reading right now have been affected by an O2, Vodafone or WhatsApp outage?

3) True collaboration requires communication

All of this matters because true collaboration requires communication. We’ve established that we can’t be resilient in isolation; we need to work with colleagues, suppliers and customers. If we don’t communicate effectively as part of those relationships, the consequences can be dire. It’s not always just as simple as it might cause a minor blip in your business performance.
Lack of communication can cause reputational damage that you can’t recover from. It can cause massive financial penalties if you don’t communicate with the right people at the right time. Not to put too fine a point on it, it may even lead to death or injury, depending on the situation you’re dealing with.
We know that we can’t be resilient on our own. Every action we take relies on someone or something else, and being able to communicate is a key part of working effectively with other people. Now, we need to find a reliable, resilient way to continue to communicate, regardless of what’s going on around us.