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Volume 30, Issue 4

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Sunday, 13 December 2015 06:00

Looking Back to Move Forward

Written by  Vicki Thomas

Column-DateWe’re in the last few weeks of 2015 and we already have eyes pointed forward to 2016. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, we thought it would be refreshing and motivating to take a look back at the topics we discussed in 2015.

To put it lightly, we ran a lot of columns in this space over the last year. With topics ranging from climate change, disease outbreaks, natural disasters, shootings, workplace violence, digital security, and employee care.

At first glance, these look like rather standard topics for a business continuity column but, when you scratch below the surface of these topics, you see that it is not all that simple.

Climate change is very top-of-mind right now with the recent meetings in Paris, France - but how has this changed from 2014? It hasn’t really… in 2014 we wrote about climate change and I predict that in 2016 climate change will continue to be a hot topic. Even when it is clear that the global ramifications of climate change extend beyond the obvious weather changes to increased poverty, loss of homes and work, an increase in the flow of migrants, and the stress it puts on those barely surviving - climate change is still struggling to get noticed.

Now let’s think about your employees - a topic we touched on a few times in 2015. Whether it’s concerns over workplace violence or the stressors of the job, your employees need to feel safe and secure in their workplace. All too often this feeling is assumed and taken for granted and then when a key employee quits or suddenly changes their behavior, people are left asking “why”… when really all it likely took was conversation and awareness.

Quick, check your wallet, is your credit card still there? Ah good, so nothing to worry about, your personal information is protected. After all, if you have your credit card, how could anyone else have it? Not so fast, it is 2015 and one thing we’re seeing is an increase in the threats to digital security. Whether it’s the hacking of major news organization websites, medjacking medical equipment to traverse internal networks or the hacking of websites that store credit card data - there are risks that cannot be ignored.

After rereading all of the columns from 2015, one key theme stood out: communication. The value of it. The lack of it. The attention that needs to be paid to it. The ways we mess it up. The neglect it receives. It wasn’t often that communication was highlighted as a success story in this column. (There is of course an exception to this: in late January those of us in the Eastern U.S. and Canada were bracing ourselves for a vicious winter storm and plans were in place in advance to ensure that history did not repeat itself. Good communication in action.)

As we near the end of 2015 what does this resounding theme of communication tell us? Well, in simple terms, it highlights how much further we have to go. With the amazing advances we’ve seen in technology and digital communication, it is startling at how slow we’ve been to adapt. Why haven't our business continuity communication skills and protocols caught up with how our teenagers are communicating? How are we supposed to get our messages out if we’re still turning to the rotary phone?

This brings us to looking a little bit ahead to 2016… now is the time to look at your communication strategy - does it need to be updated, how are your employees communicating with each other, how do you communicate with your third-party suppliers, how do you learn about the latest news? The answers to these questions are key to updating your business continuity strategy.

Imagine if all businesses, organizations, governments, schools, hospitals, and other agencies did this? Imagine how the face of business continuity would change.

Use the links below to revisit any of our 2015 columns: