Je suis un écrivain
Je suis libre de penser
Je suis Charlie.
I am a writer
I am free to think
I am Charlie
The global images of solidarity these past few days have been impressive don’t you think?
This post is both an expression of support for the victims of the appalling events in Paris – but also something of a hope for the way in which the BC and resilience community will respond to such events.
A long time ago I had first-hand experience of a siege and its aftermath. It was an interesting learning period and profoundly changed the way I approached the practice of BC thereafter. Fortunately none of our people were killed, but some were threatened by the gunman and these people will often needa our thoughts and support to recover.
The international response to the attacks in Paris is perhaps a reflection of the increased incidence of these incidents around the world. They are no longer isolate, local events – but incidents where we can all sympathise and empathise. Just prior to Christmas 2014 there was a siege incident in Sydney where innocent people were killed. Again I saw first hand the impact on a colleague who was working at a site in the area, caught in the lockdown and distressed by the rumours and misinformation that flows from the non-stop news coverage of these events.
The solidarity of the Sydney community was reflected in a massive floral tribute rather than the street marching we saw in Paris this week. A couple of months earlier the attacks in Ottawa draw the world’s attention to that city. No doubt there are numerous other cities that could be added to this list.
If you work in risk, BC or resilience then I would encourage you to be aware of these incidents, and critically evaluate your own organisations ability to cope. Most importantly look at how it impacts your people and communities, not just how it disrupts your processing.
But please do not use these as the rallying call for resources for your programme.
For many years it was common for high impact, low probability events to be considered the rationale for investment in Business Continuity. If we seek to promote a wider concept of resilience then shouldn’t we be embracing a wider array if impacts? Hopefully the higher frequency types of disruption to start with.
One of the downsides to that old way of promoting BC as the Department of Unlikely Events was a tendency to view BC practitioners as a form of corporate “Cassandra”. In Greek mythology Cassandra was given the power of prophesy, but cursed in that the people would never believe her. In the corporate context these BC folks did not always have the vision to claim prophesy – but certainly they inherited the curse of being ignored.
The clear sentiment being expressed in the aftermath of this weeks events is that people will not give in and do not want to live in fear. That is embodied in the “Je suis Charlie” trend.
We also need to learn that fear is not a good motivator to invest in preparedness either.
Je ne suis pas Cassandra
Will you share how you are using these incidents to learn and develop your programme?