Organisations don’t exist in a vacuum
The neighbourhood in which I live and work has recently been undergoing some major infrastructure work which has tested our community resilience. Our Victorian sewage system is being replaced and along with it many of the buried services along the same major transport route leading from the city centre. Never pleasant, on top of developments in the recent past including a new transport interchange and a
But city centre living has
This virtuous circle is under a little stress at the moment with all of the disruptions which led me to think about how important community resilience is to organisations and how it can be strengthened.
The local MP Christine Jardine called a community meeting to discuss the ongoing disruption, with local businesses, residents, businesses and City council officials all invited. Understanding each other’s perspectives, why certain approaches had been taken and its impact was a cathartic experience for the 30 plus attendees. A local café Cuchina LC opened especially for the meeting, like other small businesses it was directly impacted by the disruption with a loss of footfall by some 30% in the area. Being a good local citizen is
- build a loyal customer base, who know they can rely on you in times of need;
- strengthen your relationship with staff who live locally;
- generate positive word of mouth for your business,
throughproviding services during difficult times or helping get things back to normal; and
- develop partnerships with other forward-thinking organisations, who may be future customers or partners.
Another recent example of this was a business MA Ventures in the Scottish Highlands using surplus tarmac to repair potholes in roads around his community that the local council did not have the budget to repair. The business had previously had a couple of incidents with potholes which had caused costly damage and also had to pay to dispose of the surplus material left over at the end of contracts. It might not
Creating a tipping point.
Getting involved doesn’t always need facilities or resources, simple things can make a real
Probably the most positive effect of engaging with the local community was creating a shared spirit by getting to know each other better. If there is a problem it’s a lot easier to approach someone you know, only yesterday one of the local shops asked me for a recommendation for a tradesman as they knew we had recently had some work done. Many towns and cities in the UK now have business improvement districts (BID’s) where local organisations have voted for an additional levy and get access to more central funding to improve the local district and also act as a
Building community resilience.
The recent poor weather in the UK exposed many weaknesses in our response to disruption, building community resilience is one concrete way we can create a more resilient organisation. By preparing ahead of disruption, communities and the organisations they contain can resist disruption, respond effectively and make positive changes as a result. How are you working to build your community resilience?
Gladwell, M., 2000. The Tipping Point. Little, Brown.
Civil engineering boss offers free pothole filling service http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-43751119
BIDS Scotland www.bids-scotland.com
The author, Paul Hancock is a Resilience Consultant at 360 Resilience Ltd. 360resilience.com