Sometimes the best journey is the one where you don’t stick to the straight and narrow. So rather than writing about the more traditional topics at the BCI World Conference (early November), I thought I’d share my thoughts on what got my brain going in a different direction.

The art of managing, not controlling

I’ve been facilitating BC Exercises for well over 10 years now and it continues to amaze me how the CMT Leader stresses and strains over trying to control everything.

As obvious as it sounds, it took a blind man (Steve Cunningham) to make me see the true difference between controlling and managing. Blind since the age of 12, Steve’s philosophy is that in life you face situations that you actually cannot control. All you can do is take a good hard look at yourself and decide how best to make the situation better. Steve was describing the art of managing – not controlling.

It is true; exercises run much better when the CMT Leader manages through the issues. Listening and allowing people latitude to progress, make mistakes, and rethink will deliver a better and more effective outcome.

Preparing for the worst

Managing is an art form that comes naturally to the few and is a challenge for most. This highlights the need for Exercises – an activity that improves peoples’ experience. Interestingly, James Lythe talked about 3 different approaches for preparing for the worst:

  1. Unprepared;
  2. Prepared for a likely scenario; and
  3. Preparing for worst-case scenario.

The third approach being ‘best practice’. One of James’ examples was the near textbook perfect response by Sir Richard Branson to the 2007 rail crash of the Virgin West Coast (UK) Intercity rail service that killed one person. Branson’s approach was simple and scenario-generic – to get to the scene quickly, deal efficiently with passengers, staff and the media, and be honest.

The most important factor in a resilient organisation

Dennis Flynn talked about the power of positive psychology. An Australian Organisational Resilience study highlighted that CEOs rated their people more important for a resilient organisation than the Board or the organisation’s BCM Process. The study concluded that CEOs felt that Organisational Resilience was a cultural dynamic that came from the people in the organisation, not just processes. Studies showed that recruiting the right people with the right mindset and a proactive outlook improved organisational performance and contributed to a more resilient organisation.

The art of leadership

Finally, the presentation that I found most enthralling was about Leadership by Baroness Eliza Manningham-Buller, the former head of MI5. In response to 911 and ongoing threats from Al-Qaeda, Eliza opened 8 new offices, doubled the size of MI5 and established a training academy. During this period of significant change (2002 – 2007) her leadership qualities were instrumental in driving change and improvement. Her advice:

  • Don’t try to be someone you’re not – especially your predecessor;
  • Take responsibility for your team;
  • Praising people has an incredible effort to benefit ratio; and
  • Look for the humour when things go terribly wrong.

To learn more about how your organisation can holistically manage your BC processes, contact me directly on 03 9017 2119 or via our contact form, and I will happily answer any specific questions you have.