Business Resilience – Recovering from Cumbria Floods
Following the floods of 5th Dec 2015, I worked personally with over 50 different businesses in the northern Lake District, Cumbria. Together we explored their futures, planned how to keep going and tried to work out how to turn the disaster into an advantage.
The number of businesses affected by Storm Desmond’s flooding and subsequent infrastructure damage runs into the 1000’s. Cumbria relies on its small businesses – they are the lifeblood of its economy.
Throughout this period I was astounded by the resilience of these amazing people. Small business owners all, they not only picked up their own livelihoods but were absolutely focused on the wellbeing of their staff and the people around them.
Without exception every business I spoke to in the initial aftermath stated that ‘there are so many worse off that we are,’ even when the damage to their business (and often homes too) was catastrophic.
On top of this was an awareness that if they talked too much about quite how dreadful it had really been, then the potential fall out on the tourism trade upon which so many of them rely, would be even more catastrophic than it already is.
So quietly, together they have just got on with it.
These businesses demonstrated genuine personal and business resilience. This was no theoretical exercise. Livelihoods and jobs were and in some cases still are on the line.
This disaster has brought out depths of reserve in people that they never knew they had. It has developed strength, community and identity. The performance levels of everyone in each of these businesses has skyrocketed. Innovation has gone through the roof. There will of course be some businesses that, sadly, will not make it through the disaster. But not through lack of trying.
So how can you develop business resilience without having to go through a crisis?
Having worked with so many businesses both personally and through my associate network, we have observed four key areas that we believe are fundamental in developing business resilience. These are:
- Effective leadership – the successfully resilient businesses have often had leaders who are the driving force but not the whip hand. They have believed in their staff and give them responsibility but not blamed if it doesn’t quite go to plan. They have been ready to be creative/innovative with opportunities and not afraid to ask for help.
- There has been a fundamental belief in the future success and purpose of the business at all levels, with staff and leaders alike valuing each other and investing themselves in the future of the business.
- Individual responsibility and creativity at all levels of the business with a support network.
- A clear knowledge of what they are trying to achieve with the business, what they need to do and then just doing it over and again. In business terms; a clear strategy, action plan and delivery.
So if you are looking to develop your business resilience, look no further than a resilience training programme made here in Cumbria. We have the experience, the knowledge and can give you some pretty realistic scenarios to help your business be ready for whatever the future brings and in the meantime improve its performance.Back to blog