Organisational ResilienceWebinarsInfluencing a culture of resilience through engagement

True organizational resilience relies on people having the ability to deliver the organization’s vision and brand promise, no matter the crisis. A resilience program that doesn’t engage people won’t be able to deliver those expected outcomes.

Before you start building a culture of resilience in your company, ask yourself:

  • Do you understand the lay of the land and the key stakeholders that sit within your organization?
  • Do you understand the critical ingredients in building influence and getting engagement right?
  • Are people’s eyes glazing over when you start talking about business continuity or resilience?

Marcus Vaughan, cofounder of iluminr, and James Green, cofounder of Illuminate Advisory hosted this webinar to discuss the engagement techniques that will help you influence a culture of resilience across your organization. It was an hour-long discussion, but in true iluminr style, we’ve cut this down into a snackable bite-sized blog. Here we go!

Understanding how your organization perceives resilience roles is a good sign of engagement

What’s in your job title? Is it Resilience or business continuity? Or both? Job titles are important, as it determines how people might perceive your role within the organization. Are you tasked with a focus on business continuity? Or tasked with a more holistic approach to resilience? The answer will give you some insights on the perception of resilience at your organization. Ensure your title reflects the value you are driving for the organization.

Also, keep in mind, depending on their experiences with resilience in the past, your stakeholders may associate positive or negative emotions when they think about resilience, risk and business continuity. Understanding that will help you to adapt your approach.

Marcus says:

“Words do matter in terms of driving perception. There may be a positive or negative connotation associated with resilience and business continuity. There’s a lot being reshaped in the world of resilience right now and we need to rethink how we’re positioning ourselves. Right down to our job titles”

Understand the context of your organization before engaging stakeholders in resilience

If you’ve been in your role and organization for a long time, then you probably have a very clear understanding of the context and the lay of the land. The flip side is that you may not have fresh eyes on how your resilience program is actually perceived. New starters coming into your team might be able to give you their perspective, so keep an open mind if this conversation does take place.

If you’re starting at a new organization, you’ll have a bit of research to do. Make it your mission to understand what’s been done in terms of resilience across the organization, what it looked like for stakeholders, and what the level of engagement was.

Here’s a scenario: You’ve just started at a new organization, and quickly notice that people are routinely declining meetings, constantly rescheduling, not showing, or delegating to less senior team members. That’s a pretty clear signal that you’ve got some work to do to re-engage them. That typically takes time, trust and consistency in terms of your engagement, but getting an early understanding of what that looks like is really critical.

Two things you can do to get the lay of the land:

  1. Ask the point-blank question: Meet with leaders to get a sense of what they want to see. Get some time with the executive team, or even an SVP, and right out ask them: what do you want to see from an engagement perspective? What’s worked, and what specifically don’t you want to see? You might get told point blank that they never want to see another powerpoint presentation. Now you know what NOT to do.
  2. Look at the data: We’re talking hard and soft metrics. Read the body language at preliminary meetings. Understand what has been rolled out before. What has worked? What has not worked? Are tabletops too long? If so, does a new approach need to be considered? Has the audience checked out of providing BIA inputs as they’ve never seen a valuable output? These are important questions and will help you look for different ways to engage your audience.

Understand the culture of your organization.

Understanding an organization’s culture can be one of the biggest indicators of whether your resilience programs thrive or fail.

Here’s an example: A major tech company will operate very differently from a federal government agency. Understanding the differences in cultures between companies means you can show up differently. You can adjust your engagement and personal style to fit within the organizational culture if you intend to hang around for the foreseeable future.

James says:

“It’s really important to know your audience and different stakeholders. Even better to understand their personality profile. You would do well to present the same information in different ways based on what you know about your audience’s preferences. Creating engagement by connecting with people and understanding their behaviours, will help to achieve cut through when sharing information with them.”

Aligning with stakeholders: What’s in it for me?

What does value look like for your audience when it comes to your resilience program? How does it directly impact them, and what will they need to do to get the job done throughout the year? Most importantly, what’s in it for them?

Understanding the drivers and weaving them into your conversations will help you drive engagement and participation in your program. Some key drivers to consider could be:

  1. Is there a link between resilience and personal drivers or pain points, such as key metrics or KPIs that may form part of their compensation?
  2. How does the program positively impact their team’s welfare and ability to achieve functional objectives?
  3. How does their participation transform their ability to drive company objectives?

If you can walk into any meeting to discuss a particular activity or engagement and start from a ‘what’s in it for me’ perspective, you’ll be able to get to the point quickly. Ask yourself: How do I align activities in my resilience program with everyone’s objectives?

Two quick wins to building engagement

  1. Build relationships. If the only time you’re reaching out to stakeholders, or other departments is when you need something from them. They’ll know it. Instead, invest in people and find ways you can help them. That will open a line of communication that builds bridges and leads to champions. After all, who’s going to tell you that your idea of running a Hurricane tabletop because you’re based in Florida could actually shorten your career within the organization? Your champion will.
  2. Put time back in people’s calendars. We’re living in the Tiktok era where people’s attention span is getting drastically shorter. If you try to book 3 hours for a tabletop exercise in your executive’s calendar, they’re going to be a no-show, or their interest level will wane early into the exercise. Trim that tabletop down to 15 minutes, and your team will not only be more likely to attend, you’ll see engagement come to life. Add in gamification and media, and that engagement level rises.


That’s a wrap! Check out the replay above for the full content.

If you want to see how iluminr is helping resilience leaders and practitioners build engagement, while putting time back in people’s calendars, check out Microsimulations, or attend a group demo here.