Continuity Contributors

Business resilience? Or Business reliance?

You’re on holiday, sat by the pool ‘chilling out’… and all of a sudden you hear it! The oh-so-important person - talking far too loudly - on a business call!

You’re on holiday, sat by the pool ‘chilling out’…

…or on the beach (getting sand in unmentionable places)… and all of a sudden you hear it! The oh-so-important person – talking far too loudly – on a business call!

As a seasoned resilience professional I know better than most that some matters are critical to a business, and have to be carried out no matter what!  

But, being forced to listen to some of the calls, it sounds more like people not letting go; either because they don’t have the infrastructure to do so, or because they don’t trust the people they’ve left ‘holding the fort’


Paul suggests listening to this song to accompany reading this post!

Business resilience becomes business reliance – the person supposedly on holiday, making decisions whilst they sip their pina colada (umbrella and cherry optional).

People watching

Mrs K and I weren’t working; we were enjoying a well-earned break. KCL Towers was in the very capable hands of someone we trust, who had the power to make appropriate decisions as and when necessary. Yes, we had a back-up plan for extreme emergencies, but we trusted our own business resilience. We’d prepared and planned for the event.

Why wouldn’t you!

On numerous occasions, our tranquillity was interrupted by the ringing mobile of the ‘holiday business VIP’ sat by the pool; most of whom – and I don’t want to appear sexist here – were male.

Equally noticeable, they all seemed to be of a similar age and profile – heads or owners of their business. The ‘wives’ appeared to be embarrassed and there were lots of ‘stares’ going on in an attempt to gain attention and get calls terminated quickly.

What’s the story morning glory?

I’m not an eavesdropper and I couldn’t be less interested in hearing business talk while I’m sipping my sex on the beach (that’s a cocktail…!), but years of communicating with people in emergencies means I have highly developed listening and observation skills. And these VIPs are always SO loud!

The common trait I noticed was these people couldn’t help ‘checking up on things’ at work. To me this demonstrated a clear lack of resilience. In the ‘it takes a village’ resilience models we work to, these VIPs are creating problems for themselves where there need be none. Delegation is key to being able to continue business as usual no matter what… to a happy marriage… and to having a relaxing and restorative holiday.

Gentle on my mind
Talking to a friend, she said her husband (a boss) rings the office at 15:00 hours every day while he’s on holiday.

Some years ago, while visiting the World War Two sites in France – an immensely powerful and moving experience – someone on the coach (you guessed it, a man) made and received business calls the entire journey. The tour operator – clearly dismayed by this particular VIP’s lack of sensitivity – relayed a story of someone who ran their business, whilst visiting historical scenes, to the annoyance of those paying their respects, in an attempt to shame him. It didn’t work…

David Cassidy sang:

‘Any fool can see… that she’s lookin’ through the eyes of love’

Part of what made me uncomfortable about the business VIPs’ attitude and insistent devotion to business, was the way their ‘wives’ looked; bored, neglected and eager for attention from their loved one.

None of the calls I heard appeared to be life or death business decisions. There didn’t appear to be a crisis – and I know a lot about how crises sound and play out. These calls all sounded mundane and routine.

Is a lot of the making and receiving of calls on holiday an ego thing? Is it important to other people around the VIP that they look indispensible? Or is it those back in the office they’re trying to convince that they can’t manage without them?

Adventure of a lifetime
I know this has turned into a little bit of a rant, but there is a business and a life story in this experience:

The business resilience (or lack of it) is apparent in the personality dependence of the person ‘checking up’ on things. If you can’t let go of any decision, how will things pan out when the crisis hits? Will the VIP trust their people in charge to make the right decisions – or indeed any decisions – and will their people have some degree of decision inertia, because the boss isn’t there to make the decision for them?

The life experience. Business may be more than a means to making a living, but developing better business capabilities and allowing others to grow, will enable the benefits of hard work and give you more time to enjoy and experience ‘time off’

Life is for living, and work plays a part in that. But there’s a time and place for everything and ‘routine’ business calls by the pool or on the beach – as Shania Twain once proclaimed:

That don’t impress me much!

Paul Kudray

A truly down to earth, grounded individual who is a resilience professional. Helping people and organizations to build and maintain their capabilities to respond to and recover from, crisis, emergencies or disasters. Paul is the ‘resilience maverick’ because he is not like the average resilience professional. Paul wants to help everyone be a bit more resilient because they can!

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