Happy New Year! May 2018 be fulfilling and successful, both personally and commercially for you and yours.
We all recognise that 2017 had its tragedies and challenges, and my home city of London bears new scars and losses on a sobering scale including Grenfell Tower, Westminster, London Bridge and Borough Market.
There were many successes too and the security services foiled innumerable terrorist plots against us, preventing yet more hideous death and destruction. We owe them all our appreciation and deep thanks.
Christmas and the end of last year would seem to have been populated by a series of smaller-scale incidents, no less personally impactful because of their scale, nor less devastating to those involved, their families and friends.
The terrible sea-plane crash in Australia where six people lost their lives including Richard Cousins and his family and the pilot of the plane, is but one terrible incident. Richard was an international businessman of very high standing; a man who took a company, Compass, from a very low base to one that had worldwide importance employing thousands and securing their lives and well-being.
It would be easy, as a defence mechanism, to shrug such incidents off as the unavoidable fickle finger of fate and it does lend a perverse form of comfort. But that is, and never was, enough.
For those of us who have responsibilities for others, their lives, employment, and well-being we have the additional responsibility of ensuring that, as far as possible, we have taken every step available to protect them.
The looming prospect of GDPR, in force from May 2018, has concentrated many minds and the surge in interest and enquiries towards the end of the year was quite remarkable. A bit late but there is still time to get ready and comply!
In addition to cyber security, there is also the day to day assurance and communication fundamental running a successful, resilient organisation. The sudden loss of a Chief Executive can be fatal to an organisation, the failure to communicate interim measures and reassurances can engender chaos.
It is not just major catastrophic events, such as a terrorist attack, that can deal a fatal blow but so too can the accumulation of events.
Business continuity and resilience, and community resilience are totally inter related. Programmes and processes exist to help organisations of all sizes, particularly SME’s, to achieve their goals. Pride should not come before a fall – ask for help.
May I wish you all a safe, successful and prosperous New Year in 2018.
Former Statutory Deputy Mayor of London