Monday 21 September 2020

It’s lovely to be writing my first My View blog as ALARM’s newest Board Director. I’ve greatly benefitted from ALARM over the years and I am delighted to be even more involved now.

I’ve been reflecting on personal lessons learnt during the strange circumstances of recent months and I’m sure many of your will resonate with this. Perhaps we’ve found a renewed appreciation of just how important people are to us? Thinking about this recently, I had to smile when I read Wayne Rigby’s opener to August stronger: It’s all about people. Whether thinking about close family and friends or our network of colleagues, we all missed each other terribly, especially in those initial months when COVID-19 restrictions were significant and tough to deal with. There have understandably been many blogs and articles on personal resilience and physical and mental wellbeing, but it’s importance of teamwork and collaboration that has been on my mind.

Colleagues who know me well can tell you how much I enjoy my garden. Working from home has certainly meant I’ve seen a lot more of it that I expected this year. Whilst my gardening is largely a solo effort (husband preferring the golf course), I’ve been fascinated by the teamwork evident all around. We have 18 different types of birds regularly feasting on the seeds provided. What is so interesting to observe though is their interaction. Whether its bluebirds raiding and running, sparrows arriving for family bath time or goldfinches commandeering the chatter, they work tirelessly together in the common effort to detect/alert others to the emergence of a predator. Their diversity is notable, individual priorities are set aside and even robin seems to be less territorial these days. Watching our feathered friends is a sure lesson in the benefits of collaboration.

So, what about our teamworking as risk management professionals? Being alert to risk and opportunity is at the heart of what we do and perhaps more importantly what we support others do. At Renfrewshire, I know there is no way I could be effective if I was flying solo all the time. Collaborating intensely over the past few months with colleagues from civil contingencies, business continuity and health and safety specialties has reinforced the importance of people, appreciating other’s skills and working together with a shared vision.

I’m sure like me, you will have missed our physical meeting at the ALARM Conference, but let’s be in no doubt that we are still here for each other, we are only a call away.

Karen Locke, Risk Manager, Renfrewshire Council and ALARM Board Director.

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