Friday, 12 September 2014

Learning from experience by blogging

During my time studying business continuity, we were forced by our lecturers to take an additional module on reflective writing (as part of our personal development) and I really didn’t want to do it. I just couldn’t get my head around the value of exploring my thoughts retrospectively. Why should I use my valuable time in completing what is essentially a diary? Surely whatever I learned from the experience would be felt at the time?
Well it’s no secret that the art of completing a journal or a diary has been around for centuries. Many famous and successful individuals in history in their quieter moments have taken the time to reflect. There must be some value in doing this?

Despite my initial reluctance I started to see the value of reflective writing, particularly in understanding the more complex issues. I quickly realised that my brain wasn’t very efficient at breaking things down in real time and approaching it in this way would help me to understand whatever it was that I needed to know. This often included situations where I couldn’t quite grasp a decision, outcome or even the subtext of a meeting or conversation at work. I felt like my brain was clogged up with information that I could barely remember or even understand. I actually felt a bit suffocated by it and in an industry where looking the part is key, perhaps a little stupid. For me, writing these situations out in black and white created an opportunity to take a second look at the experience.

Over the last couple of years I’ve often struggled to see the big picture in situations right away. I’m also very honest about my lack of understanding when it occurs to me. However, I would regularly watch my friends and colleagues working in business continuity appear to understand concepts and other more complex issues much quicker than me (or at least they sounded like they did!). Surely I’m not always the last to the party? I would share these thoughts with close colleagues and loved ones over a period of time and then I started to recognise that I wasn’t the only one. In fact, even the individuals that initially looked or sounded like they understood frequently didn’t. I found some comfort in realising that I wasn’t alone but I was also deeply disappointed to find that very few of my peers were openly sharing these experiences. Wouldn’t it be valuable if we could share from each other’s learning without the fear of looking foolish? To quote an experienced colleague who I respect a great deal, “there is a real absence of a younger voice in what we do.” They are absolutely right.

The last 12 months for me have been a career development whirlwind in business continuity. I’ve had countless new professional experiences from exams and major incidents to ISO 22301 certifications and work area recovery planning. As you can imagine I’ve arrived at situations that are completely new to me and there’s never been a better time to reflect…cue BlueyedBC.

I created the social media platform called BlueyedBC in November 2013 after being encouraged by a number of senior colleagues to share my writing. I decided to go by this title because I wanted to combine the desire of junior professionals to become the blue-eyed boy or girl in their profession with idea of blue-sky thinking. Since this time the BlueyedBC BlogSpot has received over 7000 hits worldwide with hundreds of professionals from around the world starting to follow each article that is released. The unexpected volume of interest prompted me to release a small eBook on Amazon. It includes a series of anecdotes and thought processes that will hopefully assist other new starters and graduates who are about to embark on their careers. I’m also hoping that it offers some insight for senior BC managers in to the fresh mind of a young professional and how some might view these new experiences on face value. Most importantly, I use a simple, honest and easy to understand voice in my writing as described by several senior industry colleagues who have already publically reviewed the content. I can promise readers a light-hearted jargon-free account of how one might feel during the initial steps of their career in business continuity.

Luke Bird is a Business Continuity Executive at Atos in Glasgow and a regular blogger on his own ‘BlueyedBC’ blog site. You can read his blogs by clicking here or follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

Luke’s eBook ‘BlueyedBC: Business Continuity Management - An insight into the world of business continuity management’ is available online by clicking here.

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