There are many different reasons why we choose names. Research suggests that when we see a name, we implicitly associate different characteristics with it and use that association, however knowingly, to make unrelated judgements about the competence and suitability of its bearer. A relevant question may not be ‘what’s in a name?’ but rather ‘What signals does my name send – and what does it imply?’
Much of the apparent influence of names and behaviour has been attributed to what’s known as the implicit-egotism effect in that we are generally drawn to the things that most resemble us.
So, what on earth has names got to do with crisis management? Let’s re-visit the last sentence in my first paragraph.
‘JESIP’ is a name that is familiar to all resilience professionals, It’s roots first grew within the fertile soil of our UK emergency services, and it is at this point that some non-blue light crisis managers may be tempted to sigh and begin looking up at the ceiling! Hold fast!
What does the name ‘JESIP’ symbolise or imply for each of us? We all know that it is an acronym for Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Principles but what does that mean? For some responder organisations the meaning behind the name may imply more than it should, some of which may be un-helpful. I’m referring of course to those two words contained within the acronym – ‘Emergency Services’.
Time perhaps to look at the JESIP name through a slightly different lens? How does this look?
• Joint – Responder organisations are managing a crisis together, in response and recovery
• Emergency – Most crises carry an element of emergency
• Services – Focused on delivering response, recovery and the protection of critical services
• Interoperability – Working together in delivering these services, a one team approach
• Principles – Our crisis management glue, a multi-agency discipline of structure and process
The application and thinking around JESIP is always changing, whilst it was originally rooted within UK emergency (blue-light) services in 2012, these roots have now grown into a very large tree. The branches are of all shapes and sizes and display a combination of old and new growth.
The branches represent all diverse responder organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors, all moving together when the weather gets rough, the strength of the tree trunk being in its interoperability.
The point is that we are all one big responder organisation with many different response and recovery capabilities, with JESIP at its root.
I am lucky enough to work with different private sector businesses that are aligned to public sector responder organisations. They carry site and/or function specific crisis management responsibilities and their ‘risk’ footprint within the community ensures close working links with their Local Resilience Fora. When working with these businesses, I am struck by the quick understanding and readiness to embed JESIP within their crisis management plans. One Senior Manager quoted to me:
We have to protect our business, reputation and share price in a crisis whilst also meeting our health & safety and general crisis responsibilities. JESIP gives us a framework, structure and key operating tools that we can adapt to keep us right. It provides our business with assurance in responding to a crisis. We have a lot to lose!
Non- blue light public and private sector responder organisations are increasingly realising the business benefits that JESIP offers them and their partner organisations. It is perhaps an affirmation of the true generic nature of JESIP in that it really does appeal to the many and not just the few. Some of the organisations I work with have been through a range of crises and for them, JESIP just makes plain common sense. The language, symbolism and imagery behind the brand is immaterial, all of these are adaptable, it is the core of the product and the experience that sits behind it that really matters.