Business Continuity – Keep delivering while building stronger relationships in times of war
Amidst the Israeli startup ecosystem, a dynamic R&D team at CyberSafe101, a subsidiary of HumanT123, faced a crisis during a war outbreak. As personal losses and trauma affected the team, HumanT123 stepped up with emotional support and practical assistance. This article highlights the importance of balancing human welfare with business continuity in times of crisis. It offers practical advice for global teams working with Israeli colleagues and advises Israeli team members on empathetic communication with their colleagues outside the war zone. The article underscores the importance of trust, collaboration, and resilience in navigating challenging times for the success of businesses and the well-being of employees.
“In Tel Aviv, amidst the bustling startup ecosystem, operates a dynamic Research and Development (R&D) team at CyberSafe101—a company that, two years ago, was acquired by the American software giant HumanT123.
With a global workforce of over 12,000 individuals, HumanT123 entrusted its Israeli team with one of its flagship products, a responsibility that involved numerous projects and stakeholders spanning from India to San Francisco, encompassing engineers to senior management.
But then, one Saturday in October, the landscape dramatically changed.
A war erupted in Israel, affecting everyone, including the CyberSafe101 team. Some team members faced personal losses, others were called up for military service, and many were left traumatized by the unfolding events. Israel transitioned into a war zone, thrusting even those in the high-tech industry into an unfamiliar realm, where the immediate focus shifted to the most basic of human needs—physiological well-being and safety.
This abrupt shift in priorities had a profound impact on the spirit of the workforce and their ability to work, leading to a suspension of work and development projects for weeks to come.
As CyberSafe101 grappled with this crisis, HumanT123, their parent company, rallied to support their Israeli colleagues.
They offered emotional support, assumed additional work responsibilities, and even extended invitations for the Israeli team and their families to work from their global offices. In the midst of adversity, HumanT123 placed human welfare above all else and stood firmly behind CyberSafe101.
Three weeks passed, and it was now the final quarter, a crucial period for HumanT123 as a publicly traded company. Workloads were soaring, with the U.S. R&D team struggling to meet deadlines, while their counterparts in India worked tirelessly in double shifts. In Israel, employees slowly began returning to work, but their time was divided between professional commitments, family obligations, and numerous volunteer initiatives aimed at aiding those affected by the crisis.
For HumanT123, the delicate balance between being truly sensitive and caring about the situation and the pressing need for business continuity became paramount. The war showed no signs of abating, and it was imperative for the Israeli team to transition from survival mode to ensure the company’s ongoing operations.”
In today’s ever-evolving tech ecosystem, the scenario we’ve just described is symptomatic of what’s happening across the industry—and not only in the tech sector. Business continuity is a shared goal for all.
Amidst this adversity, human skills are invaluable, and effective communication plays a pivotal role in bringing teams together to support one another while continuing to deliver results.
So how can we achieve this?
Let’s start with advice for global teams on how to work with Israeli colleagues during this difficult time:
1. Caring Connection:
The Israeli team has been enduring the impact of the war for three weeks, and their and loved ones well-being remains their top priority. It’s crucial for everyone working with Israel to acknowledge this reality and approach it with empathy and care. Take the time to inquire about their well-being and show genuine care. Recognize that while attention may gradually shift elsewhere, the Israeli team is still grappling with the immediate effects of the crisis. Humanizing your interactions fosters a stronger sense of support and solidarity.
2. Start with “Why”
When requesting something urgent from your Israeli colleagues, it’s effective to begin by explaining the reasons behind the request. Instead of simply stating, “We need it by Tuesday,” consider framing it as, “This project involves our largest account, and they’ve requested securing the deal before the holiday season. We need it by Tuesday. How can we make it happen?”
Starting with the “why” adds context and enhances buy-in from the Israeli team. It also opens the door for a constructive dialogue.
3. Foster Dialogue:
Encourage open communication by concluding your requests with an invitation for dialogue. For instance, adding “How could that work?” at the end of your sentence shifts the focus to the Israeli team, allowing them to respond with varying perspectives. They might agree to deliver by Monday, propose an alternative timeline, or express challenges they foresee. Each response warrants a different approach, and knowing these responses in advance allows for better planning and adaptation, preventing surprises and delays down the line.
Here are three essential tips to help Israeli team members balance their well-being and contribute effectively to business continuity when communicating with colleagues outside of the war zone:
Recognize that your colleagues, although not in a war zone, have their own concerns, pressures, and personal lives. They may be facing tight deadlines, heavy workloads, or personal commitments like family holidays that they have been eagerly anticipating all year long. Instead of passing judgment or feeling frustrated, approach requests from colleagues with empathy and understanding.
Consider their perspective and acknowledge their need for your input or assistance. Embrace the idea that you want to support your colleagues and contribute to business continuity. Find ways to accommodate their needs while fulfilling your responsibilities.
2.FTR- First Time Right
Given the increased demands on your plate during these days, efficiency becomes paramount. When tasked with a project or request, ensure you have a clear understanding of what is required and when it’s needed. Avoid miscommunication by confirming your understanding.
Respond with something like, “Let me confirm that I’ve got this right. We need to accomplish [task] in [specific manner] by [deadline]. Have I captured it accurately?”
This approach not only prevents misunderstandings but also enables you to deliver more swiftly and accurately and save time.
3.Maintain Transparency and manage expectations
Effective communication is key to preventing misunderstandings. Once you have a clear understanding of the task at hand, engage in a dialogue with your managers or colleagues to discuss how and when you can deliver. Be proactive in providing regular updates on your progress and share any challenges you encounter. If there are any adjustments to timelines or unforeseen obstacles, communicate these changes promptly. Transparency fosters trust and enables your global team to make informed decisions, ultimately strengthening collaboration.
Collaboration across companies is a vital component of success. Strong and trustworthy relationships serve as the bedrock of effective collaboration and are forged through every interaction. However, these relationships can be both damaged and strengthened, particularly while engaging in sensitive times.
It’s crucial for all teams to acknowledge that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, and each person’s concerns and priorities are valid.
The common objective of business continuity should unite everyone. Wars may eventually come to an end, but the enduring value of relationships and building a culture of collaboration remains.
Embracing this mindset is essential for navigating challenging times with resilience, empathy, and effective collaboration, ensuring that the company supports its employees and clients consistently.