By Rob High
The tragic recent passing of Queen Elizabeth II has reminded all of us of the remarkable nature of her 70-year reign. She remained a shining example of dedication and resilience for the United Kingdom and a global symbol of stability throughout our entire lives. Her passing has sent shockwaves across the globe, and it marks the end of an era in British history.
As the theme for this year’s BCI is 24 hours of resilience, the sad loss of the Queen made me think about what a resilient and amazing leader she’s been for Britain and the Commonwealth. In particular, these 5 things stood out:
1. The Importance of Communication
The Queen consistently communicated with her subjects in the UK and across the commonwealth. Her position of power meant she was dealing with difficult situations and conflicts that required her to give powerful speeches that would keep her people, and those affected by disasters, strong and help them face hardships together.
Within our crisis communications field I am sure all of us are aware that communication is absolutely critical when it comes to saving lives or just ensuring business as usual during an emerging event. Getting the right message to the right people at the right time can be the difference between an all out disaster and a near miss. Even through the darkest times the Queen communicated with her people openly and honestly acting as a figurehead and true leader for people to rally behind.
2. The Importance of Collaboration and Understanding
Arguably the Queen’s most important role was being a diplomatic representative. Her charisma, wit, and integrity allowed her to charm heads of state across the globe, promoting stronger bonds and positive relationships between nations.
In terms of the importance of resilience within an Enterprise having a leader with the ability to cross departmental or organisational boundaries is one of the key elements of a successful strategy.
3. Flexibility and Being Able to Adapt to Change
Having ruled for 70 years it is easy to forget that the Queen was not meant for the throne originally. Though she was raised as a royal family member that was not her responsibility to bear until her uncle Edward VIII abdicated in 1936 which meant her father was heir to the throne. Despite this, in 1952 after the death of her father, George VII, she became a Queen that even the most unwavering anti-monarchists found hard to criticise.
The admiration she has received comes greatly due to her integrity and stoicism during public addresses, but the Queen also knew how to be flexible, showing a softer and more humours side when needed which reminded everyone that she was not just a strong leader
“I think it’s fair to say that the American people are quite fond of the royal family. They like them much better than their own politicians.” – President Barack Obama.
As Crisis Communications professionals our customers often tell us that their ability to be agile and flexible in the face of an incident and to continue to do their jobs often under extreme duress is a vital quality. The Queen was often seen meeting different subjects from all walks of life and backgrounds both as part of state visits and in the local areas around Windsor, Balmoral and Sandringham.
4. Enduring Personal Tragedy
The life of a Royal may be filled with glamour, but it is certainly not without its hardships. Thrust into rulership through the death of her father the Queen never failed to stay strong for her people, keeping her own troubles and tribulations private. She did not allow herself to get swept up in scandals and extremely negative tabloid publicity regarding family members, nor did she ever opt to retaliate against those who spoke of her loved ones in such ways. She knew that a great leader has to put the needs of their people and country above their own.
It’s easy to forget in the midst of a critical event that our leaders are people too – and the ability to continue to lead and do it well within a stressful situation whilst carrying your own emotional losses is not an easy task. The Queen often put the good of the realm ahead of her personal feelings as a selfless and dedicated monarch. For me personally that is the textbook definition of selfless leadership.
5. The Value of Integrity
One of her Majesty’s best qualities was her integrity. Despite being caught up in many tabloid scandals within her large family she always maintained a dignified silence.
Moreover, she remained politically neutral throughout her reign. Failing to do so could heavily sway public opinion and undermine the UK’s democracy and at worst cause division in the country which could boil up and give rise to inner conflicts. Like the true leader she was the Queen was able to manage a large realm and the many diverse opinions and backgrounds within it.
Even those who don’t consider themselves royalists have added to the public plaudits for the Queen and its a testament to her high levels of personal integrity that we’ve seen this happen. Whatever professional field we work within I think striving to have high integrity across our organisations is a goal we all share.
Certainly all of us here at Genasys were keenly aware of what a loss to the world Queen Elizabeth passing is. Here like the rest of the world we are mourning the loss of a great woman of our time.
RIP Queen Elizabeth II (1926-2022)
Rob High has over 12 years of experience leading EMEA sales teams in the Crisis Communications field. He is passionate and committed to improving the Crisis Communication strategy of Enterprise customers. Rob will be available to meet with customers old and new at this year’s BCI event. Rob heads up the European sales team for the SaaS division of Genasys.