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Cybersecurity Awareness Training

Hackers don’t discriminate. Even if you are a non-profit or a charity, they will lock up your systems if they can. Then it’s just a matter of how many Bitcoins you are forced to pay to get them back.

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) understands. In addition to handing out .ca internet addresses, CIRA offers other assistance. One example is a free resource titled: “How to implement cybersecurity awareness training”. 

CIRA explains its purpose as follows: “This guide will help you successfully implement a cybersecurity awareness training program for your organization. These best practices are based on what we’ve learned from helping IT teams from all different types of organizations across Canada deploy training with our Cybersecurity Awareness Training platform.”

According to CIRA, the path to successful training is as follows:
Step 1 - Convince management you need training, yesterday
Step 2 - Evaluate training options
Step 3 - Prep and launch training
Step 4 - Analyze results and take action
Step 5 - Keep cybersecurity top of mind

You can find this guide on the CIRA website. CIRA has other resources as well, some free and some with a fee. Like the Niagara Institute, it’s a great Canadian resource. 

Emails.... We Get Emails...

Blast From The Past


Blast from the Past is a selection of previous BIG Ideas articles that you may not have read, or if you did, may have forgotten how helpful and insightful (i.e., brilliantly written) they were. This article is from 2016. 

Building Organizational Resilience 

The Story
Change. Stress. Resilience. 

We started two weeks ago with a discussion of how change creates stress and of ways stress can be minimized. We moved on to how an individual can effectively deal with stress at wo
rk and at home. We defined the ability to deal with stress as resilience. Today we will consider what non-profits can do to increase organizational resilience.

In speaking about organizational resilience, I am taking advantage of work done by Homewood Human Solutions. Homewood starts its deliberation on resilience with a definition of a resilient workforce:
A resilient workforce is one that performs well under pressure and deals quickly and effectively with change. Employees don’t dwell on failures or roadblocks. Instead they move on and look to the future. They are able to deal with uncertainty and maintain their productivity and good humour despite the frustrations of everyday work life. 

I know what you are thinking: “Oh yah, wouldn’t THAT be nice”. Perhaps with that response in mind, Homewood goes on to observe that: As a manager, you might not have control over adverse economic events or planned organizational changes, but you do have an important role to play in building a resilient team ready for whatever challenges come its way. 

So there is hope, and if you are a manager, the hope is you.

According to Homewood, building resilience on a team or organizational level can be achieved by ensuring these seven things happen:

1. There is clarity of purpose and role
Employees understand the purpose and goals of their team or department and their role. They are also able to link what they do to the objectives of the organization.

2. Employees are trusted
Homewood notes that: When trust is present, employees will feel comfortable: admitting their weaknesses and mistakes; asking for help or advice; taking risks; giving each other the benefit of the doubt before jumping to negative conclusions; focusing on objectives and customers instead of politics and gossip; offering and receiving constructive criticism; sharing ideas; and working collaboratively. Employees who feel that you value, respect, and trust in their abilities are more likely to feel the same way about you. 

3. Workloads are managed 

To help manage employee workload, Homewood puts forward the following ideas: 

  • Involve your team in identifying causes of excessive workload, inefficiencies and developing solutions within the team’s control. 
  • Help your team manage workload by setting clear priorities. Then help people stay focused on what is most important. 
  • Encourage flexible ways of working to meet work and personal priorities. Providing employees with flexibility in where, when, and how they work gives them more control over their work and their lives, reducing stress and building resilience. 
  • Often workload is driven by a concern for doing things the way they’ve always been done. Focus on the results that you want to achieve and encourage creative thinking in your team about how to achieve those results. 

4. Autonomy is encouraged 

Homewood suggests that ways to give more autonomy include:

  • Ask your employees if they have the tools, training, knowledge and resources to “run with it.” If you tend to micromanage – stop. Again, it’s about trust. Let them do what they were hired to do. When you give an assignment, whenever possible let employees decide on the “how.” 
  • Give employees the opportunity to explore new ways of doing things, both within and outside their department. 
  • If an employee tries something and it fails, treat it as a learning experience. Be positive in debriefing the employee; ask her/him questions about what s/he learned and how s/he can use this experience in the future – and don’t criticize or rebuke. The last thing you want is for your employees to fear failure. 
  • Recognize employees who experiment and take initiative. 

5. Team cohesion is fostered

A resilient team is one in which people have a shared sense of purpose and connectedness, says Homewood. It advises that: 

  • Team cohesion can be built through social activities, group trainings, celebrating individual and group achievements, regular informal team get-togethers and creating a culture of mutual trust and respect. Encourage your team to ask each other for assistance. This not only helps create a positive, cooperative environment, but also helps build resilience. Don’t allow disagreements or conflicts to fester. Address issues quickly and make it clear that while you don’t expect people to always get along, you do expect them to work together effectively. 

6. Health and wellness is promoted

Homewood observes that: We are more resilient when we are physically, mentally and emotionally healthy. You can help everyone on your team optimize their health by supporting work-life balance, healthy lifestyles and good stress management techniques. Encourage exercise. 

7. The Boss models resilience 
And finally, advises Homewood, you can’t build a resilient team if you’re not resilient yourself. Your team takes its cues from you, so you must model resilience on a daily basis. Your ability to rise to the occasion, be positive and optimistic and calmly react to stressful situations will help create an unshakable foundation upon which to build personal and organizational success.

The Skinny 
The ideas from Homewood that resonate most for me, relate to trust, flexibility and autonomy. My friend Val Lougheed, founder of Norther Lights Vocational Services, a very successful vocational rehabilitation company now called Agilec, made trust her mantra. NLVS had two policies: The first was “use your best judgement in all situations”; the second was “there will be no other policies”. She also promoted the idea of team members helping each other. And I would be hard-pressed to find an organization that encouraged more autonomy or that demonstrated more flexibility. 

The BIG Idea
So, my BIG Idea for this week is to make resilience an organizational value. When you do your strategic and operational planning, give the idea prominence. Measure the performance of your managers in part around the resilience of their team or departments. And remember, a resilient organization is a productive



Free Resilience Assessment and Report
Imagine Canada is a high-profile advocate and resource for non-profits and charities in Canada. If you want to do a self-assessment of your organization’s resilience and receive a free report charting your nonprofit’s competencies related to risk, governance, accountability and trust, Imagine Canada can help. Go to: https://imaginecanada.ca/en/organizational-resilience .

Constructive Feedback
Reluctant to confront an underperforming employee? Hoping if you just wait long enough, the problem will go away? 

Find help with the Niagara Institute’s free publication “Constructive Feedback: A Manager’s Guide to Giving Feedback That People Actually Want.”

In the introduction, the author explains the reason it was written: “Even with our own fears, anxiety, and discomfort in giving constructive feedback, those around us want - and need it. Most people would rather know where they stand and fix the issue than wait for it to escalate to the point where there are consequences all because someone was afraid to give them feedback. “

Download your copy of Constructive Feedback at the Niagara Institute website under Resources.

June 28-July 2, 2021

In This Edition

COVID Lessons 
Lessons for non-profits as COVID starts to fade. 
Free Resources
You don’t have to pay for help related to organizational resilience, giving constructive feedback and organizing cybersecurity awareness training. Imagine Canada, the Niagara Institute and the Canadian Internet Registration Authority are here to help, for free.
Organizational Resilience
In 2016, Tom wrote about how to enhance the resilience of your organization, an issue that has become top-of-mind during the pandemic.
Summer = Break Time
Newsletters need a hiatus too, or so it seems. Leaving behind a scribbled note, your BIG Ideas newsletter is headed for the beach. Apparently being as illuminating as it thinks it is, takes a toll, and sand and sun are the only antidote. Ever thoughtful though, BIG Ideas joins me in wishing all readers a great summer. We know you deserve it.

​The Story
It’s the end of June 2021. 

75% of adult Canadians have had at least one COVID 19 vaccine and 30% have had two.

As a province and a country, we appear close to moving beyond the pandemic.

The Skinny 
Let’s pause and look at what we learned in the non-profit sector.

Non-profits can do a lot, but not everything, virtually. 
Yes they can, but of course, there is a learning curve, which on occasion is quite long, or in the case of “You’re on Mute”, calls for ongoing prompting.

But there are advantages, like only dressing from the waist up. To be clear, I am not suggesting BIG Ideas readers take a pass on dressing from the waist down. It’s just that you can combine a designer top and a Value Village bottom and only you will know. Be advised however, that to avoid being caught out, it is best to avoid standing until your session is over and you have pressed the red “Leave Meeting” button. If someone suggests a short break, maintain your position or shut off your video.

If some parts of life have gone on, others have not. 
Those missing out include people who are provided with residential support by non-profit organizations and who have faced restrictions in leaving home. Their lack of access to the broader community has weighed heavily on both them and the employees who enter their homes to provide them with assistance in daily living. While my colleague Nancy Collins and I have been helping some residential-providers plan for the future, we have heard the voices of residents saying how much they missed getting out, seeing their friends and doing things together.

Many people have risen to the occasion. 
One such person, who works for a non-profit serving people with intellectual challenges, organized regular on-line activities that connected those watching from their homes to people with interesting stories to tell, some of whom were located around the world. She is hopeful that when COVID is over, she can continue to do so. Her work colleagues applauded her efforts and recommended she be given the latitude to carry on.

The BIG Idea
Dealing with challenges like COVID is all about resilience. For more on organizational resilience, see two more articles below.​​​​​​