Building organisational resilience

Research and industry group Resilient Organisations has identified 13 indicators that are essential reading for business leaders in changing times.

Taken together, they are a neat summation of best practice in many interrelated areas, and it’s no surprise to see leadership and culture, networks, and change readiness at the centre.

Applying the indicators to your organisation is a worthwhile process to go through – as well as identifying the organisations, people and situations you need to be resilient to.

Asking yourself ‘resilient to what?’ is a good place to start mapping both the risks and opportunities for your organisation.

At the macro level, we are all susceptible to world events, the international markets, as well as shifts in our sectors nationally and locally. We are also intrinsically tied to the personal resilience of our customers and our staff.

Within this eco-system, look at how your organisation is faring in cultivating resilience in the following areas:

• Leadership: Strong crisis leadership to provide good management and decision making during times of crisis, as well as continuous evaluation of strategies and work programs against organisational goals.

• Staff engagement: The engagement and involvement of staff who understand the link between their own work, the organisation's resilience, and its long term success. Staff are empowered and use their skills to solve problems.

• Situation awareness: Staff are encouraged to be vigilant about the organisation, its performance and potential problems. Staff are rewarded for sharing good and bad news about the organisation including early warning signals and these are quickly reported to organisational leaders.

• Decision making: Staff have the appropriate authority to make decisions related to their work and authority is clearly delegated to enable a crisis response. Highly skilled staff are involved, or are able to make, decisions where their specific knowledge adds significant value, or where their involvement will aid implementation.

• Innovation and creativity: Staff are encouraged and rewarded for using their knowledge in novel ways to solve new and existing problems, and for utilising innovative and creative approaches to developing solutions.

• Effective partnerships: An understanding of the relationships and resources the organisation might need to access from other organisations during a crisis, and planning and management to ensure this access.

• Leveraging knowledge: Critical information is stored in a number of formats and locations and staff have access to expert opinions when needed. Roles are shared and staff are trained so that someone will always be able to fill key roles.

• Breaking silos: Minimisation of divisive social, cultural and behavioural barriers, which are most often manifested as communication barriers creating disjointed, disconnected and detrimental ways of working.

• Internal resources: The management and mobilisation of the organisation's resources to ensure its ability to operate during business as usual, as well as being able to provide the extra capacity required during a crisis.

• Unity of purpose: An organisation wide awareness of what the organisation's priorities would be following a crisis, clearly defined at the organisation level, as well as an understanding of the organisation's minimum operating requirements.

• Proactive posture: A strategic and behavioural readiness to respond to early warning signals of change in the organisation's internal and external environment before they escalate into crisis.

• Planning strategies: The development and evaluation of plans and strategies to manage vulnerabilities in relation to the business environment and its stakeholders.

• Stress testing plans: The participation of staff in simulations or scenarios designed to practice response arrangements and validate plans.

Creating awareness is an essential first step in improving resilience, closely followed by developing a plan to strategically weave resilience into your culture and processes. One of the best ways of building organisational resilience into the culture is to strengthen the mindsets of your leaders so they are able to respond positively to tough situations, challenging tasks and demanding people. Talk to us about how you can do it.

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Tags: resilience  

Posted: Friday 28 November 2014

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