January 25th, 2022 •
Hannah Tichansky • Reading Time: 5minutes
Organizational Resilience: How to Overcome Crisis and Thrive
In an ever-evolving business landscape, change is the only constant. The difference between organizations that thrive under these conditions and those that struggle lies in their ability to adapt. Organizational resilience is an organization’s ability to absorb and adapt to a changing environment, enabling it to deliver its objectives while prospering.
But what does that mean in practice?
It means developing a long-term plan to enhance your risk management strategies and develop an organizational culture that promotes business continuity even in times of crisis.
In an age where the pace of change has accelerated, building organizational resilience requires focusing on adaptation, awareness, preparedness, and dynamic problem-solving strategies.
What Is Organizational Resilience?
At its core, organizational resilience is an organization’s ability to anticipate, prepare for, react to, and adapt to gradual change and immediate disruptions to survive and thrive.
Resilient organizations focus on creating a culture that values:
Regular performance reviews
Other healthy, resilient behaviors
Moreover, resilient organizations aren’t just looking to develop strategies to help them weather storms. They see the storms as opportunities to excel and demonstrate trustworthiness, whereas other organizations may falter.
Why Is It Important?
Organizational resilience isn’t just an asset–it’s a necessity. It goes beyond simply promoting business continuity planning through crises and a rapidly changing world.
Embracing resilience gives organizations a sustainable edge over competitors by allowing them to adapt to extreme conditions and seize instances of unexpected opportunities.
Traditionally, organizations have relied on three pillars to maintain business continuity:
Well-established organizational routines
Room for improvisation
However, business leaders must extend past this basic framework to transform their organizations from reactive to resilient. This supports their ability to thrive, exceed expectations, and define their value against competitors in today’s world of constant change.
What Are the Principles of Organizational Resilience?
Creating an organizational culture that enhances resilience sounds like a complex endeavor. However, there’s a simple five principles framework to define an organization’s necessities to become highly agile, knowledge-based, and resilient.
Like with most things in life, having a playbook to follow helps establish a foundation from which businesses can grow and thrive.
Leadership: It’s imperative that business leaders set the tone and emphasize developing and maintaining healthy, resilient behaviors. Leaders must be able to set priorities, allocate resources, and develop procedures that achieve a balance between risk-taking and risk management.
Culture: Create an organizational culture that fosters shared values, behaviors, and norms. Building resilience through culture involves stressing the promotion of agile and adaptive leaders, encouraging self-sufficiency, promoting a healthy work/life balance, and investing in empowering your employees to inspire innovation.
People: The bedrock of any resilient organization is the people who work within it. Ensuring that every member of an organization is appropriately trained, motivated, led, and empowered will increase their preparedness and ability to respond and adapt to changes and unforeseen circumstances.
Systems: Having systems to adapt to and support the rapidly changing work environment is essential. Top companies worldwide are becoming more agile and adaptable by allowing their employees to work from various locations (i.e., from home, co-working spaces, or different offices) while ensuring they have solid and collaborative tech tools and systems to support this distributed work style.
Settings: While allowing for a distributed and connected work style, it’s equally important to focus on workplace security and safety. Organizations must undertake a comprehensive assessment to identify high-risk locations from operational and people standpoints.
Resilient organizations adopt the five principles to guide decisions and ensure business continuity. This framework focuses on supporting the people that power the organization, creating an overarching strategy for continuity planning, adapting the systems that underpin operations, reworking their supply chain and operational network, and enhancing the partner and customer ecosystem to ensure its alignment with business goals.
Organizational Resilience Examples
Organizational resilience is more than just the latest buzzword in the business world. It’s become necessary as unprecedented changes have occurred in our world over the past few years.
Take the recent pandemic, for example.
The COVID-19 outbreak was the worst pandemic our world experienced since the H1N1 pandemic of 1918-1920, but the consequences of COVID were unlike anything the business world had seen.
Many organizations scrambled to adapt to a new world where Zoom meetings replaced those in the office, and working from home became a necessity rather than an option.
Those who thrived led the pack by adapting to the new status quo through video meetings, more reliance on work management and communication platforms like Slack and Asana, and relying on more flexible work times.
A recent example we can look to has affected business continuity in a different, though no less palpable, way. The War in Ukraine has given rise to significant geopolitical and economic uncertainty, affecting numerous businesses through sanctions and supply chain disruptions.
Another instance of organizational resilience in action includes how Aravo’s Strategic Alignment Framework helped CPG organizations and other industries identify key areas of needed improvement within their third-party risk management programs. This framework provided a blueprint and prioritized next steps for implementing changes.
Using practices of organizational resilience, you can effectively identify internal teams, outlined processes, and implement agile practices based on the unique needs of the customers.
How Organizational Resilience Affects Risk Management
Risk management is a key factor in ensuring business continuity in times of crisis and a world where the pace of change has accelerated.
Equips people to anticipate, respond to, adapt to, and confront challenges
Develop Proper Awareness
Focusing on resilience allows organizations to develop proper awareness of the operational boundaries of their systems. It allows business leaders to continuously monitor changes while identifying risks and threats that could impact enabling operation conditions.
Additionally, it enhances continuity planning by enabling organizations to establish a plan of action if one or more of the enabling conditions are violated.
Develop A Better Organizational Culture
When all members of an organization share the same beliefs, values, behaviors, and norms, you have a solid organizational culture that fosters healthy and resilient behaviors.
Such behaviors include:
Regular performance reviews
Promoting adaptive and agile leaders
Emphasizing a healthy work/life balance
Creating self-sufficient teams
It also involves more investment in hiring talent based on potential rather than specific credentials. This type of culture leads to a better chance at innovation and planning for the unexpected.
Emphasizing resilience equips organizations with the capacity to anticipate and respond effectively to potential issues, adapt swiftly to unforeseen changes, and confront challenges proactively.
This level of preparedness will ensure businesses can continue in times of crisis, like the COVID pandemic, and unexpected challenges, such as weather disruptions. It positions organizations to emerge stronger than before, having predicted how they’ll operate through periods of uncertainty.
Business Continuity through Organizational Resilience
The question becomes not why organizations need to become more resilient but how to get there. The answer involves reworking the way one sees their organization and changing the way they respond.
Organizational resilience can lead to better business continuity by:
Implementing strategies for resilience
Utilizing dynamic problem-solving strategies
Being prepared to address and overcome primary concerns as they emerge
Implementing some of the strategies we’ve discussed, such as following the five-pillar framework and focusing on the five principles of organizational resilience, will give business leaders confidence that their organization can survive crises.
By constantly monitoring the progress of a business’s resilience, leaders can take swift action to improve and adapt as necessary.
Utilize Dynamic Problem-Solving
Dynamic problem-solving strategies such as adaptability, agility, and a proactive approach to addressing the diverse challenges and disruptions an organization may encounter allow for better business continuity and planning.
Rather than wait for a new normal when a disruption occurs, resilient organizations will lead the charge in creating the new normal.
Resilient organizations address and overcome primary concerns as they emerge rather than react to them after they’ve affected operations.
Many challenges currently facing organizations, such as lack of talent, having a remote and hybrid workforce, or cyberattacks, can be dealt with head-on so long as an organization remains focused on adaptability, agility, and responsiveness.
Fostering a culture of resilience can encourage innovation and adaptability in the organization.
Following the same old rulebook for decades won’t get you far in today’s rapidly changing world. Organizations that allow for self-sufficient teams and focus on hiring talent based on their potential will have a better formula for innovation than those who only hire based on credentials and keep their employees bound by restrictive practices.
Organizational resilience is the new normal for organizations that want to be successful industry leaders. It represents a proactive approach to business, preparing for unforeseen challenges that could significantly impact business continuity.
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