November 1, 2011

Is your organization resilient? It’s a loaded question.

In this edition:

In the face of current market conditions and fierce competition across all segments, the health of an organization depends on its resilience.

Faced with the same problem, two people may react very differently, sometimes by adopting totally opposite attitudes. The same goes for businesses: Faced with a new risk or problem, the prevailing attitude of one organization may be totally different from that of its competitors. This could either translate into success or failure. And so every organization wants to ensure that it can quickly adopt the best attitude to be more resilient. But it’s not an easy thing to do.

We will explore the complex topic of resilience by discussing the following points: What is organizational resilience? What is its importance? What are its advantages? How can it be assessed and improved?

Resilience in business: What does it mean exactly?

Resilience is the ability to overcome difficulties by adapting quickly and positively to risk and new situations. At the organizational level:

  • It is the ability to overcome unexpected events by being flexible and to devise various actionable plans.
  • A thoroughly resilient organization can gain a new impetus in a crisis without losing its ability to improve and by drawing lessons from its experience.
  • This involves creativity, as well as the willingness to accept a period of uncertainty as regards the future of the company.
  • This goes beyond risk management since it relates to sound governance and careful strategic planning.

What is the importance of being a resilient company?

  • Resilience plays a key role, because of the current intense and complex market conditions, rapid and multiple changes, etc. Long-term plans quickly become obsolete or unsuitable and it becomes therefore difficult to foresee actions and opportunities.
  • In tough economic times, the most resilient companies will more easily overcome economic setbacks.
  • An international study revealed that a company’s lack of resilience destroys employees’ sense of responsibility towards the company’s performance and impacts their sense of belonging, as well as corporate culture.

What are the advantages of organizational resilience?

  • A greater appreciation of risk.
  • An opportunity to improve control procedures and to more effectively prevent negative consequences arising from risk.
  • A stronger corporate culture that is more widely supported by employees.
  • A resilient company favours constructive views in the face of crisis or change, and helps avoid the usual negative reactions to market and business challenges.

How to assess a company’s resilience?

  • It is important to note that a resilience assessment is always dependent on the criteria used. Solid organizational resilience fulfils the following criteria based on:
  • Providing a clear and well – communicated corporate vision and mission;
  • Using effective tools to measure employee satisfaction and development (e.g. surveys, performance reviews, etc.);
  • Implementing tools to encourage sharing and collaboration among employees;
  • Circulating information on new trends and ways of doing things in the industry;
  • Sharing information of corporate performance, as well as some competitive information to do benchmarking and identify areas for improvement;
  • Using effective tools to measure customer satisfaction.

How to improve a company’s resilience?

  • Increase employees’ commitment level: A study concluded that employees highly committed to corporate objectives and issues had greater resilience when facing major challenges. Enable employee participation in projects and the research of new ideas and solutions to face challenges or risk; employees must feel that they have management’s trust in order to adopt a positive and confident attitude.
  • Foster sound corporate values: A European study conducted in 2007 revealed that some values encouraged by companies, such as solidarity among employees, common processes and procedures implemented across the organization and positivism, as well a s employee s’ individual consideration and recognition, favour organizational resilience.
  • Implement tools to efficiently measure customer and employee satisfaction, as well as the company’s and its competitor’s performance level.

Several studies have demonstrated that organizational resilience largely depends on management resilience. A manager’s leadership and resilience serve as the starting point to assess the entire team’s resilience and, over the long term, the entire organization’s resilience.

Conclusion

Resilience—at both the individual and organizational levels—should not be taken lightly. In a crisis or in the current volatile market, the capacity for resilience may ensure your company’s future and help you achieve a favourable competitive position. It is therefore important to understand the whys and wherefores, and to recognize its importance within your organization. Resiliency does not happen overnight. You and your managers now need to become aware of this issue within your organization.

To find out more about your company’s level of resilience, visit our website and fill out our questionnaire. You will benefit from a free analysis of the issues facing your company with regard to its resilience level.


How to improve one’s personal resilience?

  • Set short-term objectives for oneself and one’s group of employees to be constantly on the move and to put forth sustained effort.
  • Develop an extensive contact network to broaden market knowledge and facilitate information gathering on new trends, ways of doing things or competitors.
  • Try not to be too inflexible as a manager; promote the idea that change is inevitable and can be beneficial.
  • Make decisions: Indecision is detrimental to taking position and adapting quickly; it does not foster strong adaptation skills.

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