Five Steps to Prepare Your Organization
We are in an age of disruption, with businesses facing challenges from every direction. The only way for organizations to survive is to become resilient—able to respond quickly and effectively when faced with a crisis. But building a resilient organization isn’t easy. It requires careful planning, thoughtful strategies, and a commitment from leaders at all levels. Here are five key steps for leaders to take to build a resilient organization.
1) Viewing Resilience as a Strategic Opportunity and Operational Imperative:
Leaders must understand that resilience is not just something that needs attention when crises occur. It can also be seen as an opportunity for strategic growth and operational improvement. Leaders should ensure they include resilience in their overall business strategy, viewing it as something that will benefit the company in the long run.
When creating a strategy, leaders should consider the potential risks to the organization and plan long ahead to mitigate them. This could involve developing plans for responding to crises, such as natural disasters or cyber-attacks, identifying potential weaknesses that could be exploited by competitors, and preparing for new opportunities that arise due to changing markets or technologies. During the Covid-19 pandemic, for example, many organizations had to quickly adapt their operations to remote working. Think about how your organization can be prepared for similar events in the future.
2) Shifting Mindsets to View Crises as Inevitable Disruptions:
It’s important for leaders to shift their mindset away from viewing crises as one-off events and instead view them as inevitable disruptions that must be planned for in advance. By changing how they think about crises, they can begin preparing their businesses for potential disruptions before they happen rather than scrambling after the fact.
In the wake of the pandemic, Ira Wolfe, author of “Recruiting in the Age of Googlization,” argues that “returning to normal” is a wrong-headed approach. Instead, he advises leaders to see our times as “never-normal” and to plan for a future of ongoing disruption.
“The idea of going back to normal doesn’t exist,” said Wolf in an interview with Matt Alder of the Recruiting Future podcast. “Normal is our own perspective. Normal means we don’t want to change.”
3) Playing a Role in Larger Issues Beyond Traditional Corporate Boundaries:
Businesses have an obligation not only to themselves but also to the wider world around them—both locally and globally. Leaders should consider how their businesses can play a role in addressing larger issues outside of traditional corporate boundaries, such as poverty, inequality, climate change, etc., which will help increase the resilience of both their own businesses and society at large.
According to a recent study by Deloitte, “more than two-thirds of consumers want companies to become more involved in social and political issues.” Businesses that are seen as taking a stand for something bigger than themselves can create goodwill within their communities and gain an edge over their competitors in the process. But there are also risks.
“While it may be profitable for companies to become more engaged in social issues, doing so in an inauthentic manner may lead to accusations of woke-washing and using social issues to increase their public appeal and revenues,” read the study.
“An example of woke-washing is fast-fashion brands in the United Kingdom being accused of inauthentically championing women’s rights even though some brands reportedly rely on exploitive labor practices,” it added.
4) Reducing the Volatility and Fragility of Systems and Societies:
Issues like climate change or pandemics put tremendous strain on existing systems and societies, making them more vulnerable than ever before. To reduce volatility and fragility within systems and societies, leaders need to identify ways that their businesses can mitigate these risks while still ensuring economic success over time. With Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives increasing in popularity, businesses have an opportunity to reduce their own carbon footprint while also creating societal benefits.
Furthermore, the traditional linear model of production-consumption-disposal is no longer viable in today’s increasingly interconnected world where resources are finite. Instead, leaders should look for ways to reimagine their business models so that production processes are sustainable over time—ensuring that resources aren’t used up too quickly or too cheaply—while still remaining profitable in the long run.
5) Institutionalizing Resilience Before the Lessons of Crises Fade:
Finally, it’s important for leaders to institutionalize resilience within their organizations before the lessons from past crises have faded away or been forgotten entirely. To do this, they need to ensure there are clear communication channels between departments so everyone knows what strategies have been implemented during times of crisis and how those strategies were successful (or unsuccessful). This allows companies not only to prepare better for future shocks but also to remember what worked (and what didn’t work) during previous disruptions so they don’t repeat mistakes in similar situations down the line.
In brief, as we move into an era where disruption is increasingly commonplace, businesses need to be prepared for future shocks if they want any chance of succeeding over time. Leaders must shift their mindset away from viewing crises as one-off events and instead see them as inevitable disruptions that must be planned for in advance. By taking proactive steps to reduce the volatility and fragility of systems, play a role in larger issues beyond traditional corporate boundaries, and institutionalize resilience within their organizations, businesses can increase their chances of surviving future shocks and coming out ahead in the long run.