Organisational Resilience Blog

Building Organisational Resilience

 

In the current global market place, the political, financial and cultural pressures being placed upon the modern business personnel are often draining, pulling physical and emotional strength to the limit. Individuals try to juggle their priorities - work, family, friends, interests, in a bid to obtain a balance. Often the pressure of all these can generate their own self driving pace, which rapidly becomes overwhelming and potentially destructive. This in turn removes the effectiveness of the individual in their business role, resulting in a reduction in both personal and organisational resilience.

 

As a thought leader in the area of organisational resilience, Squared Apples has offered some tips for building your resilience to these pressures that exist in the workplace. Whether as a business or an individual, these tips can help if you are experiencing a significant disruptive event at work, or just in life in general.

 

A number of resilience experts describe resilience is defined as the ability to bounce back or recover well from change. This is not totally accurate; this definition is more based within the discipline of Business Continuity rather than Resilience. Rather than bouncing back, organisations, or individuals, with a high level of resilience seek to take advantage of the situation and thrive while their competitors around them struggle.. So what are the characteristics that these organisations or individuals possess that enables them to react and adapt to their situation quicker and more effective than others? Squared Apples research into organisations with a high level of organisational and staff resilience, such as the military, emergency services and financial institutions points to following key characteristics:

 

Vision and Purpose

Organisations with a high level of resilience have identified a clear sense of purpose, values, direction of travel, which is aligned with the high-level purpose, mapped through a number of established goals which are aligned to the strategy. The organisation has a strong learning lessons framework, effective governance and well developed problem-solving skills.

 

Belief and Confidence

When organisations invest in strong governance frameworks, enhanced skills development and the design and implementation of a competence framework, its workforce become more effective, thus building resilience. Individuals feel competent, they have effective strategies for coping with disruptive events and are able to cope better with stress. Managers and individuals have strong self-esteem, believe in the organisation and focus on their skills and abilities. With a lessons learned framework, the organisation develops a learning and growth mindset. When things go wrong, the leadership ask themselves, “What did we learn from that?”

 

Strong Social Support Framework

Organisations that develop strong business and personal relationships with others generally create a stronger resilience framework. By having good supportive commercial relationships, organisations understand that seeking support can help the organisation, industry sector or individuals overcome adverse situations, rather than trying to cope individually. Organisations can also provide collective support to others, but not at the expense of self, during difficult situations; a good example of this was the collective decision of the staff of the John Lewis Group to sacrifice their 2008 bonus payments in order to save one of their major outlets. Organisations build and sustain themselves as they understand that if they are not strong they are can’t support other industry partners, or, in the worst case, their own workforce.

 

Agility, Adaptability and Flexibility

Organisations that develop a high level of resilience have an inherent agility within their corporate framework, obtained through workforces and structures that are flexible and adaptable to changing situations which are beyond their control. The agility also reaches to the decision-making process, enabling wicked problems to be managed through dynamic response, crisis management and early engagement. As an organisation there is a clear understanding of capability, resources and the critical components of the company to maintain momentum. These organisations cope well with change because they are optimistic for the future due to the preparation they have engaged in; they see the opportunity to thrive as their competition struggle, rather than the threat that the change may bring.

 

Build Team Ethos and Sense of Empowerment

As a manager, or a leader within an organisation, you can build your resilience with these tips:

 

·     Develop positive attitudes and emotions within your teams early

·     Spend time getting clarity on a sense of purpose, team objectives and organisational goals.

·     Develop contingency strategies for potential disruptive events and practice them regularly. Use discussions, table top exercises and exec study days.

·     Establish, build and sustain a supportive social and professional network; be unafraid to share ideas across the business sector to build trust early.

·     Ensure that you look after yourself through exercise, rest, and healthy eating. As the leader / manager, you set the example for the team.

·     Create time to do team building events that strengthen understanding and the team ethos.

·     Recognise and develop the strengths within the team; do not be afraid to invest in individual and team CPD events; this builds trust within the team as well as enhancing their capability.

 

These are a few ideas to spark discussion and informed debate on the building of resilience across the UK private and public sectors. Please feel free to leave any thoughts / comments below.

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