Organisational Resilience Blog


20/10/2017 - Building a Business Continuity Framework


The British Standards Institute identified that 0ver 43% of SMEs had no IT continuity plan, while the Charterer Management Institute indicated that the average cost of severe weather disruption was approx. £52k. The CMI also highlighted that 86% of UK business owners recognised the importance of a business continuity framework, though only 63% had one in place. Of those individuals that had a Business Continuity framework in place, 87% indicated that when activated it reduced... the impact of a disruptive event. If you’re looking to build a continuity framework within your business, follow these tips;


• Build an initial business case to identify what are the key components of your business that needs protecting, the cost if operations are disrupted or lost, and the available funds you have to initiate the development of a continuity plan;


• Invest in your staff capabilities and development rather than outsourcing the development of your continuity plan; 80% of your continuity plan being successful relies on your staff knowing what to do and when. If they have been involved in its development they will provide a far greater agile edge for your company during disruptive events;


• Conduct an indepth risk analysis and SWOT to understand what disruptive events, positive and negative, may impact on your business. A good Business Continuity framework is the outcome of a holistic approach of adaptive leadership, an inclusive organisational culture and a shared understanding of disruptive events and available resources;


• Your risk analysis needs to conduct a full analysis of all risks, including your supply chain, staff capabilities, internal structures and organisational frameworks;


• Build a natural level of redundancy within your structure through the integration of business continuity activities into of all business activities; business continuity is fundamental to building resilience. Resilience is cultural, supported by business processes such as risk management, business continuity and resource management;


• Utilise business intelligence to build situational awareness to create the relevant responses needed; this will enable the organisation to effectively prepare, react, recover, learn and improve from disruptive events;


• Develop the capability of Red-Teaming and regular review of your business continuity framework within the organisation at all levels; build a culture of consented dissent to build capability and avoid potential crisis events;


• Develop a strong leadership model to support your staff during disruptive events and create the feeling of empowerment to enable rapid response and decision making during disruptive events;


• Build a level of understanding within your customer base and supply chain to identify key operational elements to keep going in order to release resources to manage disruptive events; and


• Develop a culture of learning lessons; both from yourself and from others to support your business development.


10/09/2017 - 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; and


·     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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