Resilience. We aren’t born with it, nor is it innate; however, through generations of experience and our willingness to survive, humans have developed a propensity to adapt or persist in the face of adversity. Each crisis or tough circumstance acts as a trial that enables people and organizations to stretch their boundaries, learn to protect against new threats, and better prepare themselves for any new challenges going their way.
At Imperative Impact, we pondered over countless conversations around building back better and factors that make more resilient communities. We marvelled at the speed at which certain companies pivoted and restructured, whilst empathizing with the companies that struggled to keep afloat. As autumn approached and social distancing measures began loosening, our curiosity remained fixed on the topic of resilience and how its very definition is shifting as the world evolves.
For years, resilience was seen through an external locus of control lens. Reactively, we learned to spring back and recover from difficulties by riding the waves of stress, crisis, and uncertainty. Many organizations awaited changes week by week to slowly readjust to circumstances outside of their control. Conversely, the “resilients”, as coined by McKinsey, all had similar attributes: they proactively tackled pain points within their control, monitoring, deciding and executing on their own contingency planning. As a result, they were able to maintain flexibility around their own definition of resilience by taking ownership of any situation they were up against.
What resilience means for organizations
We know that resilience is imperative for organizations as our society faces greater unpredictability and an increasingly dynamic business environment. More than the similar attributes, these “resilients” continue to share several deeper uniting truths: they embrace uncertainty within their strategies, prioritize collaboration and partnership, and have a distilled vision of their organization purpose.
Going headfirst into the face of adversity enables us to test how resilient we are. However, there is opportunity to work from the inside out and develop the elements of a long-lasting system before we find ourselves in the eye of the storm. Here are 4 elements to consider within your organization:
Whereas resilience has long been seen as something that is developed over time after facing adversity, here at Imperative Impact,
we strongly believe that resilience involves behaviours, thoughts, and actions that anyone can learn and develop.
Indeed, no person or organization is born with it, but it’s something that can be worked on starting today. Any person can learn to be more resilient, and by that same token, any organization can also increase their resilience with the right intentions and mindset.
Building resilience requires a roadmap. Risk management, collaboration, and shifting towards a more agile work culture are all plausible steps to take on the journey to become a more resilient organization. However, each organization’s road to resilience can differ immensely, but taking a proactive stance and approaching from the inside out can increase your capacity to weather and grow from difficulties within that journey. Take the first step today, and ask yourself these questions: what is our biggest missing piece in our resiliency strategy? Is it within our culture, our current network structure, or within our existing risk strategies? How will we embody our mission tomorrow, in 1 year, in 5 years? And what new needs might emerge that can inform how we meet our mission tomorrow, in 1 year, in 5 years?
Resilience is more than just a way to mitigate risk, it offers an opportunity for competitive advantage for those who choose to focus on it. We can be a partner in your journey in identifying and embedding those behaviours, thoughts, and actions that can enable your organization to emerge more confident and courageous. Let’s connect today.