Introduction - Resilient

Resilience is defined as an ability to respond and adapt quickly to threats posed. This applies to both organisations and individuals.

Resilience is

"...The ability of the system, community or society exposed to hazards to resist, absorb, accommodate and recover from the effect of a hazard in a timely and efficient manner, including through the preservation and restoration of its essential basic structures and function..."

UN International Strategy on Disaster Reduction as quoted by Bob Spiers 2020

"...the capacity of the system, enterprise, or a person to maintain its core purpose and integrity in the face of dramatically changed circumstances......preserving adaptive capacity - the ability to adapt to changed circumstances while fulfilling one's core purpose..."

A. Zolli et al as quoted by Bob Spiers 2020

All organisations need to have

"...resilience, ie the ability to dynamically reinvent business models and strategies as circumstances change. ... Resilience refers to a capacity for continuous reconstruction. It requires innovation with respect to organisational values, processes and behaviours that systematically favour perpetuation over innovation......Strategic resilience is not about responding to a one time crisis. It's not about rebounding from a setback. It's about continuously anticipating and adjusting to deep, secular trends that can permanently impair the earning power of a core business. It's about having the capacity to change before the case for change becomes desperately obvious. ... Successful companies, particularly those that have enjoyed a relatively benign environment, find it extraordinarily difficult to reinvent their business models. When confronted by paradigm-busting turbulence, they often experience a deep and prolonged reversal of fortune......Imagine a ratio where the numerator measures the magnitude and frequency of strategic transformation and the denominator reflects the time, expense and emotional energy required to affect that transformation. Any company that hopes to stay relevant in a topsy-turvy world has no choice but to grow the numerator. The real trick is to steadily reduce the denominator at the same time. To thrive in turbulent times, companies must become as efficient at renewal as they are at producing today's products and services. Renewal must be the natural consequence of an organisation's innate resilience..."

Gary Hamel et al, 2003

In less turbulent times, established organisations could rely on the momentum of their success to sustain their success. In recent times, this has not been enough. Despite this, there is still enormous value in having loyal customers, a well-known brand, the industry know-how, preferential access to distribution channels, proprietary physical assets, robust portfolio, etc. On the other hand, this value has dissipated owing to technological discontinuities, regulatory upheavals, geopolitical shocks, industry deverticalisation and disintermediation, abrupt shifts in customer tastes, many non-traditional competitors, etc. Furthermore, executives previously had the luxury of thinking that their business models had achieved permanent status. Organisations had to improve themselves but seldom got different - not in their core or essence.

", getting different is the imperative. It's a challenge facing Coca-Cola as it struggles to raise its "share of the throat" in non-carbonated beverages. It's the task that bedevils McDonald's as it tries to rekindle growth in a world of burger-weary customers. It's the hurdle for Sun Microsystems as it searches for ways to protect its high margin server business from the Linux onslaught. And it's an imperative for the big pharmaceutical companies as they confront declining R&D yields, escalating price pressure, and the growing threat from generic drugs..."

Gary Hamel et al, 2003

Part of resilience is zero trauma. This requires an organisation to be constantly making its future rather than defending its past so that revolutionary change happens in lightning quick, evolutionary steps with no calamitous surprises, no convulsive re-organisations, no colossal write-offs, and no indiscriminate across-the-board layoffs, etc.

Resilience for individuals means being able to stare reality in the face and to make concrete decisions to shape your future, ie imagining a future for yourself. Associated with this is the ability to empathise with others and their point of view. Furthermore, be an enthusiastic participant and have a positive attitude. Furthermore, it is the ability to quickly "bounce back" from adversity.

Resilience can be learned. Until the age of 16, children observe how others respond to stress and this provides the basis of their reactions. Furthermore, people need positive role models and successful examples in their own personal history as a basis to build on. If a previous challenge turned out to be a personal disaster, you are more likely to react badly the next time. A person's response to adversity is a good predictor of their future performance, eg their ability to innovate and engage in the workplace.

"...resilience on how you perform against four factors......CORE

Control: How much can you influence the situation and control your response?

Ownership: how much responsibility do you take for improving the situation, regardless of its course or your job description?

Reach: How much do you allow a particular kind of adversity to affect other parts of your life and work?

Endurance: how long do you perceive the situation will last?..."

Paul Stoltz as quoted by Fiona Smith, 2008i

NB Developing "hardiness" (ability to endure difficult conditions) is a way of gaining resilience


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