Resilient organizations are the “new normal”

The future belongs to those who prepare for it today – Malcolm X

Many uncertain forces (geopolitics, economic cycles, a global pandemic) can have substantial effects on the fate of your business. Resilient organizations last long and navigate change better than anyone else.

The team: “People first” approach

The goal is not to simply navigate today’s needed changes but also to create a resilient organization poised for more change, any time. A team that is ready for the next battle – whenever that may be.

Resilient organizations attract, empower and retain courageous people willing to do bold things. Having a strong motivated team with the right level of psychological resources; self-governance, optimism and grit is key to fostering organizational resilience. The team should be made of a full spectrum of core skills necessary to flex and endure challenges, to survive not only the short-term challenges and to bounce back but more importantly to keep the company on the path for growth. Basically, having team members who thrive in adversity.

The leadership: It starts at the top

The leadership defines the top priorities the task for the leaders in resilient organizations may look obvious, but it seems to be easier said than done. It turns out that in times of crisis and in times of business slowdown, not every leader fares the same. As we all know, the best-laid business plans come into conflict — especially when navigating the inevitable obstacles that require organizational improvements or major transformations.

In tougher times, strong organizations have aligned leaders who show courage in the face of unimaginable obstacles, gain participation and buy-in from all levels of the organization. It is absolutely imperative to have sound top-down leadership at all levels founded on strong culture of trust, accountability and agility. These are the meaningful core values which each member of the organization believes deeply in. The leaders hold together the sense of “togetherness” to ride the wave.

Prepare the umbrella before it rains – Malay proverb

McKinsey Quarterly May 2019 traced the paths of more than 1,000 publicly traded companies and found that during the last downturn, about 10 percent of those companies fared materially better than the rest. They are what we call “resilients.” These organizations are better prepared than the rest.

Resilient organizations are aware that they exist in a constant state of transformation and are willing to reset goals when necessary. They are well-prepared, disciplined, have courageous teams who embrace change, and a culture founded on trust and accountability.

Resilient leadership calls for noteworthy characteristics in the end-to-end management before, during and after the crisis:

(1) Preparation for the business and the team to weather the storms

(2) How they steer the organization during the tougher times

(3) How they come out of them

Preparation for the business calls for forward-thinking process in business structure, resource management and planning including revenue models. These help the organization to be consistent and better-than-average in its profitability year after year, to move ahead of any downturn to prevent deep dips. Such toughness and endurance will ensure it is back in the position to conquer the space after the downturn. 

In short, while the world is an ever-changing space, being ahead of the curve is key. Resilient organizations are supple enough to flex and endure  the uncertain times and not to be overpowered by them.

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