Last updated: Organizational resilience is a competitive advantage

Organizational resilience is a competitive advantage


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With natural and manmade disasters as well as unfortunate events taking place in the world around us, we’re quickly reminded of the volatility of life. The reality is that anything can happen at any time, and change does truly seem to be the only constant.

But humankind requires the ability and courage to move forward in the face of adversity with hope, courage, and resilience.

I’d like to discuss resilience in both in an individual and business context.

Resilience often looks like courage

First, let’s start by defining resilience. As per Merriam Webster, resilience is “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.”

Our personal and professional journeys consist of many predicable – and some unpredictable – circumstances. Although we can’t possibly have a survival plan for all undesirable situations, we do have a general framework in our minds on how to deal with most situations.

For example, we typically know the first person or group of people we call in difficult situations. In today’s hyperconnected world, our first instinct is to pick up the phone to message or call those from whom we seek help, or people that are in need.

Following these initial points of contact, subsequent steps are then determined and carried out. We have a stronger innate ability to deal with adversity than we give ourselves credit for. How quickly we adjust and move forward is the true measure of our resilience.

Organizational resilience is the difference between failure being a teacher and failure being the end

Businesses and organizations are no different than people when it comes to facing adversity. They will inevitably experience some unforeseen and unpredictable events and disruptions, thus it’s critical to have organizational resilience in their toolbox.

Here’s how resilience is defined for organizations. It’s the “ability of an organization to absorb and adapt in a changing environment.” If we elaborate, it’s the “ability of an organization to anticipate, prepare for, and respond and adapt to incremental change and sudden disruptions in order to survive and prosper.”

As with individuals, businesses cannot possibly predict all types of disruptions, events, or adversity that might come their way. Yet the important thing is that they plan for scenarios that are predictable, and focus on the aspects that are most critical to them in any given situation.

Resiliency is a muscle

Perhaps one of the best living of examples of resiliency was delivered by Sheryl Sandberg when she gave a commencement speech at the University of California, Berkley:

“And when the challenges come, I hope you remember that anchored deep within you is the ability to learn and grow. You are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. Like a muscle, you can build it up, draw on it when you need it. In that process you will figure out who you really are—and you just might become the very best version of yourself.”

Wouldn’t you agree that in any situation, event, and challenge, the safety and wellbeing of the involved people are of utmost importance; all else is secondary? Therefore, it’s critical that businesses and organizations havea system that allows them to easily and efficiently connect with their people in such circumstances.

Resilience is necessary to survive, and more importantly, thrive amidst disruption. Organizational resilience can be a competitive advantage if properly understood.

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