Resilience is about moving forward despite adversity, about leveraging hardship, while staying focused. It is a key skill for individuals, teams and organisations to succeed in the twenty-first century. Your resilience is the guarantee of your long-term performance. But what does it consist of, and how to develop it?
Perhaps the best example is a tree. Vegetation has been present on Earth for much longer than humans. Each tree species adapts to changes in its environment, either punctually or gradually. Thus, in case of drought, the tree slows down its growth and loses its leaves to protect itself. Other species wait for a fire to release their seeds on a field devoid of competition. They adapt to make the most of the resources available at all times.
The three pillars of organisational resilience
An organisation’s resilience relies on three elements: teams, processes, and technology. To understand, I will continue the parallel with trees, and an industrial nursery. Your teams are your gardeners; your processes, all your documentation, working methods and best practices. Finally, you have several technologies that measure temperature or humidity, automatically water or help your employees move the soil or plants more easily.
Well trained teams
Your gardeners are competent. They know what they are doing and why they are doing it. They love their work,share their tips and do their best to grow the plants. Without them, not much happens. Your tools and processes are unused. In all sectors, people are at the heart of performance. That’s why you need to take care of your teams and invest in their training. You also need to make sure that you have a good working environment.
Proven and documented processes
Your best employees know how to do their job perfectly, but their memory may be lacking or they may be absent. You must be able to continue to function without this living memory. In many organisations, and especially in small structures, processes are not documented. The impact is all the greater when an employee leaves with all his knowledge.
Documenting your processesis also an opportunity to test and improve them. By comparing two ways of doing things, you will be able to choose the best performing one according to the circumstances.
In an emergency situation, you will save time if you have the steps to follow written and accessible. That’s what an incident response plan or disaster recovery plan are for.
Relevant and well-used technology
The tools at your disposal are countless. Hardware and software offer to simplify your life by acting in your place. Be careful to choose the tools in which you invest. Technology must be a way to achieve your goals. It supports your teams in key processes.
Technology itself can make things better,but an activity that has no added value, even if done faster, will remain a waste.
Resilience: a three-legged stool
Obviously, you need to make sure you invest in all three pillars at the same time. Imagine buying new equipment or software that your teams don’t know how to use. Forget about documenting the temperature at which your seeds germinate. Prevent the installation of new software or the implementation of new ways of doing things. You must constantly train your teams, choose the right tools and adjust your methods in order to remain efficient. The world is changing, you have to evolve with it.
It doesn’t matter how slowly you go, as long as not to stop.Confucius, Chinese philosopher
The hardships or crisis you will have to overcome
Natural and health disasters
This is the most uncertain risk. Depending on the region where you live, floods, drought, earthquakes, tsunamis and other tornadoes can strike at any time. As we have seen recently, health disasters can also take on an unsuspected magnitude.
In both cases, abrupt changes in the environment changes your short-term priorities. You have to adapt quickly, without really knowing when “normality” will return, and what the next step will look like. Areas may become uninhabitable, your business model may become unusable under new conditions.
While theft or arson of your buildings is unlikely, cybercrime is on the rise. Every month, hundreds of companies are victims of ransomware or scams. This is the new playground for criminals, mafias but also governments. Theft of trade secrets, compromise of accounts and money embezzlement, locking of data against ransom demand, the list is only growing. The techniques are being refined, and you need to be prepared. By reducing your attack surface, but above all by making sure you can recover quickly.
Accidents and errors
This is the same type of problem as a malicious attack, but this time the person didn’t want to do wrong. She lacked training, used outdated technology or an incomplete process. The result is the same and the impact on your operations is inevitable.
This is the only type of risk over which you have full control. You can take action to prevent errors or accidents.
The question is not whether you will encounter obstacles, or which ones, but rather how you will overcome them and adapt to the new conditions of your environment.
To be able to adapt, the best is to build over time. By continuously training, documenting, testing and improving, you ensure you have teams, processes and technologies that perform well and are ready to face challenges and unforeseen events.