Organisational Resilience: The secret sauce to success in unprecedented times

February 6, 2021 4:38 PM

Any crisis is an opportunity for those who cultivate a resilient organisational culture

The entire culture of an organisation can get transformed if a small group of senior leaders or enigmatic individuals model the behavior associated with resilienceThe entire culture of an organisation can get transformed if a small group of senior leaders or enigmatic individuals model the behavior associated with resilience

By Kamal Dutta

Today, to say that ‘we live in challenging times’ will be an understatement. Everyone is facing multiple dynamics at once. In this regard, perhaps, they are the organisations that have been pushed to the wall the most. They not only have to face wide-ranging customer concerns and decreased revenue inflow, but also must retain their organisational structure while ensuring viability. On top of it, new capabilities need to be added to the system for meeting the needs of the hour. It, nevertheless, is still a great simplification of the task at hand.

However, any crisis is an opportunity for those who cultivate a resilient organisational culture. A resilient organisation can not only withstand adversities, but also prospers even when its market counterparts tend to falter. But how do you drive organisational resilience?

To begin with, let us first discuss what exactly is meant by resilience. Resilience, in simpler terms, is the quality that enables anything from an object or a structure to a person or a group to have little to no impact of external factors or changes. The best conceivable example of resilience will be that of ‘a compression spring’. It can not only absorb external shocks and pressures when applied, but also coils back to its shape when they are relieved.

In psychology, resilience is not much different. It reflects the ability of an individual to mentally cope with a crisis and return to the earlier state quickly. Though human resilience may be a personality trait – in aggregate terms such as groups, organisations, or even communities – a ‘culture of resilience’ can be manifested to form psychological immunity with the ability to rebound quickly from any adversity.

The key to not only surviving but to prosper during times of upheavals like the one we are currently passing through requires resilience. The biggest example of human resilience at a national level was seen after the atomic bombing of Japan. The nation’s culture of resilience led to its rise as one of the biggest economies of our times. So, coming back to our earlier question, how does one build resilience in an organisation?

It is relatively simple. The entire culture of an organisation can get transformed if a small group of senior leaders or enigmatic individuals model the behavior associated with resilience. Since people look towards them as icons, they consciously and unconsciously start replicating the resilient characteristics that they observe.

Now, what are some of the top characteristic and behavioral aspects of organisational resilience?

Here are a few behaviors that are essential in resisting, developing immunity to, and rebounding from adversity. It is because they are the foundations of a resilient organisational culture and can be used to increase resilience across the board.

They are as follows:

Innovation
Agility
Stress Management
Persuasiveness
Problem Solving
Judgment and Decisiveness
Customer Centricity
Leading through Disruption
Mindfulness

The traits of organisations that achieve resilience are as follow:

Resilient organisations are customer-centric
Resilient organisations are innovative in times of adversity
Resilient organisations invest in their leaders
Resilient organisations invest in all levels of their workforce

Remember, resilience is the single biggest element that can make all the difference between ‘surviving’ and ‘thriving’ in any given scenario – especially an adverse one.

The author is managing director at Skillsoft India

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