Growing through adversity
Indian Management|February 2021
Resilience should not occur in the face of adversity. One has to plan for it in advance, anticipating unexpected disruption.
PATRICK GALLEN

IIt is without a doubt that the global pandemic has brought with it a myriad of challenges, obstacles, and opportunities for organisations. Not only has it forced our people and organisations to step up, adapt, bounce back, and overcome, but it has clearly differentiated between those who were operating a proactive approach to unforeseen circumstances and those who were reactive.

There are several definitions of ‘resilience’ but for the purpose of this article, I am going to offer you the following one by Andrew Zolli: Resilience is the capacity of a system, enterprise, or person to maintain its core purpose and integrity in the face of dramatically changed circumstances. In today’s world, where change and disruption are constant, simply bouncing back is no longer a sustainable strategy. Sustainability is all about survival, but the goal of resilience is to thrive. So how are organisations demonstrating this resilience now more than ever? And more importantly, how can those who are stuck in survival mode learn to thrive in these tumultuous times?

I see resilience not only at an organisational level, but also at a team and an individual level. A truly resilient organisation will strive for resilient people, processes and systems underpinned by strong leadership and strategy, culture and behaviours, preparation, and risk management.

True organisational resilience is about having it on a continual basis. Roffey Park’s research in this field in the UK, talks about organisational resilience needing to be dynamic and contextual, because it changes over time and can get eroded, if not nourished and attended to. You only need to think of the Nokia phone and the Kodak camera to be reminded of how quickly things can change. In fact, organisational resilience has to not only cover operational aspects, it is very much about having that resilience at a strategic level as well.

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