No Match Found
One of the key findings from our recent Global Crisis and Resilience Survey was the identification of what we’re calling a resilience confidence gap. Despite confidence in their ability to navigate disruption, only one-third of global respondents report they have the proper foundational elements in place to support resilience.
Here in Canada, we’re seeing many organizations with this same false sense of confidence, possibly instilled by their performance throughout the pandemic. However, a crisis in which your organization is the only one affected—that is, where your customers and competitors aren’t—will have a markedly different texture. When it comes to crisis, it’s a question of when, not if. A striking 98% of Canadian respondents report they’ve experienced at least one disruption other than the pandemic in the past two years, and 85% say their most serious crisis in that same period had a medium to high impact on operations.
98% of Canadian respondents report they’ve experienced at least one disruption other than the pandemic in the past two years
We often refer to resilience as the corporate immune system. Building this type of immunity will require layers of resilience throughout your organization—from leadership and the board all the way through to employees. Here we outline three recommendations for Canadian leaders to enhance their organization’s resilience by leveraging the power of their people: (1) select a strong executive sponsor, (2) integrate a cross-functional steering committee and (3) build a resilient team from the top down.
The first step organizations looking to enhance their resilience must take is to choose a strong executive sponsor. Another finding from our survey was that organizations aren’t coalescing around a single role responsible for managing the implementation of their enterprise-wide resilience program. This undermines both focus and direction.
As a default, many organizations will lean on their CEO, COO or even Legal or Risk to do this job. But it’s imperative to select the right executive sponsor for organizational resilience based on their leadership characteristics and skill set, as opposed to strictly their role.
The right executive sponsor will have critical human skills, as well as technical skills and the seniority to make quick decisions.
What skills will the right candidate have? In addition to technical skills and the seniority to make quick decisions, the right leader will have critical human skills. These include the ability to inspire their team, collaborate, create an environment of psychological safety in which team members feel safe to speak up, bring diverse teams together, and act and mobilize those teams quickly.
Having the right person with the right skills accountable and acting in this role will lead to better, quicker outcomes for the organization—not just in the event of a crisis but also during times of peace. It will also help ensure the long-term sustainment and effectiveness of the organizational resilience program.
Once your organization has a single person responsible for driving your resilience program, the next step is to pull together a cross-functional steering committee from pre-existing committees in the business.
It’s important to note that this steering committee shouldn’t be net-new. Rather, there’s an opportunity to integrate existing committees such as, for example, your health and safety committee, risk committee and the steering committee for your business continuity program. In many organizations, committees such as these act independently despite being incredibly interdependent on each other.
Our survey results show that while almost two-thirds of organizations globally have moved toward an integrated resilience program, only one in five is fully integrated. The fully integrated have the advantage of including 5.3 resilience competencies on average. The top three resilience competencies identified by Canadian respondents as being part of their organization’s resilience approach are cyber recovery (57%), crisis management (53%) and disaster recovery (53%).
By making sure all the diverse lenses of the business are looking at problems, this committee will be able to come up with more creative, comprehensive solutions.
In addition to reducing the number of committees overall, a multi-disciplinary steering committee will provide leadership with a clear end-to-end view of what’s going on in the organization. By making sure all the diverse lenses of the business are looking at any given problem, this committee will be able to come up with more creative and comprehensive solutions and allocate resources more effectively across the organization.
There’s the business-as-usual building a resilient organization, but how do you build leadership characteristics and prepare individuals to make the right decisions when crisis strikes?
Our survey found that resilience expertise constraints present a significant challenge. Slightly over one-quarter (28%) of Canadian respondents say building a team with the right skills is a major hurdle in establishing a resilience program.
28% of Canadian respondents say building a team with the right skills is a major hurdle in establishing a resilience program
Organizations must start with their leaders: resilient leaders grow resilient organizations. However, leadership training for current and future leaders in steady state is not the same as leadership training in polycrisis. For this reason, it’s crucial to build a formal leadership program that fosters experiential learning and empowers leaders to build crisis muscle memory through practice. While the natural inclination in a crisis is to get into the brain’s amygdala (fight or flight response), the more simulations and drills leaders complete in safe environments, the more they’re able to access higher reasoning in their prefrontal cortex when the real thing happens.
The next step is to work on organizational culture. To become a truly resilient organization, leaders at all levels must cultivate a culture that respects and values diversity—both of individuals and of thought. Leaders should define and model the behaviours they want to see. And they must use all the formal levers (e.g. steering committees, processes) and informal levers (e.g. social norms, how people interact) available to them to build a culture in which adaptability, agility and flexibility are the norm.
If organizations can put the right team in place and give them the skills they need, there’s opportunity to be found even in crisis situations. When crisis happens, resilient organizations can act in a way that’s transparent and take a values-based approach to breed brand loyalty, brand value and trust with both their customers and their people.
When looked at from that perspective, an investment in resilience can be seen as an investment in strategy, and this is borne out in our survey results: 35% of Canadian respondents say they’re motivated to invest in resilience by strategy. For organizations that are prepared when crisis strikes, it’s not just about surviving—it’s about finding strategic advantage.
35% of Canadian respondents say they’re motivated to invest in resilience by strategy
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