How to build a resilient organisation

A resilient organisation can weather the storms of change and survive. To do that an organisation needs a framework that comprises at least three elements: people, processes and culture.

What does resilience mean for organisations?

To thrive in today’s constantly changing environment, organisations need resilience. Organisational resilience is the ability of a system to absorb disturbance and reorganize while still retaining its essential function.

Resilient organisations are less likely to be affected by external shocks, have lower rates of human error and can change more quickly. They can also learn from past experiences.

There are three key factors needed for organisations to build resilience.

People – individuals need resilience to be able to respond both mentally and physically to known or unknown challenges.

Processes – organisations need well-defined processes and systems that create a shared understanding of how work is done. When an unexpected event occurs, these standard processes can be easily adapted to help solve the problem.

Culture – a strong culture builds trust, prioritises innovation and encourages risk-taking. In an organisational culture of resilience, individuals are not afraid to implement new ideas and they will accept failures as part of learning. The focus is on making incremental improvements over time rather than the big ideas that are often high risk.

How can you foster a resilient culture in your organisation?

There are six key elements to fostering a resilient culture in your organisation.

  1. Create a proactive mindset – proactivity is about taking the initiative and anticipating challenges before they arise, rather than waiting to respond after things have gone wrong.
  2. Build trust – when people within an organisation feel secure and feel able to be open and honest with each other, they are better able to collaborate in a crisis.
  3. Encourage risk-taking – in an environment where people feel safe to take risks – knowing they won’t be punished for failure, the likelihood of trying out new ideas is increased and this ultimately leads to innovation.
  4. Foster feedback loops – organisations that have good communication channels that allow for constant feedback allow individuals to feel more comfortable speaking up when they see something that could be improved.
  5. Encourage collective ownership – in an organisation where people have shared responsibilities, individuals are better able to identify the root of a problem and subsequently solve it.
  6. Celebrate failure – organisations that value mistakes as learning experiences allow individuals to feel safe making them. This ultimately leads to individuals thinking outside the box and to creativity.

How can you develop resilient people?

People need to develop certain skills to respond both mentally and physically when faced with unexpected challenges. A few of these are:

– Ability to collaborate and work well in teams

– Emotional intelligence (meaning the ability to recognise and regulate emotions)

Self-awareness (to understand your reactions, thoughts and feelings) – Ability to adapt and improvise

Building a resilient organisation is a journey of incremental change. Success for any individual or organisation does not happen overnight, it requires patience, commitment and dedication.

Quality leadership and resilience training will help your people become more self-aware and able to identify their strengths and weaknesses so that they can ultimately become more personally resilient. From here, and as a collective, it allows your organisation to become more collectively resilient.

What to do next?

We work directly with organisations to build their resilience across people, processes and culture.

In our view, resilient organisations start with the leaders. That’s why we blend our approach to support leaders and their development, with co-creating strategies that work to build organisational resilience for a longer period.

To discuss how we can help you get in touch.

More on resilience

Want to know more? Keep reading about resilience

  1. How to build resilience
  2. Characteristics of resilience
  3. Developing resilience strategies
  4. Building resilient organisations
  5. Developing resilience skills – as a team or individual
  6. Psychological resilience
  7. Resilience management
  8. Resilience Training