Building resilience is a necessary skill that every business should have in order to thrive and survive in today’s unpredictable and dynamic environment. From successfully adopting the latest technological trends to navigating in a highly interconnected economy, now it’s more important than ever that leaders embrace uncertainty and proactively look for solutions to adapt to it.
Resilience is the ability to prepare for tomorrow without fearing what it will bring. This means having the right mechanisms in place so your organization can overcome challenges and grow stronger because of them. It’s about embracing adversity, learning how to be flexible when managing it, and establishing practices that can ensure sustainable business growth.
Becoming resilient involves adopting a proactive mindset to solving problems and applying it to all business activities. It’s about establishing proactive management practices to ensure that your organization can effectively bounce back from and anticipate sudden disruptions. This means continuously seeking out new opportunities to prepare for the future as well as setting effective contingency plans to offset any negative effects.
In this article, we have prepared some tips and techniques to help you build business resilience through proactive management. We’ll discuss why resiliency has become so important and walk you through the ways your company can achieve it.
Why do Businesses Need to Become Resilient?
Business resilience, as mentioned by BMC, describes an organization’s ability to absorb stress and adapt to an ever-evolving industry landscape. It’s a skill that allows companies to meet their goals and objectives, and survive and thrive in case of economic slowdown. It involves setting the right practices in place so you can successfully soften the hit without damaging your operations.
Having a resilience plan is necessary for both removing and managing business risks as well as for sustaining and improving your competitive advantage. According to McKinsey, resilience should be applied to a number of important areas including your employees, clients, partners, suppliers, and digital infrastructure. This means re-evaluating current business models and shifting to a more agile and risk-averse way of operating.
Resilience requires establishing a few principles in place so you can bring all your business units together for your company’s greater good. We have listed these below, so without further ado, here are 5 key steps to building business resilience.
1. Prepare Your Team to Win
According to Forbes, the most important duty of leaders and managers of the 21st century is strengthening their organization’s capability to face and mitigate uncertainty. This involves having a greater understanding of the trade-off between short-, medium-, and long-term shifts and taking the necessary steps to make your organization more agile.
Improvements should begin from the inside out. So, the first step towards resilience is getting your team ready to win the next challenge, whenever that may be.
Here are 4 key areas to focus on:
- Communication – An HBR article shares that when faced with a stressful situation, people’s emotions have a large impact on their decision-making ability and their confidence, which results in instability. With a strong communication strategy, you can support your teams in effectively rationalizing the challenges they face and quickly respond accordingly.
- Culture – With consistent communication, you have a great opportunity to reinforce and strengthen your organizational culture. This will help your employees get in touch with your values, purpose, and mission so they can gain the knowledge they need to achieve the company’s goals.
- Skills – Helping your employees gain the skills necessary to flourish when faced with difficult situations is a must for building cross-team resilience. It’s necessary to provide them with ongoing learning, in both business and technical aspects, as well as in mental and emotional support.
- Adaptability – Unpredictability can cause a lot of stress with employees, and while technology can support some processes even in a crisis and adapt quicker, it’s not always the case with people. You can offer a well-being and mindfulness program to encourage emotionally intentional leadership, provide mental health support in stress-inducing situations, promote person-to-person interactions, and help your teammates learn to preserve their clarity when under pressure.
When you align your business’ mission, purpose, and goals you’re giving the members of your team a guiding mechanism for decision making. When all three are clear and well-understood people from all business units would be able to grow your company by making the right choices with greater confidence. This way everyone would stay on track, knowing where they’re headed and why.
2. Encourage Critical Thinking
Business resilience strongly relates to an organization’s ability to see situations with fresh eyes and create alternative solutions to problems. An approach that can help you get a better perspective on different circumstances is critical thinking.
There are many ways to describe it, but in a few words, critical thinking can be defined as careful goal-directed thinking. It’s the ability to challenge assumptions, find multiple points of view, get all the information you can and evaluate it logically.
According to Harvard Business Review, there are 4 key skills your team needs to possess in order to think critically:
- Challenge assumptions – Find the what and why of every situation. Question assumptions, look for inconsistencies in arguments, and notice implications.
- Look at situations from different perspectives – People from different cultures and with different backgrounds will engage with problems differently which can provide valuable insights.
- Find potential where others can’t – Critical thinkers are able to look at an issue objectively and discover new opportunities.
- Manage ambiguity – When it comes to resilience this is a key aspect of critical thinking. Because there’s so much complexity and uncertainty out there, organizations and their teams need to become comfortable dealing with it so they can be more confident when making decisions.
Critical thinkers are able to rationalize processes and use evidence-based logic to solve problems. They are able to articulate their opinions, effectively engage in discussions and make meaningful contributions in business.
Like any other soft skill, critical thinking can be learned. When applied to your business successfully, your team will be able to effectively manage challenges, quickly establish new and improve business process practices, and overall build resilience.
3. Find Opportunities in Adversity
A resilient organization is one that can survive and thrive in the face of adversity. This means withstanding external and internal crises and becoming stronger as a result. It’s about learning and adapting to the situations that your business experiences so it can become more flexible and responsive overtime.
One way to discover opportunities in adversity is by looking for a way to turn your weaknesses into strengths. Here’s how to do this in 3 ways:
- Embrace uncertainty and understand your blind spots. You can do that by conducting a SWOT analysis, asking your team members for feedback, or hiring a professional business consultant or business advisor. Getting both internal and external opinions can help you see potential shortcomings more clearly.
- Group your weaknesses according to the urgency. Take a collaborative, systematic approach that concentrates on spotting significant performance issues, and promotes accountability and agility.
- Leverage technology to create process resilience. You can use different management information systems such as customer relationship management (CRM), digital asset management (DAM), process automation systems, etc. This can help you organize and share knowledge across your teams so you can recognize patterns and trends and prepare your responses in advance.
When you proactively seek to remove obstacles and turn them into strengths, you’ll be able to show resiliency and reach your business goals.
4. Make Data Your Ally
The business landscape changes constantly and if you’re able to predict trends you’ll be able to stay on top of them and sustain your competitive advantage. It’s important to be aware of potential industry trends as well as changes in customer behavior. One way to get ahead of this learning curve is by using data. When applying it the right way your company can improve the processes and optimize for innovation.
There are various ways to make data your ally and use it to predict future outcomes. To derive meaningful knowledge from all the information that your company generates and collects, you need to be able to make sense of it. Hence, it’s important that you are aware of what you do and don’t know, then use this information to improve your decision-making.
A resilient organization tracks past changes, anticipates future ones, and takes proactive measures to prepare to take them on. You can collect relevant data by using Google Analytics, a CRM system, a Business Process Management (BPM) system as well as social listening tools, and to make the most of these findings you need to make links between them.
5. Make Resilience a KPI of Performance
Resilience is an important business asset when dealing with today’s dynamic and wicked problems. When measuring the health of your organization, considering the current business environment, a good practice to implement would be to add resilience as a KPI of your business performance.
In addition to keeping track of process efficiency, you can include quality metrics with which to monitor your recoverability as well as your business activities.
These can include:
- Determine which technological and organizational factors make your company resilient.
- Set appropriate metrics for those factors.
- Use real-time monitoring systems to track and measure performance.
- Set up procedures for evaluating data and aiding decision-making.
- Use privacy-enhancing technology (PET) to protect your confidential data.
- Create and test continuity plans to set a system for preventing threats.
- Frequently check in on your employees and foster appropriate upskilling practices.
Quality metrics can give you a better perspective of performance against your goals. They can help you be more objective and can provide enough details to help you set expectations and predictions.
Resilience is the key to lasting change. It presents companies with the opportunity to manage uncertainty and change and equips them with a competitive edge.
To build business resilience leaders need to look inward before looking outward. They need to align their mission, purpose, and goals, and prepare their team members to think critically and find opportunities in adversity.
What is more, they should remember that data is their ally, and that resilience is a powerful asset to any business and as such, it should be continuously measured and observed.