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Organizational Resilience Capabilities Are Good For Business

Organizational Resilience Capabilities Are Good For Business
Now that you’ve taken some time to read through Stephanie Duchek’s organizational resilience model, I thought it might be useful to offer a few thoughts on the framework and the notion of organizational resilience before you spend the next several activities diving more deeply into the three segments of the model. A great deal of research has been conducted on the challenges associated with the management of major, sometimes catastrophic, events. As we know from our own experiences, these events are not as rare as we would hope. But while the topic of crisis management has been studied in detail, the notion of resilience has not.
We’re seeing a new appreciation for the idea that crisis leadership is not only a matter of managing crises when they arise, but also before and after they occur. We’re also seeing in the research a very interesting and evolving connection between the capacity for resilience and the capacity for operational agility. Agility, a concept beyond the scope of this course but available for exploration from many different sources, can be defined as an enterprise’s ability to assess their environment, make sense of it, and then quickly mobilize resources such as people and other assets to take advantage of the opportunities they’ve encountered. In today’s business environment, agility is necessary for organizations to be able to effectively adapt to there constantly changing VUCA world.
Could these same capacities help companies become more resilient? It certainly seems so. In the research conducted to support Mastering Turbulence, a book by Joseph McCann and John Selsky, four necessary capabilities were identified as elements of organizational agility. The authors suggested that to be operationally agile, it must have the capacity for, one,
sense making: Scanning and analyzing tremendous amounts of diverse information and then quickly forming hypotheses and mental models about what the organization is experiencing.
Two, transforming knowledge: Efficiently and quickly acquiring, building, sharing, and applying valuable knowledge to clearly define critical priorities.
Three, acting decisively: Cultivating a strong but informed action bias throughout the organization.
Four, aligning and realigning resources: Quickly deploying and then redeploying sufficient resources, talent, and skills to support effective execution. As we consider these four capabilities, it’s easy to see similarities between the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to be agile in the context of normal business and those necessary to be resilient. To have the ability to identify potential threats, to deploy resources accordingly when action is necessary to ensure the survival of the business, and to evolve over time, applying the lessons that only experience can offer. In a working paper titled Resilience, Capacity,
and Strategic Agility: Prerequisites for Thriving in a Dynamic Environment, which is quite a mouthful, researchers and authors Cynthia Lengnick-Hall and Tammy Beck share this in
their forward: “An organization’s resilience capacity captures its ability to take situation-specific, robust, and transformative actions when confronted with the unexpected and powerful events that have the potential to jeopardize an organization’s long-term survival. Strategic agility is a complex, varied construct that can take multiple forms, but describes an organization’s ability to develop and quickly apply flexible, nimble, and dynamic capabilities. These organizational attributes share common roots and are built from complimentary resources, skills, and competencies. Together, agility and resilience capacity enable firms to prepare for changing conditions to restore their vitality after traumatic jolts and to become even more proficient as a result of the experience. Resilience capacity helps firms navigate among different forms of strategic agility and respond effectively to changing conditions.
We believe that organizational resilience capacity can be viewed as an antecedent to strategic agility and as the moderator of the relationship between a firms dynamic activities and subsequent performance.” What should you take away from this connection between resilience and agility? That the capacity is required to make a company more resilient. The capacities that you are about to explore in the activities that follow are not only necessary to allow companies to deal more effectively with threats and crises, but that they are necessary to remain competitive in the marketplace.
As you proceed through this module, remind yourself that what you are learning is not only vital to any high-stakes leader, but it’s just as valuable for any leader who wants to create a successful, innovative, and highly competitive business.
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High Stakes Leadership: Leading in Times of Crisis

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