Building A Resilient Organization (Guide)

What makes a resilient organization? There is no one formula for how to design a perfectly resilient organization. Great leaders bounce back time and time again from whatever hardships they may face. Others seem to take forever to recover from a single setback. The underlying difference between these two types of people often boils down to their individual resiliency in the face of difficulties.

Any organization, regardless of size or structure, can build planned and adaptive resilience capabilities. Resilience relates more to how an organization can access and utilize resources when it needs them. For example, large multinational corporations can be resilient, drawing from their large pool of resources. But they can also suffer from being less responsive and agile. 

On the other hand, most startups have fewer resources, but if they are well networked, they can access a large pool of resources when required. An organization’s resilience is drawn from its planned and adaptive capabilities. Organizations that invest in their planned resilience capabilities are able to sense change as it emerges, take action to minimize the downside risk, and to extract maximum upside. 

They are able to prevent many crises from ever occurring, and when crises do occur, they manage them responsively and effectively. However, planned resilience capabilities will only get an organization so far. No crisis ever fits the plan, and organizations inevitably need to find ways to adapt and evolve. Being both planned and adaptive is the key to resilience.

Resilience is less dependent on the structural design of the organization than it is on the relationship between people and groups within that organization. Different resilience challenges are faced by organizations operating in different sectors. Organizations in highly regulated environments can sometimes find themselves constrained in their ability to implement solutions at short notice, yet organizations operating in highly competitive environments may have more incentive to innovate.

What Are The Indicators To Assess The Resilience Of An Organization?

No matter what type of organization, large or small, for-profit or not-for-profit, these indicators of resilience apply:

Leadership: Strong crisis leadership to provide good management and decision making during times of crisis, as well as continuous evaluation of strategies and work programs against organizational goals.

Effective Partnerships: An understanding of the relationships and resources the organization might need to access from other organizations during a crisis, and planning and management to ensure this access.

Staff Engagement: The engagement and involvement of staff who understand the link between their own work, the organization's resilience, and its long term success. Staff are empowered and use their skills to solve problems.

Internal Resources: The management and mobilisation of the organization's resources to ensure its ability to operate during business as usual, as well as being able to provide the extra capacity required during a crisis.

Unity Of Purpose: An organization wide awareness of what the organization's priorities would be following a crisis, clearly defined at the organization level, as well as an understanding of the organization's minimum operating requirements.

Proactive Posture: A strategic and behavioural readiness to respond to early warning signals of change in the organization's internal and external environment before they escalate into crisis.

Planning Strategies: The development and evaluation of plans and strategies to manage vulnerabilities in relation to the business environment and its stakeholders.

For any significant task, you need highly skilled specialists working closely together. As they develop strong working relationships, they develop their own ethos, working terminology and build strong bonds of trust.

There are a number of ways to network your organization. Internal training programs and off sites can help build crucial links between disparate divisional and functional areas. Some companies, like General Electric, encourage executives to work in multiple divisions during their career, building not only a wide base of expertise, but also important relationships.


Today, the role of leaders has changed. Their primary function is not to only plan and direct action, but to inspire and empower belief around a single mission and to shape networks that enable actions to take place at the speed which the environment demands. That, in turn, requires the use of systems that allow everyone in the enterprise to access ecosystems of talent, technology and information.

Learning how to manage change through developing resiliency has been extremely helpful in shedding light on this concept.

Resilience in organizations is a crucial part of enabling a firm to handle and adapt to a rapidly changing environment, yet so few employers seem to deem it part of their hiring requirements. More often than not, talent and experience are prized far above the abilities of employees to endure and adapt to change, but firms that are especially prone to rapidly changing circumstances should consider giving some added importance to resilience. 

After all, even the most talented, experienced professionals would not be of use to a fast-paced company if s/he was not sufficiently resilient, as functions could be swiftly made redundant and new skillsets coming into greater demand within a matter of months. Moreover, resilience is particularly crucial in times of crisis, when the survival of the organization is at stake. 

This was the situation for many firms during the recent Great Recession, but certain events may target a few specific companies along with their employees. However, many of the measures to boost resiliency are naturally most effective if implemented before a crisis has occurred. All performance starts with clear goals and expectations. In tough times, leaders need to prioritize and re-evaluate company goals.

One of the other major factors behind the continued success or failure of a firm is the quality of leadership at the executive level and throughout the organization. The traits, characteristics and philosophies of good leadership have been widely studied and are fundamental for a leader to truly succeed:

Honesty - A leader must display sincerity, integrity and candor.
Humility - A leader who displays humility has a higher degree of self-confidence.
Competence -A leader takes actions that are based on reason and moral principles.

Visionary - A leader sets clear goals and has compelling vision of the future, which highly engages people and appeals to their higher values.
Inspiring - A leader displays confidence, passion, and mental and physical stamina.
Intelligence - A leader continuously studies the environment, reflects and seeks new challenges.

Ethical - A leader demonstrates fair treatment to all people.
Selfless - A leader is always thinking of the company and its long term goals.
Broad-minded - A leader seeks diversity of opinions for clarity, innovation and new creative perspectives.

Courageous - A leader shows perseverance toward the accomplishment of goals, regardless of the seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
Critical Thinking - A leader uses critical judgement to make good decisions at the appropriate time.
Imaginative - A leader makes timely and appropriate changes in thinking, plans and methods.

For leaders to be successful and build resilient organizations, it is important to understand and practice efficient business management.
One of the most important skills any professional could possess is the ability effectively manage and lead.


Effective corporate leaders, either people who start new businesses, or take over existing ones and run them in better ways have a strong desire to create and own something lasting and to have decision-making authority over whatever they create. The entrepreneurial path appeals strongly to "big-picture," creative thinkers with a penchant for market strategy and a strong need for autonomy and control.

At the same time, one of the most important ingredients for entrepreneurial success is managerial experience. Brilliant analysis or a great product idea is one thing; knowing how to motivate and challenge a group of employees during tough times and business uncertainty is another.

Building a resilient organization, typically having cross-functional responsibility; is, making decisions that involve the coordination and integration of functional areas such as sales, marketing, human resources, finance, and production. Moreover, flexibility, quick decision making and accountability for the success of the business rests entirely on corporate leaders.

It also includes the activities of setting the strategy of an organization and coordinating the efforts of its team to accomplish its objectives including:
  • Planning
  • Organizing
  • Commanding
  • Coordinating
  • Controlling
  • Forecasting
Planning is looking ahead. This requires an active participation of the entire organization. With respect to time and implementation, planning must be linked to and coordinated on different levels. Planning must take the organization’s available resources and flexibility of personnel into consideration as this will guarantee continuity.

An organization can only function well if it is well-organized. This means that there must be sufficient capital so that the organization can run smoothly and that it can build a good working structure. The organizational structure with a good division of functions and tasks is of crucial importance.

When given orders and clear working instructions, employees will know exactly what is required of them. Return from all employees will be optimized if they are given concrete instructions with respect to the activities that must be carried out by them. Only through positive employee behaviour management can the intended objectives be achieved.

By verifying whether everything is going according to plan, the organization knows exactly whether the activities are carried out in conformity with its strategic plan.

#buttons=(Accept !) #days=(20)

Our website uses cookies from Google to enhance your experience. Our Privacy Policy
Accept !