In today’s fast-paced world, never before have businesses, government agencies and other organisations been subject to such a complex magnitude of risks and threats.
Cyber attacks, terrorist activity, natural disasters, supply chain failures, market volatility and reputational crises are just some of the disruptive events that can impact an organisation not only in continuing its day to day operations but may threaten its very existence in the longer term.
The embedding and continuous enhancement of an entity’s organisational resilience is key to responding to these risks and threats, a concept that can be thought of as “the ability of a system to withstand changes in its environment and still function”. This refers to the adaptive capacity to be prepared for anticipated and unanticipated disruptive events, to be able to recover to the same or better, position than prior to such an event occurring. Most resilient organisations may be able to adapt to a disruptive event as it occurs, continuing to function as normal with no or minor impact on their operations.
Organisational resilience isn’t just the ability to respond to disruptive events – if implemented in alignment with the strategic objectives and priorities of an organisation, it can provide a means of competitive advantage, particularly in tougher market sectors, maintaining and even adding to profitability and shareholder value. In an environment with greater consumer demands and expectations, urging an almost immediate response to any event, organisational resilience has become a necessity rather than a ‘nice to have’.
Effective organisational resilience necessitates the development of a ‘resilience web’, a holistic and multi-disciplinary approach bringing together an entity’s pre-existing risk management functions.
Business continuity, crisis management, IT disaster recovery, emergency planning, cyber security, and physical security form the basis of an organisation’s approach to resilience, with other functions that bring value contributing to the web, including strategic planning, legal, human resource management, marketing, and brand and communications.
Recent guidance for organisations looking to enhance organisational resilience comes in the form of ISO 22316, the new International Organisational Resilience Standard. Published in March 2017, the standard focuses on the principles, attributes and activities essential for enhancing organisational resilience, and is not specific to any industry or sector. Emphasising the multi-disciplinary nature of resilience, and providing an extended scope of resilience to include change as well as disruption, ISO 22316 is an essential resource for risk practitioners and executives alike.
For more information on how to make your organisation more resilient contact Agilient today.
McCarthy, Ian P; Collard, Mark; Johnson, Michael. “Adaptive organizational resilience: an evolutionary perspective”. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability. 28: 33–40