In recent times, no other word in the dictionary has had a bigger evolution in its connotation than the word “Normal”. What was considered an exceptional occurrence is now the (new!) normal. Who would’ve thought the world could carry on when most of us are locked up inside our homes, but then, it did carry on!
Firms have long been operating in an environment of interconnected and overlapping crisis. All signs indicate that Polycrisis is the new normal. To survive and thrive, the most valuable currency for firms is the trust of their stakeholders - be it regulators, investors, customers, suppliers, or employees. The question firms need to ask themselves is not “if” but “when” will the next crisis strike? And when it does – will they be prepared to remain worthy of their stakeholders’ trust?
Firms have a tremendous opportunity to build this trustworthiness by demonstrating their ability to remain operationally resilient and bounce back stronger through any crisis or disruption. Firms that recognise this opportunity and invest in building a strategic operational resilience capability will gain a significant competitive advantage enabling them to capitalize on opportunities where their competitors maybe less prepared.
Here are 3 actionable approaches to build and operationalise this sustainable operational resilience capability:
- Accountability & clear tone from the top
Boards need to take ultimate accountability for resilience as a strategic business imperative. This accountability shouldn’t be diluted by delegation to complex risk & governance structures. Leaders need to be vocal and empower the organisation to take resilience-led decisions and demand metrics that’s forward looking e.g. Recovery rate of services vis-à-vis competition.
- A mindset shift that puts resilience at the heart of everything:
Nothing changes until mindsets change. Boards & C-suite need to drive this narrative into the heart of the organisation. They need to incentivise bringing together complimentary capabilities like operational risk management, business continuity management, IT & cyber risk management, third party risk management etc to achieve the resilience imperative. The traditional inward facing view of the organisation is no longer fit for purpose and needs to pivot to a customer-led service delivery view. The executive focus also needs to put resilience by design at the centre of their strategic business decision making process.
- Pivot from a cost narrative to a return-on-investment narrative:
The cost of not being resilient is simple – you may no longer be in business. This hard-hitting reality is what needs coming to terms with. Instead of thinking how much a resilience initiative will cost, the pivot needs to be how much return this investment will generate in the form of increased market share and client retention by making services more reliable.
It’s a very exciting time to be sat at the heart of operational resilience, and the next few years promise to inculcate a feeling of permanent dynamism. Now is the time to invest in and prepare for the future. Are you in?