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Rethink resilience – Four ways organisations can evolve for disruption

Being resilient by design is critical for both survival and for strategic advantage in an era where disruption is the norm. From a pandemic, war and cost of living crisis to extreme weather events, supply chain challenges and cyber attacks, the threats we all face are more frequent and complex than ever before.

In this polycrisis world where risks and the ecosystems they impact are increasingly interconnected, resilience is imperative for leading organisations. The ability to adapt and respond to disruption is vital to maintaining the trust built with stakeholders at a time when the expectations of the resilience of businesses and government have never been higher.

To rethink resilience in this context, we have brought together wide-ranging insights from those with the greatest stake in the resilience of organisations across the UK. Over the course of a year, guided by our steering group, we have held 100+ conversations with business executives, investors, government and regulators and, crucially, citizens within the UK.

Their combined reflections set out the business case for why leaders need to take a more strategic approach to resilience and – by making the right investments in people, technology and data – four clear and practical ways to get there.

Rethink resilience – Four ways organisations can evolve for disruption— Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers

1. Upgrade your radar

Change the way you see risk and look for trouble before it finds you. Organisations most able to mitigate, withstand and recover stronger from a crisis all have exceptional radar for risk.[1]

Use that radar and imagination to get a 360 degree view that goes beyond risk registers and traditional risk management. Look forwards and don’t spend too long looking in the rearview mirror – the past is no longer a reliable indicator of future challenges.

2. Build strength where you need it

Choose where you want to thrive and win and where you can’t afford to lose. Understand why you want to be resilient and prioritise investment based on what’s critical to your organisation and stakeholders. What are the things that would destroy your business fastest?

Start by identifying your most important and critical services – rather than systems – and understanding what level of vulnerability is acceptable assuming disruption will happen. When would interruption to a core business service go from being inconvenient to intolerable – from a customer, financial, reputational and operational perspective?

3. Prime your immune system

Embracing disruptive events with confidence requires building layers of resilience – from your employees and customers to your leadership and the Board – so that you’re ready for any scenario.

The foundation of this immunity is investing in the wellbeing and skills of your people and empowering them with the right technology. Poppy Jaman OBE, Global CEO of MindForward Alliance says: “MindForward Alliance has found that a purpose-driven, inclusive and healthy work environment creates important wellbeing capital that drives a collective responsibility for resilience across the organisation.” And providing people with the right technology and skills allows them to spend more time bringing valuable human perspective and insight to solving these complex problems.

4. Detoxify failure

Change culture and mindset to expect and accept bad things will happen. Risk management frameworks, risk appetites and business continuity plans can’t prevent bad things happening so plan for the worst. Tone from the top is a critical success factor in achieving this change.

Detoxifying failure requires a culture of openness and transparency around your vulnerabilities. Give all voices a place in the room and listen to both the foretellers of doom and the eternal optimists to encourage a mindset that expects and accepts bad things will happen, even when you hope for the best.

Read the full article at PwC (UK)

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