5 Steps to Improve your Organisation’s Resilience

Change can occur rapidly from many different directions and we often see examples of strong businesses fall victim to the pace of change.  The high street is just one example.

So here are 5 steps any organisation can take to improve its resilience in any climate.

  1. Understand What You Do.

This might seem like a ridiculous exercise but it’s surprising how many organisations don’t truly understand what they ‘do’.

There are two aspects to this.  Firstly, understanding the expectations of your customers will help you ensure that you always meet them.  Retaining customers is a good step along the way of a sustainable organisation.

Secondly, when things get tricky you need to keep the organisation viable, and this means focusing on the delivery of your core profit making activities, so it’s important to know what these are so you can prioritise your resources on them.

  1. Scan the Horizon for Threats

When you know the above, it’s time to look at the threats that could disrupt your ability to do what you ‘do’.

There are several ways of doing this including a PESTLE Analysis. This takes in a broad range of potential issues including changes in politics, the economy, society, technology, legal landscape and the environment.

Brainstorm everything, then use a risk management methodology to focus on the higher impact/more likely scenarios.

More on Horizon Scanning

  1. Make Sure you have the Right Resources

To maintain a sustainable organisation, you need to have the right resource available, or a strategy for scaling resources up/down in an emergency.

If you’ve understood what you ‘do’, then it’s likely you know the resources you need on a day to day basis.

Dedicate some additional resources to control the high impact/more likely threats you identified in point 2.

Then consider if the worst should happen, what resources you might need to weather a disruption.

Financial resources are an obvious one, but also consider people who have the appropriate skills and knowledge of your organisation, and the technology you might need to communicate and coordinate a team.

  1. Include and Train Staff

A common mistake when implementing organisational resilience, business continuity or a management system for any other discipline, is that staff are either left out of it or included too late.

These are the people who do what you ‘do’ so it’s essential that you include them when planning for disruptions to the organisation, they will have valuable input.

It’s also important to train these people on any of the arrangements you have made to cope with a disruptive event.

  1. Test Your Arrangements.

Through the point above you will have likely documented some findings and made some plans.

 Build confidence in those arrangements by testing them but be careful that your test doesn’t result in actually disrupting the organisation.  There are many types of test you can conduct including a command post exercise to test communication channels, a desk top test or a scenario or a technical test of a facility, such as an IT fail over.

Many lessons can be learnt from both a successful and a failed test.

Ready for the Next Step?

Above are five really simple steps you can take to make your organisation more resilient, but it’s not quite a full management system structure.

There are a range of standards contributing to a full resilience programme, including:

Each of these can be implemented alone, or as an integrated system, and some can be certified by a UKAS accredited body, providing an independent demonstration of compliance.

Assent can help with all aspects of your resilience programme.  Contact us for more information.

Robert Clements
Robert Clements
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