The word ‘resilience’ can imply being tough. Well, perhaps so, but in a business context, it’s about being tough on outmoded ways of thinking and definitely not about being tough on people in the sense of seeking to control them. Quite the opposite.
To be resilient, businesses need leaders who can articulate, and hold to, strong, clear values. But they also need employees who feel sufficiently engaged to share and support that vision, particularly when the going gets difficult. So resilience should never be thought of in terms of some last-ditch boardroom stand.
As Ranjay Gulati, Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, says in his book Reorganize for Resilience: “resilient companies break down internal barriers that impede action, build bridges across divisions, and create a network of collaborators”.
He cites five key levers for creating resilience …
- Coordination: connect, eradicate, or restructure silos to enable swift responses
- Cooperation: align all employees around the shared goals of customer solutions
- Clout: redistribute power to “bridge builders” and customer champions
- Capability: develop employees’ skills at tackling changing customer needs
- Connection: blend your offerings with partners to provide unique customer solutions
… and it’s noticeable how they all involve engaging people, not controlling them.