An organisations’ resilience reflects human strength
Back in 2003 the Harvard Business Review published an article, “The Quest for Resilience”.
It stated that “The world is becoming turbulent faster than organisations are becoming resilient.” Fast forward some 17 years and while many companies have improved their ability to respond to the ebbs and flows of business it’s fair to say that no one could have anticipated our current predicament.
The point the article made back then still resonates today. “In the past, executives had the luxury of assuming that business models were more or less immortal. Companies always had to work to get better, of course, but they seldom had to get different—not at their core, not in their essence”. Our ability to respond to the massive change around us today, and to re-imagine the very model on which our businesses have been built, will be the biggest test and indicator of our future successes, and indeed, our survival.
Business resilience is about being able to anticipate and respond to changes that impair the ability of the company to both earn money and deliver on their purpose – the real reason they exist – and, importantly, to bounce back when change happens. It’s critical that organisations set themselves up to withstand shocks and deal with uncertainty, remaining agile to change before change becomes necessary. Unfortunately, no one could have ever imagined the shockwave that is being felt across the globe right now. It’s therefore even more important that business leaders consider how they can best support and respond to each other, their employees, as well as the communities and countries in which they operate.
There are both operational and financial dimensions to meeting this challenge. The most crucial, and often over-looked part, is the human side of resilience. For it is with and through people that all businesses exist and thrive. As the magazine Psychology Today says:
“Resilience is that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever. Rather than letting failure overcome them and drain their resolve, they find a way to rise from the ashes.”
The need and desire to ‘rise from the ashes’ will resonate with many of us at this time. Businesses are already reinventing themselves to survive in this new normal and people are learning about what makes them truly happy.
In business, as in life, we all need some form of a feedback mechanism. We need to know that we’re heading in the right direction and that we’re on track. That’s a key measure of resilience. The decisions you make today will inevitably have an impact on the results you achieve tomorrow so it’s important to know where you are relative to your plan - If you have one! Measuring both personal and organisational resilience enables business leaders to establish how well their company is set up and how to manage change and deal with adversity.
We know what resilience means but how do you become resilient? There are some key steps and while it’s better to create a plan for change before events happen many won’t have had that opportunity. We’ve put together these top ten tips for leaders, business owners and employees to help develop the qualities, navigate the current turbulence and disruption in our world and to arrive stronger on the other side.
- Adaptability and speed of decisions - To adapt, businesses need to make fast decisions and sometimes based on limited information. Be vigilant and alert to changing conditions. While change is inevitable it’s the response to that change that matters most
- Accountability - accept that mistakes can and will happen. Being accountable is crucial and enables people to truly step up and accept that they must stand up for the decision they make. It’s also important to note that the information we had yesterday is now out of date so recognise that people are human. Retribution will inhibit their decision-making ability and their willingness to step up and be accountable
- Flexibility - leaders need to be flexible and open to new ideas that may only be ‘80% perfect’. Just as the wind and storms change a skipper’s tactics so too will leaders need to change theirs
- Optimism grounded in realism - avoid the negative media frenzy and stay in touch with your own feelings for positivity and optimism. That’s what employees expect. We may not have all the answers but keeping a sense of optimism grounded in the reality of the situation is key to coming through the turmoil in the best possible shape
- Innovate and act on that innovation - people need to be given the time, tools and permission to think differently. Innovation can’t be left to one person or one department; now is the time to make innovation part of everyone’s job description
- Get it done culture - resilience is about making things happen once a decision has been made. Quick decisions need to be implemented to be effective and that’s where the mindset and attitude of the leadership team, and throughout the business really matter
- Trust your team - it’s imperative that leaders seek the perspective of others, trust their team and delegate where appropriate. Just because someone brings a different perspective to your own doesn’t mean either of you is wholly right, or wholly wrong
- Be self-aware - Leadership is about two things: leading from the front and generating ‘followership’. Having an awareness of how you ‘are’, how you feel and how you react is key. Self-awareness leads to a greater authentic leadership style and at times like these true authenticity is needed
- It’s all about your people - people are the biggest asset you have. Recognise and acknowledge that the people in your business are ‘emotional’ humans and therefore need support as well as guidance. Be mindful of each other’s feelings while presenting a positive mindset. Lead with humanity and purpose. Sometimes people just need an arm around their shoulder for support or to cry on
- Give people meaning - great leaders recognise that people come to work to earn money and bring good to the world. It’s your job, as a leader, to help your organisation and people focus on the ‘why’ of the business and therefore better engage your people now and in the future.
This article was contributed by Phil Rose, Co-founder, Ignium
G7 Summit guide: What it is and what leaders hope to achieve
Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand, you’ll have seen the term ‘G7’ plastered all over the Internet this week. We’re going to give you the skinny on exactly what the G7 is and what its purpose on this planet is ─ and whether it’s a good or a bad collaboration.
Who are the G7?
The Group of Seven, or ‘G7’, may sound like a collective of pirate lords from a certain Disney smash-hit, but in reality, it’s a group of the world’s seven largest “advanced” economies ─ the powerhouses of the world, if you like.
The merry band comprises:
- The United Kingdom
- The United States
Historically, Russia was a member of the then-called ‘G8’ but found itself excluded after their ever-so-slightly illegal takeover of Crimea back in 2014.
Since 1977, the European Union has also been involved in some capacity with the G7 Summit. The Union is not recognised as an official member, but gradually, as with all Europe-linked affairs, the Union has integrated itself into the conversation and is now included in all political discussions on the annual summit agenda.
When was the ‘G’ formed?
Back in 1975, when the world was reeling from its very first oil shock and the subsequent financial fallout that came with it, the heads of state and government from six of the leading industrial countries had a face-to-face meeting at the Chateau de Rambouillet to discuss the global economy, its trajectory, and what they could do to address the economic turmoil that reared its ugly head throughout the 70s.
Why does the G7 exist?
At this very first summit ─ the ‘G6’ summit ─, the leaders adopted a 15-point communiqué, the Declaration of Rambouillet, and agreed to continuously meet once a year moving forward to address the problems of the day, with a rotating Presidency. One year later, Canada was welcomed into the fold, and the ‘G6’ became seven and has remained so ever since ─ Russia’s inclusion and exclusion not counted.
The group, as previously mentioned, was born in the looming shadow of a financial crisis, but its purpose is more significant than just economics. When leaders from the group meet, they discuss and exchange ideas on a broad range of issues, including injustice around the world, geopolitical matters, security, and sustainability.
It’s worth noting that, while the G7 may be made up of mighty nations, the bloc is an informal one. So, although it is considered an important annual event, declarations made during the summit are not legally binding. That said, they are still very influential and worth taking note of because it indicates the ambitions and outlines the initiatives of these particularly prominent leading nations.
Where is the 2021 G7 summit?
This year, the summit will be held in the United Kingdom deep in the southwest of England, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosting his contemporaries in the quaint Cornish resort of Carbis Bay near St Ives in Cornwall.
What will be discussed this year?
After almost two years of remote communication, this will be the first in-person G7 summit since the novel Coronavirus first took hold of the globe, and Britain wants “leaders to seize the opportunity to build back better from coronavirus, uniting to make the future fairer, greener, and more prosperous.”
The three-day summit, running from Friday to Sunday, will see the seven leaders discussing a whole host of shared challenges, ranging from the pandemic and vaccine development and distribution to the ongoing global fight against climate change through the implementation of sustainable norms and values.
According to the UK government, the attendees will also be taking a look at “ensuring that people everywhere can benefit from open trade, technological change, and scientific discovery.”