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Without a North Star or standardized metric for resilience, it can be tricky to show progress or even get executive buy-in. But ignoring this business imperative is akin to not having flood insurance in a hurricane zone.
On a sunnier note, more and more executive leaders are getting it. In fact, the 2022 Economist Impact global study, sponsored by Iron Mountain, reports that only 26% of CEOs are not involved in resilience efforts, which means the 74% in the know are rolling up their sleeves and revising their resiliency playbooks, understanding that major disruptions can happen at any moment.
Companies that invest in resilience and continue to stay the course will see their investment pay off over time because that strategy will enable them to respond quickly and efficiently to incidents as they occur.
“A resilient organization is going to benefit over the long term,” says John Ferguson, Practice Lead, Globalization, Trade, and Finance at Economist Impact. “There might be periods of time when the global economy is stable and people lose their focus, but it comes back to your expectations of the future. I would prefer that the world was a bit more stable, but I do expect more global shocks.”
True. You can’t predict the future, but you can use existing KPIs or KRIs to help anticipate the potential impact that disruptions may have on your organization. This way, cross-functional teams can see how resilience directly affects their group or line of business. You can also hold up your organization’s traditional metrics for measuring success and performance (EBITDA, bookings, customer satisfaction, employee retention, investor activities, etc.) against how resilience may be interpreted from them.
When you embrace the notion that resilience is an enterprise-wide cultural shift and not a passing trend, you can put the polarizing opinions to rest. How exactly? Start socializing the fact that it’s all part of the same cross-functional team sport. You see, post-pandemic, you tend to hear from two general camps of executives when it comes to how to go boldly forward.
Camp one is very much “Act Now!” Create whatever efficiencies necessary to fast-track new paths to profit. Basically, from a short-term operational standpoint, anything that a) somewhat aligns with shifting business priorities and b) immediately impacts the bottom line … goes.
Then there’s the more future-focused, proactive group of campers who have a bigger, typically more costly, vision around long-term resilience strategies. And they don’t want dead end stop-gaps or disruptive network Band-Aids getting in the way.
Here’s a graph that illustrates the divide:
The key takeaway: Both camps are right. How can that be? Simply put, it’s not an either/or situation. There’s nothing wrong with creating efficiencies to strengthen the supply chain and help immediate short-term revenue plays as long as it doesn’t interfere with the bigger plans that involve the long-term health and resilience of your organization.
The 2022 Economist Impact research shows evidence of some businesses centralizing this function with a chief officer or head of resilience. While at the same time, other companies are decentralizing with more mid-level executional teams. Like most things, there are pros and cons either way. The trick is finding out what works best for your organization—and sticking to it with dedicated full-time talent whose job it is to shine new light on this necessary part of doing modern business.
A few more sobering facts from the survey:
No matter where you stand (in operations, sales, marketing, or the C-suite), blind optimism on this topic won’t help. The effort, the strategy, and the implementation all need to be sustained. Without consistent top-down support, it’s nearly impossible to be prepared for the next global disruption—and to stay profitable in our current state of constant change.
However, if you coordinate a unified vision (with existing success metrics) across functions, teams, and time zones—and put real budget behind it—then the potential long- and short-term solutions have a much higher chance of getting implemented.
So no matter which way or how hard the hurricane winds of disruption are blowing, your organization will be ready and resilient enough to withstand anything.