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Business Resilience

by Bjarne Sorensen | Mar 25, 2013

Charles Darwin once argued “It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones who are most responsive to change”. While Darwin talked about the evolution of species – his findings are relevant for businesses as well.

Many organisations talk about tough times; some complain about a strong Dollar (that makes it difficult to export), others about a slow economy. However, while it is relatively easy to run a successful business when the economy is doing well – some companies still prosper and grow even when the economy is not.

These companies tend to be characterised by resilience (and resemble the responsive species Charles Darwin talks about). For example, some resilient organisations benefited from the GFC because they saw it as a great opportunity to expand (as many assets could be purchased cheaply).

Fortunately, resilience is something that can be cultivated in a business. Oh (2011) cited in Niel (2011, pp. 63-65) suggests ways in which this can be accomplished:

  • Resilience should be embedded into a businesses’ DNA. And, it should be displayed by leadership at all levels.
  • A change-hungry climate should be fostered. One in which staff breathe and live by change. Change must basically be served up for every meal.
  • Staff should feel comfortable challenging current ways in which things are being done; and be rewarded for taking calculated risks (to bring about improvements).
  • A compelling vision must be created (a vision that is not just a flag that fly without any connection to the operation of the business)

While the above recommendations are only a small step in the right direction (toward the development of resilience) - it just may be a start toward a path of business prosperity and growth.


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