We live in a world which is marked by disruption; whether it is the impact of the financial crisis on companies and business, extreme weather conditions or increasingly the potential for energy scarcity and the related travel and/or communications issues.
Risk management reviews can throw up any number of potential hazards to the smooth running of business and, in addition to the above, often focus on skill shortages, the heavy burden of legislation and many other obstacles to business growth and prosperity.
We already know all of this so why should we see resilience as a new or fresh approach to risk management? Resilience is often depicted with a sense of rigidity, having the ‘backbone’ to withstand whatever is thrown at us, but in reality resilience is much more than this. Resilience is about the ability to deal with difficulty through being adaptable and creative, not denying difficulty, but working through it. It is when we lose resilience that we become rigid in our thoughts, narrow in our emotions, and unable to see that we have choices.
Business resilience reviews should be creative and innovative, checking that day-to-day common sense approaches to business continuity are taken, but also building far more into them; tacking stock of the wider resources that may be available to a business that is temporarily unable to operate in its normal fashion. It may be that more flexibility can be built into day-to-day operations; more home working; accessing skills from third parties; better use of premises; reduced reliance on central functions on a daily basis etc. Have ‘what would we do if’ sessions with the Board to generate ideas, or at the very least realise the size of the problems you may face under certain circumstances.
This of course is just the start; no business can be resilient without an equally resilient strategic supplier and customer base. A roll out of resilience questionnaires to suppliers will not only be helpful to your business but will also help your suppliers to identify issues and weaknesses in their own operations, which should lead to mutually beneficial improvements. Resilience is all about the ability to adapt, at short notice, in all elements of your business operations.
Resilience matters because we cannot avoid the shocks of life, but we can absorb them more readily if we understand what helps recovery and how best to access it.
For more information and advice on resilience management contact us today.