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What is a resilient organization?

By David Honour, editor, Continuity Central.

Over the past couple of weeks I have taken part in three separate discussions with high profile business continuity professionals about organizational resilience and resiliency.

All three were quite clear that resilience is becoming an increasingly important consideration for organizations and businesses; but each gave a different definition of what a ‘resilient organization’ is.

It seems to me that some clarity in this area would be useful and as a move in this direction Continuity Central would like to invite you to give your definition of 'the resilient organization' using the form below. If you would like to discuss this area please go to http://www.mycontinuitycentral.com


These responses have been spell checked but not edited.

Thomas M Wagner
A resilient organization is an organization whose critical business functions or technologies can continue to operate with minimal interruption during major disasters.

Adio Lasisi
A resilient organization is: an organization with robust business processes, prepared infrastructure and knowledgeable human capital that has been equipped by world class leadership to withstand the shocks and disruptions of unprecedented events with minimal dent in service quality to its stakeholders.

Charles Thomas
A resilient organization is: The ability of a system and its component parts to anticipate, absorb, accommodate, or recover from the effects of a hazardous event in a timely and efficient manner, including through ensuring the preservation, restoration, or improvement of its essential basic structures and functions. UN Climate Change report.

Kevin Moloney
A resilient organization is: one which can demonstrate the following qualities:

The ability to maintain stability near an equilibrium steady- state. In terms of a business organisation, this means:
- Its ability to resist unplanned interruption, and
- The speed with which it can return to the equilibrium (business as usual), or
- The ease with which it can move to a new equilibrium (manage change).

Sharon J. Hook
A resilient organization is: An organisation that has identified its external and internal dependencies, assessed the associated risks, identified the triggers to dependency failure and put alternative measures in place to deal with such a failure. It has a decisive Critical Incident Management (CIM) team and effective system, with communications flowing to the team and decisions flowing from it. The organisation exercises its CIM team and Business Unit Recovery plans through an assortment of testing styles over a multi year rolling program. A resilient organisation needs effective, across organisation, business continuity goals, policy and framework which assist to build business continuity into every day operations.

Amardeep Singh (Australia)
A resilient organization is: one that can successfully mitigate, respond and recover for an adverse event as relevant to its own business needs and requirements. These needs and requirements would include processes and delivery of outcomes to meet business objectives.

Erik Sunde
A resilient organization is: an organization that can survive a business disruption event, across multiple business functions, with minimal downtime or disruption of internal or external services.

Ian Charters
A resilient organization is: one that can adapt rapidly to changes in the operating environment - either planned or spontaneous (after a disruption). It is fostered by workforce flexibility, deep knowledge of the business and listening management. It is therefore the final part of the continuity jigsaw - as we know that the successful organisations do not go back to normal after a disruption - they adapt to a new, better 'normal' that incorporates the opportunities that have appeared.

A resilient organization is: Business Resiliency incorporates a constant state of adapting to change (good or bad) and being able to work seamlessly through the change without alarm or disruption to the business. It is the ability operate and respond quickly to business disruptions, changes and even opportunities, internally or externally, due to built-in processes that allow for immediate and seamless flow of operations. In being business resilient, day-to-day operating functions are able to react quickly and effectively to shortfalls or disruptions that may occur because a back-up process or system has already been implemented to react to such occurrences.

Ron Brown
A resilient organization is one where enough risk is mitigated to avoid business disruptions. Any risk not mitigated (residual risk) can be planned for in a DR strategy or transferred to an insurance policy.

Dean Myburgh
A resilient organisation is one that not only survives, but is also able to thrive in an environment of change and uncertainty. This presents the opportunity to use a structured approach (ISO 31000) to anticipate unplanned risks, recover from disruptions, adapt to changing conditions and leverage emerging opportunities.

For further information on Organisation Resilience, go to: http://www.resorgs.org.nz/

Ed Hansen
To me the one thing (key ingredient) about an organization's resilient capability is its ability to be resilient enough to take on "new opportunities" and not just recovering from some catastrophic disaster. For instance, if an organization acquired an external entity is it resilient enough (organizational and infrastructure) to take it on in running mode with little effort.

Nick Thomas
A resilient organization is: One that has developed and implemented a management system that prevents, mitigates and handles major disruptions to business, or operations, as usual. The system encompasses risk management (prevention), impact management (mitigation) and plans covering emergency response, business continuity and recovery, and IT disaster recovery (handle).

John Stagl, CBCP
A resilient organization is: part of a company's philosophical make up. It is time among us planners to come to the realization that not all problems are solvable. You cannot implement a specific protocol that will result in resiliency unless senior management already has this predisposition. Management defines "resiliency " by its behavior, the decisions it makes and its attitude in dealing with problems. There is no formula that will generate resiliency, it evolves in corporations over time as the staff reflects management values and behavior. No procedure will install this philosophical attribute in an organization; people make resilient companies by their values and behavior, not by installing some process.

Georges Cowan
A resilient organization is: an organization or system that has the capacity to adapt to consequences of an interruption and resume vital and critical operations rapidly. Resilient organizations have taken actions for years as opposed to others that only have discussion about it.

Charley Newnham
My thesis on the subject is about to define Organisational Resilience as "the capacity of an organisation to thrive and achieve longevity". As for a 'resilient organisation' well, I think there are degrees of resilience but as I've never heard of an infallible one, I'm assuming there's no such thing as totally resilient!

John Kunert
A resilient organization is: one that is capable of sustaining critical core functionalities both during and after major threats to its core organizational and infrastructure components. Much like USS San Francisco during the second battle of Guadalcanal: After sustaining over 30 major caliber hits, its senior leadership amongst the casualties and the hull severely compromised, the remaining crew optimized what they had to:

- maintain propulsion and electrical generation
- stay afloat -continue the attack
- live to fight another day...

Translate this to any business/economic entity in the face of disaster/threats and you have the ideal definition of resiliency...

Send your response:

Discuss business continuity

•Date: 18th November 2011 • Region: World •Type: Article • Topic: BC general

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