The Resilient Organization: Adapting to Change in a Challenging World


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Organizations must be resilient if they are to survive and thrive in turbulent times. Learning from experience, investments in leadership and culture, networks, and change readiness can help them move from denial and paralysis to acceptance and practical solutions.

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The Resilient Organization: Adapting to Change in a Challenging World

  1. 1. The views expressed in this presentation are the views of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Asian Development Bank, or its Board of Governors, or the governments they represent. ADB does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this presentation and accepts no responsibility for any consequence of their use. The countries listed in this presentation do not imply any view on ADB's part as to sovereignty or independent status or necessarily conform to ADB's terminology. The Resilient Organization: Adapting to Change in a Challenging World Olivier Serrat 2014
  2. 2. A Darwinian Epic Resilience has a long history in ecology and, when persons are the subject, psychology. Additionally, of late, it has been used in the context of communities, hence, organizations, where it is more and more defined in active, not passive, terms to connote deliberate efforts to deal with—perhaps even thrive on—hardship. For communities and organizations, resilience must surely stand for more than mere survival. With an initial focus on tragedies in the wake of 9/11, the notion of organizational resilience has burgeoned because of the need to manage uncertainty and ambiguity in modern societies and their economies, all of them complex and increasingly interconnected.
  3. 3. The Quickening Fragility of Success Certainly, in the private sector, success has never been so fragile: large organizations fail more often than in the past. Every day, the sustainability of organizations is tested in a world that constantly changes and offers new challenges. Emerging ideas evolve ways to accommodate turbulence and effectively manage disruptive change and its pace to engage, adjust, adapt, and recover; capture or realize opportunity; and sometimes even morph to become stronger from experience. The capacity to constantly adapt, improvise, and even shape change can only spring from latent potential at individual, group, and organizational levels, nurtured over a history of prior experience.
  4. 4. Dimensions of Resilience Resilient Organizations suggest that the resilience of an organization is a function of three interdependent attributes. Leadership and Culture—which define the adaptive capacity of the organization. Networks— which amount to the internal and external relationships fostered and developed for the organization to leverage when needed Change Readinesss— which signifies the planning undertaken and direction established to enable the organization to be change-ready.
  5. 5. Resilience Indicators Leadership and Culture Leadership Staff Engagement Situation Awareness Decision Making Innovation and Creativity Networks Effective Partnerships Leveraging Knowledge Breaking Silos Internal Resources
  6. 6. Resilience Indicators Change Readiness Unity of Purpose Proactive Posture Planning Strategies Stress-Testing Plans Resilient Organizations also provides a resilience benchmark tool and associated questionnaire to gauge the resilience of an organization, monitor progress over time, and compare resilience strengths and weaknesses against other organizations in the sector of interest or of a similar size.
  7. 7. Further Reading • ADB. 2008. Reading the Future. Manila. • ——. 2008. Action Learning. Manila. • ——. 2009. Overcoming Roadblocks to Learning. Manila. • ——. 2009. Dimensions of the Learning Organization. Manila. • ——. 2009. Building a Learning Organization. Manila.
  8. 8. Further Reading • ADB. 2009. Understanding Complexity. Manila. • ——. 2009. A Primer on Organizational Learning. Manila. • ——. 2010. The Critical Incident Technique. Manila. • ——. 2010. Bridging Organizational Silos. Manila. • ——. 2011. A Primer on Corporate Governance. Manila.
  9. 9. Further Reading • ADB. 2012. On Organizational Configurations. Manila. • ——. 2012. Future Search Conferencing. Manila. • ——. 2013. On Resilient Organizations. Manila. • Resilient Organizations. 2014.
  10. 10. Quick Response Codes @ADB @ADB Sustainable Development Timeline @LinkedIn @ResearchGate @Scholar @SlideShare @Twitter