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Where next for resilience?

Resilience as a strategic discipline is on the verge of a major step forward. There are two key and related drivers of this.

First, the recent history of high impact events (the pandemic, geopolitical risk and energy being the highest profile examples) have required elevated thinking in resilience. In this era of volatility, uncertainty and change, the value of resilience is increasingly seen by senior leaders as essential for an organisation’s long-term performance and success. It is widely recognised that more resilient organisations are better able to anticipate change and disruption, to absorb the impacts, and are quicker to adapt to the new conditions.

Second, this elevated attention and appreciation has further developed a convergence in the discipline which has allowed both thinking and practices to move forward in a more unified way. This convergence is evident in a new Code of Practice for Organisational Resilience, BS 65000:2022, published by the BSI. I have written an Executive Briefing on the new Code  which is available free of charge; the full Code can be purchased and downloaded from the BSI here.

The principles that underpin this convergence will help organisations create a more resilient future for us all, which is a theme I also pick up in an article for the National Preparedness Commission. It is the external focus of ‘a more resilient future for all of us’ that will, I believe, drive the next phase of development in resilience. We are not just creating resilient organisations to protect ourselves; we are doing so for a societal good.

This external focus is already becoming familiar to organisations through other disciplines. As a research report co-written by my business partner Andrew Griffin finds, companies are addressing environmental, social and governance (ESG) challenges not because it is good for their reputations, but because it is good for society. The same is true of resilience: organisations will increasingly think of their resilience capability as a value add for society as well as a strategic organisational asset.

‘Strategic’ is perhaps the key word. Those that follow the BSI guidance will be making strategic choices about their resilience: developing greater appreciation of the upside value of resilience, deciding where and what changes need to be made, making reasonable and proportionate investment, and reporting progress and outcomes to stakeholders.

So where next for resilience? Working more closely together, we now have the opportunity to drive resilience as a strategic asset which not only delivers benefit for individual organisations but also contributes to creating positive outcomes for all of us.

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