How to be a Resilient Organisation?

Posted on 22 Sep

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In today’s challenging economy, resilient organisations are the ones that are not just surviving but flourishing. At People Solutions’ yearly conference in early September we discussed how we are leading by example and how we can continue to grow our ability as a resilient organisation.

This theme originated from one of our directors, Steve Bowler, who had read “Reorganize for Resilience, Putting customers at the centre of your business” by Ranjay Gulati. This book talks about how to thrive and survive in all economic conditions and in particular maintaining resilience in turbulent markets.

What is a resilient organisation?

According to Gulati, the most resilient organisations are focussed on providing solutions to customer’s problems rather than to its products and services it offers. This means the organisation is no longer concerned about whether the products and services it uses to solve customers’ problems are its own or assembled through a network of partners.

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They are solely focussed on their customer and their needs.

In Gulati’s book, he outlines a four-part path to resilience. This was developed from interviewing over 500 executives and analysed close to a dozen enterprises from the 1999-2000 recession to now.

How close does your organisation meet this four-part path?

  • Outside-in thinkers: Conversations with customers, focus on how they can help address customer-articulated needs, rather than product specification and price.
  • Problem solvers: Solving problems with and for customers rather than selling to customers.
  • Permeable boundaries: They have developed a salutary indifference to whether their own key inputs or outputs are produced of themselves or someone else. They are focussed on the mean rather than the end of solving customer problems.
  • Customer centricity is a way of life: Organisation structures and management allow the business preserve that perspective and allow the organisation to bend to customer needs – the more so, the worse the economic climate.

This information really made us think about how customer focussed we are. This topic generated great conversation in our organisation, and we hope it does the same for yours.

As a starting point, discuss the below questions within your organisation:

Does your organisation provide solutions that meet your customer needs or do you provide the best solution from your existing products and/or services?

How often does your organisation work with other organisations to ensure you are meeting the needs of your customers?

Does your organisation have the structures and executive support which allows it to adapt to customer needs?

How could your organisation be more resilient?