7 Ways to Build Organizational Resilience

Oct. 1, 2021

Eller Business Blog

How do you build organizational resilience?

To help your organization navigate turbulent and complex circumstances, we asked business leaders and founders this question for their best insights. From keeping a positive mindset to adopting agile practices, several strategies may help nurture a resilient organization to withstand future challenges. 

Here are seven ways to foster organizational resilience: 

  • Keep a Positive Mindset

  • Focus on Profit First

  • Identify Your Purpose

  • Expand Wellbeing Resources

  • Lead With Focus and Connection

  • Adopt Agile Practices

  • Keep Open Communication

Keep a Positive Mindset

It is crucial to building organizational resilience. We live in a time where there can be a lot of disruptors and distractions. You must stay positive during turbulent times and focus on what you can control. Use metrics that are in your control to measure success. 

Work on the areas you can, and prepare for outside disruptors that may enter by building a strong and clear vision of what your organization is all about. View tough times and failures as an opportunity to learn, grow, and improve. Stay positive and think long-term.

Alison Stine ’13 BSBA (Finance), Founder of Stine Wealth Management

Focus on Profit First

The key to organizational resilience is profitability. If a business is profitable, the organization can adapt to change and prosper through tough times because of cash reserves and cash flow. 

Before the turbulence arrives, business leaders should put in the work to prioritize profit first. Identify your target allocation percentage around profit compared to revenue, categorize and cut expenses to achieve a profit goal, and make your business resilient for good times and bad.

Brett Farmiloe ’06 BSBA (Accounting), CEO and Founder of Markitors

Identify Your Purpose 

What is your purpose? Purpose is the reason for doing what we do. You can begin identifying your purpose as a small business or your purpose for launching your business by answering these two questions:

  1. Besides the money, what am I doing this for?

  2. Besides the money, who am I doing this for?

Carlos Alsua, Professor of Practice, International Management and Global Entrepreneurship at Eller College of Management

Expand Well-Being Resources

The demands of work can sometimes change incrementally, while other times suddenly. As employees respond to these changes, it’s advantageous for organizations to ensure their greatest resource — their people — are empowered holistically. 

Deloitte prioritizes work-life balance, providing a variety of well-being resources for its employees. And with the recent pandemic, the importance of wellness has been emphasized more by all its employees. 

Well-being resources have been expanded to help accommodate the variety of people and lifestyles across the firm, to include mental health workshops, reducing internal meetings (when possible), and vast assistance programs to adjust to COVID-19 impacts.

John Jenkins ’19 MBA, ’19 MS (MIS), Human Capital Consultant at Deloitte

Lead With Focus and Connection 

Resilient organizations have engaged leadership in place in times of change. When organizations lack strong leadership, they risk nurturing a disconnected team. Leaders should create ways their team can reach them, aside from an email, to encourage employees to air their concerns and ask questions. Using intraoffice channels to communicate directly with leadership sets the tone for a focused and resilient company culture that can withstand change with grace.

Allan J. Switalski, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communications at AVANA Capital

Adopt Agile Practices

A core concept in agile project management is that your team can pivot and adjust to changes as needed, which helps build organizational resilience. Adopting this methodology looks different for each organization, but the results are always faster deliverables and the agility to change priorities each day to reach the end goal. 

A bonus is that employees are empowered to think of process efficiencies and areas of improvement regularly, which creates a more collaborative work culture.

Debra Hildebrand, Founder and Senior Consultant at Hildebrand Solutions, LLC

Keep Open Communication

When your organization is undergoing change, communication becomes even more important with your stakeholders. Detail the reasoning and context for any changes in the company. Also, remember to be open and willing to answer the questions and concerns from employees and other parties. Being proactive in this way will help create smooth transitions for your organization.

David Wachs, Founder and CEO at Handwrytten


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