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March 3, 2021

During the global COVID-19 pandemic, resilience—the ability to respond to the crisis—has helped many organizations survive a turbulent year. But experts say that resilience is as much about reconnaissance as it is about recovery. While many organizations continue to struggle in 2021—and some have even permanently closed—there are certain companies that have not only persevered but also continued to prosper in this unusual environment.

Research shows that the companies that successfully weathered the storm were not just the ones in industries whose products and services were in high demand. According to the 2021 Deloitte Global Resilience Report, organizations that prepare in advance for disruption—whether it’s a slow-rising tide or a sudden overwhelming surge—are more likely to adapt, rebound and endure.

“Businesses have always faced disruption, but the challenges of the past 12 months have been uniquely unrelenting,” says Deloitte global CEO Punit Renjen. “As we look to recover and rebuild, the road ahead is likely to be even more unpredictable. Organizations that plan and invest in anticipation of future disruptions will be better positioned to thrive.”

 

Culture Is Key

While resilience didn’t necessarily help organizations forecast a global pandemic, it did enable them to better overcome disruptions because they had promoted agile strategies, fostered adaptive cultures and implemented and effectively used advanced technologies, according to the Deloitte report.

The nurturing of resilient cultures is especially critical, says Renjen. “More than 80% of CXOs who said their organizations have done very well cultivating resilient cultures also said they are doing well weathering the events of 2020. But among those who said they’ve not done well at all building resilient cultures, only 27% were happy with how they fared in 2020,” he says. “Resilience, most of the time, yielded success, while the lack of it created struggle.”

The survey showed a clear relationship between developing workforce adaptability and having a resilient culture. Deloitte asked CXOs whether they had already implemented processes to easily redeploy workers to other roles or projects, enable re-skilling and provide flexible work options. Nearly three out of four respondents from organizations that had already implemented these actions said their companies were excelling at cultivating resilient cultures. Conversely, among CXOs at organizations that didn’t have such programs in place, only about half claimed they had resilient cultures.

 

Lessons Learned

While the organizations that took the steps to prepare for future disasters before 2020 are in the minority, these firms offer proven lessons to help increase companies’ viability and health during times of adversity. “Across the board, organizations that had implemented key actions prior to 2020 fared better in the past year than those that simply reacted or, worse yet, did little to respond,” Renjen says. 

These resilient actions included investing in workforce initiatives such as reskilling or redesigning work, diversifying operations and developing technological capabilities needed to drive new business models. Successful organizations adapted to remote working, kept employees safe and took actions to maintain trust between leaders and employees. They also valued diversity, equity and inclusion and made commitments to improve the environment and strengthen their communities. “These values may not necessarily be reasons for their success,” Renjen says, “but they certainly were common among organizations that fared best.”

As challenging as the past year has been, it may not be an outlier, Renjen adds. More than six in 10 CXOs surveyed by Deloitte believe that occasional or regular large-scale disruptions are likely to continue going forward. Renjen says, “Businesses need to equip themselves to compete in this new normal because if they don’t, they could face the same fate as those organizations that have struggled and failed.”





Source: Forbes