Organisational resilience: how to build tenacity and innovation for the long run

Lessons from the UAE in how to build resilience during a pandemic

A number of measures have appeared in recent months seeking to define good leadership in the era of Covid-19. The Global Response to Infectious Diseases (GRID) index is perhaps the best known of these. Built on the latest epidemiological findings, this ranking is almost by definition as incomplete as our understanding of the Covid-19 virus itself.

Some have suggested that leaders in times of pandemics are those who display ‘non-traditional’ and adaptive qualities like emotional intelligence, empathy, and inclusivity – over characteristics more traditionally labelled “leadership” material. But it may be a mistake to focus too much on individual characteristics outside the social, environmental and economic context in which leaders are called upon to act…


Organisational resilience: how to build tenacity and innovation for the long run

Frameworks for business longevity are explained in the insightful book by Liisa Välikangas, The Resilient Organisation: How Adaptive Cultures Thrive Even When Strategy Fails.

Innovation and resilience are opposite sides of the coin of business longevity. Resilience has become the operative word for businesses in the aftermath of the dotcom bust and financial crises of the past few decades, and preparation for climate change. The book was written before the coronavirus crisis, but its lessons hold true today as well. Resilience organisations are not prisoners of past success or failures. They have resilience baked into the genes of the organisation, and are not dependent only on leadership or strategy. They innovate even when they don’t yet need to. They don’t just survive, they actually thrive in the face of challenges and unpredictable events. “The imperative of strategic resilience is to be right before it is too late,” Liisa begins. Resilient firms are able to harness change even before it becomes an opportunity or threat…



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