Resilience Thinking – It’s when not if.

 The shape of change The recent and rapid evolution of our high streets in the UK and main street USA have been a very visible sign of change which few will have missed. Resilience thinking helps business leaders understand what that change will look like for their...

Decision making on the shifting sands of the facts.

Facts can change. The foundation of any good decision should be the facts, so how should we build a fact based culture in a business?

Is our personal resilience at risk from hyper-connectivity ?

Personal resilience is more important today than it ever was. Providing inner strength, it helps us to go with the flow and bounce back from adversity. More than a buzzword, personal resilience can be learned and contribute real advantages in situations which disrupt...

Demographic change, a slo-mo disruption?

Staff are the core of any business, without them we all might as well shut up shop and go home. However across many economies, organisations are struggling to recruit and retain staff against multiple headwinds of demographic change which are global in nature but local in impact.

Risk forecasting, mirage or science?

How to move from Risk Forecasting to Resilience Thinking. There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.

Adaptive capability and making a drama out of a crisis.

How can an organisation build adaptive capability to improve it’s resilience. Strategies including product-as-a-service, agile manufacturing, mutual support, and Auftragstaktik can contribute to preparations for disruption to give an organisation the ability to survive and create new opportunity.

How community resilience can build resilient organisations

Building community resilience is one concrete way we can create a more resilient organisation. By preparing ahead of disruption, communities and the organisations they contain can resist disruption, respond effectively and make positive changes as a result.

Disruptions usually start small and look insignificant.

A 20-20 rear view of disruption and electric vehicle charging. Disruptions are often seen as bad, to be avoided and minimised, resilience is about more than just weathering disruption but seeing it as an opportunity

3 Lessons in Business Resilience from Easter Island

3 Lessons for business resilience from Easter Island. Will we continue to optimise today without considering the future and continue blindly with business as usual? Or will we learn the lessons of maintaining outward views, incentivising the correct decisions and creating sustainable innovation strategies to build resilience into our organisations?

Resilience 101. Sustain, thrive and grow your organisation.

We believe organisation’s must be resilient to survive and be sucessful. How? By building strength, resilience capability and taking advantage from disruption.  In today’s world it’s a strategic imperative.

How community resilience can build resilient organisations

Organisations don’t exist in a vacuum

The neighbourhood in which I live and work has recently been undergoing some major infrastructure work which has tested our community resilience. Our Victorian sewage system is being replaced and along with it many of the buried services along the same major transport route leading from the city centre. Never pleasant, on top of developments in the recent past including a new transport interchange and a city wide tram system, the feelings of the locals are understandably running high. The neighbourhood is a real mix with residential, small and large businesses and not-for-profit organisations creating a great place to live and work, being voted one of the best places to live in the UK on a regular basis.

But city centre living has it’s challenges and our neighbourhood is no exception. Pressures created by diverted traffic, visitors during the world famous festival, and changes in the status quo of the neighbourhood such as Airbnb have led to making this a less great place. So why is this important to organisations? It seems a statement of the obvious, but our communities are the ecosystem in which our organisation is an integral part. Without it our organisation probably won’t function well, if at all. Organisation’s staff provide the local sandwich bars custom allowing them to focus on their core raison d’etre by not providing duplicate canteen facilities. Residential areas provide local places to live which need retail and leisure facilities for residents providing employment. It’s a virtuous circle.

This virtuous circle is under a little stress at the moment with all of the disruptions which led me to think about how important community resilience is to organisations and how it can be strengthened.

A Win-Win.

The local MP Christine Jardine called a community meeting to discuss the ongoing disruption, with local businesses, residents, businesses and City council officials all invited. Understanding each other’s perspectives, why certain approaches had been taken and its impact was a cathartic experience for the 30 plus attendees. A local café Cuchina LC opened especially for the meeting, like other small businesses it was directly impacted by the disruption with a loss of footfall by some 30% in the area. Being a good local citizen is however a win-win for any organisation according to Ready Scotland.

  • build a loyal customer base, who know they can rely on you in times of need;
  • strengthen your relationship with staff who live locally;
  • generate positive word of mouth for your business, through providing services during difficult times or helping get things back to normal; and
  • develop partnerships with other forward-thinking organisations, who may be future customers or partners.

Another recent example of this was a business MA Ventures in the Scottish Highlands using surplus tarmac to repair potholes in roads around his community that the local council did not have the budget to repair. The business had previously had a couple of incidents with potholes which had caused costly damage and also had to pay to dispose of the surplus material left over at the end of contracts. It might not be cost neutral, but with just a small extra labour cost, it is a real bonus to the community where they operate.

Potholed roads – a cost or opportunity?

Creating a tipping point.

Getting involved doesn’t always need facilities or resources, simple things can make a real difference creating the tipping point described by the author Malcolm Gladwell in his book. By taking an interest in the local area such as reporting a broken light to the council who are unlikely to spot it for some time prevents permission being granted to drop litter, graffiti, or even commit more serious crime. This downward spiral in a neighbourhood called the ‘Broken Windows Theory’ can be reversed by taking often simple measures, in New York, metro crime dropped by 75% by focusing on things like removing graffiti. Crime in a neighbourhood affects organisations in 3 ways directly i.e. theft, indirectly via local taxes, and simply through fear such as reducing footfall custom or getting good staff.

Probably the most positive effect of engaging with the local community was creating a shared spirit by getting to know each other better. If there is a problem it’s a lot easier to approach someone you know, only yesterday one of the local shops asked me for a recommendation for a tradesman as they knew we had recently had some work done. Many towns and cities in the UK now have business improvement districts (BID’s) where local organisations have voted for an additional levy and get access to more central funding to improve the local district and also act as a sign post to shared resources.

Building community resilience.

The recent poor weather in the UK exposed many weaknesses in our response to disruption, building community resilience is one concrete way we can create a more resilient organisation. By preparing ahead of disruption, communities and the organisations they contain can resist disruption, respond effectively and make positive changes as a result. How are you working to build your community resilience?

Further Reading

Gladwell, M., 2000. The Tipping Point. Little, Brown.

Civil engineering boss offers free pothole filling service

BIDS Scotland


The author, Paul Hancock is a Resilience Consultant at 360 Resilience Ltd.



Public Sector Resilience

Customised Programs

For government, professional associations, not-for-profit and public service organisations

Contact us to discuss your needs

Strategic Resilience

Team Resilience

Bespoke programmes

Share This