How to ensure your organisation flourishes in uncertain times

| November 19, 2021

We live in unprecedented times, and the business environment is more volatile and uncertain than ever before.

When COVID hit in 2020, people finally accepted that our world was uncertain and volatile, and organisations began to respond to this environment. To survive it is imperative that businesses shift, do things differently, and don’t go back to doing what they have always done.

If organisations are going to flourish in this new and uncertain world, leaders, teams and the whole organisation must develop the capacity to evolve and bounce back to stay ahead of the change curve. To achieve this, the focus needs to be on building resilient organisational cultures. A genuinely resilient organisation enables agility and builds flexibility to respond to the VUCA environment.

In 2022 and beyond, leaders must take responsibility for developing resilient individuals and teams and building a resilient organisational culture. In simple terms, organisations need to stop managing change and put their efforts into building truly resilient organisations. Let’s look at three essential habits as we move into 2022:

1.    Environmental Responsiveness

Organisations must keep a watchful eye on the external and internal environments to realign their strategy and maintain responsiveness. It is no longer acceptable to wait till strategic planning sessions or to be pushed by external factors. Organisations must be attuned to the external environment and respond to the requirements for evolution. Charles Handy (1995)suggests that the best time to make changes is not after you have reached the peak of success but beforeyou reach it. If organisations do not continuously assess their environment and align with these changing dynamics, they will eventually decline or become irrelevant to their clients, customers, or community. Now, more than ever, organisations must stay attuned to the external environment and have the agility to meet the demands they are facing.

2.   Boundary Management

Over years of working with organisations across the globe, I found that the single most neglected aspect of organisational resilience is effective boundary management. This is the systemic and disciplined management of acceptable and unacceptable attitudes, behaviours and actions. To achieve this requires:

  • Regular and consistent celebration of attitudes and behaviours that align with the values and culture of the organisation.
  • Regular and consistent management of unacceptable attitudes and behaviours that don’t align.
  • Accountability for the delivery of business outcomes and a commitment to adjust proprieties as the business requires.

For organisations to remain agile and adaptable to the requirements of the VUCA world, these have to be a daily focus for leaders and their teams.

Developing resilience

Well-designed development strategies are crucial to unlocking potential. Strategies designed to enhance personal resilience levels are essential for building resilient organisations. It is even more critical that the leadership are developing their resilience, as, without resilience, they will not be able to deliver a transformational leadership style.

Show me a resilient organisation that responds well to the VUCA world, and I can guarantee that the leadership team is resilient and thriving. The this uncertain world requires that organisations build resilience on an ongoing basis to enable them to flourish.

What does the ‘new normal’ look like for your business?

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