The successful and resilient organisation displays a number of key characteristics in the way it conducts its business; not least of which is that within these organisations HR professionals work as business partners and not as internal vendors. It is never too soon or too late to invest in your organisationís resilience. And the HR profession is ideally positioned to lead the way.
by Dr Norman Chorn
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Dr Norman Chorn is a strategy and organisation development practitioner with some 20 years experience in both the private and public sectors and is the author of several books and publications on the subject. His work has three primary areas of focus: creating strategy for competitive advantage; developing effective organisations and structures (organisational change); and developing leadership skills, with particular reference to strategic leadership. He is based in Sydney, Australia and consults throughout Australia, NZ, UK and South Africa. He can be contacted at the Centre for Strategy Development, at Norman.Chorn@centstrat.com, or visit http://www.centstrat.com/ .
Building resilience in organisations
Our research into the features of resilient organisations shows that these organisations have a number of specific capabilities that promote their ability to anticipate and respond to deep strategic change. Furthermore, our work has also identified that there are specific organisation development (OD) pathways along which these capabilities can be built and strengthened. HR is the natural owner of the OD space and is, therefore, ideally placed to lead the initiative for building greater resilience in our organisations. However, this is not occurring as frequently as it should. Our findings suggest two key requirements that could enhance the effectiveness of HR professionals in these endeavours:
An understanding of the OD pathways that lead to organisation resilience; and
A shift from the vendor position in the internal customer paradigm towards a position of business partner.
These requirements are outlined in the paper below. We also suggest some practical initiatives that HR professionals can implement as they seek to play a meaningful role in building organisational resilience.
What do we know about resilient organisations?
Our research suggests that resilient organisations display a number of key characteristics in the way they conduct their business. These are discussed in greater detail in our earlier publications, but may be summarised as follows. Resilient organisations:
Use a wide array of information and information sources to make decisions: Traditional information sources are supplemented by many ad-hoc processes. Executives are encouraged to seek out customer and internal information first hand – i.e. go to where the information is generated.
Generate a broad portfolio of strategic options: A good number of manageable experiments are underway at any point in time. The range of experiments is diverse and management accept that failure is inevitable – indeed, it is seen as a sign of innovation.
Remain aware of industry breakpoints:Management recognises that the base business cannot last forever and are vigilant for any signs of change in industry conditions and customer preferences.