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Volume 2, Issue 35


Building a Resilient Organization

Leaders must prepare their organizations to face disasters and other unplanned disruptions, says one business executive.

Andrew Zolli, co-author of Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back, recently shared with Forbes ways in which leaders can improve their organization's ability to face risk—both known and unknown. They include:

  • Work on short- and long-term projects. Organizations that put all of their resources and energy into one project over another put themselves at a greater risk of failure. Instead, Zolli says organizations should spend their time "creating value for both the very short-term and long-term."
  • Embrace cognitive diversity among staff. Zolli says that the best organizations have lots of "people with the same values but with different thinking styles" to help them achieve their collective goals.
  • Recognize the importance of middle management. Zolli says that organizations with a middle management structure are often more resilient to problems than those without one. Middle managers are often on the frontline of institutional problem-solving. 
  • Don't maximize efficiency in all operations. "We love efficient systems, but for many systems, peak efficiency brings with it peak fragility, Zolli says. He adds that, although it can sometimes be more expensive or counterintuitive to build redundancy into an organization, it can make all the difference in the event of a disaster.


This article is from the March 11, 2013 issue of Advancement Weekly.

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