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  • Organizational resilience is vital to safeguard businesses everywhere

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    Ben Hedley

    Organizational resilience is vital to safeguard businesses everywhere

    The only certainty in life is change. Businesses that fail to adapt to circumstances quickly find themselves in trouble, while those that invest in resilience find new opportunities in times of change.

    The forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will be held in Samoa on 21 October 2024. This year’s theme will be resilience. How can organizations develop resilience, and how can standards help?


    What is resilience?

    Organizational resilience is defined by ISO 22316 as the ‘ability of an organization to absorb and adapt in a changing environment.’ This encompasses anticipation of change, preparation and response and it applies equally to incremental and sudden changes.

    Resilience is determined by four key factors:

    1. Governance - is there a strong system of senior management and stakeholders, that enables clear decision making, accountability and ease of implementation?
    2. Resilience - is the business as robust as it can be in the present moment, before any additional challenges come along? Are problems addressed, or left to linger?
    3. Business continuity - is the organization vulnerable to disruption, for example would operations cease if a key staff member fell ill or a piece of equipment malfunctioned?
    4. Crisis management - are there workable plans in place to deal with a crisis, which are well understood by employees, actionable and practical?

    To deliver these factors, an organization needs strong leadership, good risk management, a sense of its values and awareness of how the environment is changing.


    How does increased resilience benefit an organization?

    Clearly, resilience can help an organization when disaster strikes. For example, if part of a supply chain suddenly fails, a resilient organization might have already scoped out alternative suppliers, have a communications plan to manage any reputational impact, and a system in place to make sure that the transition to a new supplier is a smooth one.

    In addition, the process of developing resilience can be beneficial in itself. It might be that an organization looking at alternative suppliers discovers that those alternatives are preferable in some way to the current supplier. Or it might be that the communications plan flags up issues with the organization’s ability to identify and contact key audiences.


    CSN and resilience

     Since its inception in 2018, CSN has made resilience an important focus of its work. The principles and frameworks involved in developing resilience can be used by organizations of any size or sector. CSN will be working to ensure standards and quality infrastructure are on the agenda at CHOGM, helping to support organizations develop resilience.

    This year’s CHOGM promises to be an interesting event. Look out for updates on the discussion and any outcomes or resolutions.




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