Four Key Characteristics Of Resilient Businesses

“Resilience is the strength and speed of our response to adversity — and we can build it. It isn’t about having a backbone. It’s about strengthening the muscles around our backbone.”
 — Sheryl Sandberg

Resilient businesses don’t box themselves in. They have no fixed parameters. They understand that micro shifts add up and that seismic shifts can happen overnight, so the only way to survive and thrive is to constantly work on being pliable and versatile.

To illustrate the importance of resilience, a staggering 52% of the Fortune 500 companies from the year 2000 are now extinct. These were once-successful corporations that either gradually faded away or suddenly failed - and this can all be attributed directly to an inability to adapt to the volatile business environments of the last two decades.

So how can you protect your brand and your people from the vagaries of rapidly evolving market landscapes? Here are a few useful pointers:

Get feedback
Start with your existing customers. It’s vital to maintain open lines of communication and to actively seek out constructive criticism. Don’t just ask your customers to tell you what a great job you’re doing or how wonderful your product is - ask them how you could be doing better. This will not only demonstrate to them that you are not so arrogant as to think your offerings are perfect, but it will also provide you with valuable insights that you must then swiftly act upon.   

Be courageous
Bold leadership is a key tenet of resilience. Show genuine conviction about your product or service but always be open to new ideas. Courageous leaders are able to be equally single-minded and collaborative - prepared to make hard decisions without prevarication but also prudent enough to take on board the opinions of everyone on their teams.     

Focus on change
Be acutely aware that how things are done today will not be how they are done tomorrow. With the reality of mercurial markets, fierce competition, and unexpected outside influences (think ‘pandemic’, just for example), no business can expect to stay in the same lane and gear for any length of time. Don’t fall asleep at the wheel if you don’t want to take the bus and all your people off the edge of a cliff with you.

Never fear failure
New ideas always carry a risk - but that’s no reason to turn your back on them. Be prepared to experiment, not just with your product or service but also with business models, processes, and strategies. Resilient businesses are built to absorb the shock of failures, learn from them and forge on, ultimately scoring more wins than losses. As Thomas Edison famously said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

“It’s your reaction to adversity, not adversity itself that determines how your life’s story will develop.” ― Dieter F. Uchtdorf