Building the resilient organization

Deloitte Insights

Building the resilient organization

2021 Deloitte Global resilience report

Author: Punit Renjen (US)

What five traits of resilience can help organizations thrive under extreme conditions? Deliberately cultivating these attributes can better position your organization to overcome disruptions and usher in a better normal.

In the wake of a tumultuous 2020, Deloitte Global’s fourth annual readiness report explores the concept of organizational resilience. We wanted to know how organizations were coping with the unexpected challenges they faced in the past year and get their opinions about what made their organizations more or less able to withstand chaos. From that analysis, we sought to identify what traits define resilient organizations—traits business leaders can emulate to build greater resilience into their own organization.

We identified five characteristics of resilient organizations that enable and promote nimble strategies, adaptive cultures, and the implementation and effective use of advanced technology. Businesses that can bounce back from unexpected challenges typically are:

  • Prepared. Most successful CXOs plan for eventualities, both short- and long-term. More than 85% of CXOs whose organizations successfully balance addressing short- and long-term priorities felt they had pivoted very effectively to adapt to the events of 2020, whereas fewer than half of organizations without that balance felt the same.
  • Adaptable. Leaders recognize the importance of having versatile employees, especially after a year like 2020. To that end, flexibility/adaptability was, by far, the workforce trait CXOs said was most critical to their organizations’ futures.
  • Collaborative. CXOs indicated the importance of collaboration within their organizations, noting that it sped decision-making, mitigated risk, and led to increased innovation. In fact, removing silos and increasing collaboration was one of the top strategic actions CXOs took before and during 2020.
  • Trustworthy. CXOs understand the challenge of building trust. More than a third of responding CXOs were not confident their organizations had succeeded in developing trust between leaders and employees. Those who are succeeding are focusing on improving communication and transparency with key stakeholders, as well as leading with empathy.
  • Responsible. Most CXOs acknowledge that the business world has a responsibility beyond the bottom line. Eighty-seven percent of surveyed CXOs who said they have done very well at balancing all of their stakeholders’ needs also felt that their organizations could quickly adapt and pivot in response to disruptive events. That’s nearly 50 percentage points more than the proportion of CXOs who said the same at organizations that haven’t done well at balancing their stakeholders’ needs.

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