flip side


Resilient leadership

Stories on leading through risk, crisis, and disruption

Since the Resilient podcast series launched in early 2016, we've interviewed more than 20 CEOs, senior business executives, and other top leaders on how they effectively navigated risk, crisis, and disruption. We’ve also asked: What does it mean to be a resilient leader?

How can you build resilient muscle?

Smart leaders know they may not have all the answers. In an increasingly volatile marketplace—where industries are constantly changing, risks both known and unknown abound, and crises seem to lurk around every corner—this can be an overwhelming realization.

How can executives build resilient muscle to tackle the challenges of our ever-evolving world? That's precisely what we asked real leaders who have both survived and thrived in the face of risk, crisis, and disruption.

By diving into the backstory of critical events, we've discovered real leaders' thinking and decision making. We've explored their steps (and missteps). And we've highlighted the issues and threats that other executives and board members have a vested interest in learning more about.

We've also mined our favorite insights from more than 20 conversations to create The Next Wave article series. Take a look at some of the most impactful lessons learned and how real leaders have seen the value-creating opportunities of risk, crisis, and disruption.


How can you double down on disruption?

Disruption isn't going anywhere. That's why leading organizations need to develop a systematic approach for accelerating discovery, scanning ruthlessly, confronting biases, and preparing for unexpected change. Executives need to evaluate strategic decisions and risks—in terms of doing something, but also in terms of doing nothing. That is, what's the impact on revenue, market positioning, and competitive advantage if the organization doesn't change?

The key takeaways
Be brutally honest
Be bold
Turn risk into opportunity

What does it mean to successfully paint outside the lines?

What's one of the classic first lessons we're all taught as kids? How about, "Don't paint outside the lines"? Whether this is good advice for children is debatable. But for business leaders, there are times when painting outside the lines is exactly what's needed.

Making big bet decisions in an uncertain business environment with many variables isn't for the faint of heart. The challenge is to take smart risks. Those who serve in the risk function must learn to walk in the shoes of the business, providing expertise and consultation to key stakeholders. This helps executives be more objective in decision making, so they can focus on the value added—not just the value preserved.

As tempting as it may be to simply look away, successful leaders also need to put mechanisms in place that analyze data and connect the dots between risks and opportunities. Smart executives know that playing it safe with a paint-by-number formula doesn't cut it in today's competitive landscape. The truth is, no company can survive market disruption without taking some risks. That's how you move beyond painting by numbers to create a masterpiece.

The key takeaways
Stop running from risk
Fail fast and learn from it
Seize data as a tool

Water splash

Who owns the role of protecting and growing your organization’s brand value?

A company's brand and reputation program start with its chief strategy officer, chief risk officer, and chief marketing officer. These senior leaders work together to enhance, protect, and preserve the reputation of a company. From there, the brand and reputation program should engage employees as corporate ambassadors, constantly looking for gaps in what's promised versus what's delivered and investing in systems to monitor and track external feedback across stakeholders.

Don't simply wait for a crisis to test your brand and reputation's resilience. Proactively prepare for the worst while also laying the groundwork for the best. Using this approach, executives can enhance long-term value in brand equity, market differentiation, customer loyalty, and strategic positioning.

The key takeaways
Own your reputation
Build your customer base
Stay authentic


How can you emerge stronger from a crisis?

No organization can avoid an unexpected crisis that may potentially cause major disruption or damage. But you can prepare yourself to survive a crisis and recover more quickly by making your crisis protocols second nature, establishing strong communication and collaboration among teams, and capturing lessons learned when a crisis hits. And when a crisis does occur, resilient leaders use it as an opportunity to fix things that aren't working, go from defense to offense, and emerge in a way that ultimately makes the organization stronger.

The key takeaways
Don't wait to prepare
Communicate and collaborate
Capture lessons learned


What's a resilient leader?

Whether it's a value-destroying crisis, a shift in industry dynamics, or a high-stakes investment in the future, uncertainty comes in many shapes, sizes, and impacts. Smart leaders know that their ability to effectively navigate risk, crisis, and disruption will likely determine their business's ability to evolve and be successful over time. Resilient leaders take risk management a step further and ask themselves, "What am I doing today to prepare for tomorrow's threats? And tomorrow's opportunities?"


More from 'The flip side' series

Let's talk

If you’re interested in learning more, please contact us. We’d be happy to schedule a meeting with you and your team.

Chris Ruggeri
Strategic and Reputation Risk Leader
Principal | Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory
Deloitte Transactions and Business Analytics LLP
+1 212 436 4626

Mike Kearney
Partner | Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory
Deloitte & Touche LLP
+1 415 783 4461

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