Ready for the unplanned. Resilience basics

Organisations in most parts of the world are making the start steps back to the new normal and returning to the office. COVID has taught us the value of having a playbook for when the unplanned occurs. The key is creating basic policies, frameworks and systems, which you develop over time, that enable you to pick up and play when things go sideways.

Business Continuity Management

Resilience start steps

1. What is resilience

Business resilience, business continuity management. It’s essentially the same game with a different name. It’s the ability of an organization to adapt to disruptions, while maintaining continuous business operations, safeguarding people and assets. In short, being able to respond to events so you can continue to operate and deliver to your customers. See how Dubai-based Majid Al Futtaim responded to COVID.

2. What should I do

Developing resilience is basically a two step forensic process. There are more components to building resilience within an organisation, but for simplicity sake, they are outside of scope for this article.

One. Identify those key operations you need to keep your organisation moving. Identify, assess the risk landscape and likelihood of occurrence.

Two. Create a ‘workback’ framework that will enable your organisation to support these key operations. This ‘workback’ framework allows you to identify all those feed in processes, stakeholders and assets you need make things happen.

3. Scenario

An example scenario is a fire in a laboratory, at high tech factory, on a weekend. The initial fire has been contained, so we jump to next steps, recalling staff in preparation for the following week.

The process should be easy. Call up key staff, tell them when/where and everything is okay.

Theory is great, but its not real world. Staff contact details may be stale, recall to duty could instigate HR and union issues. This can be avoided by taking basic resilience steps:

– Twice a year, check with staff that their contact details are correct

– Have HR, agreement and legislation materials on readily accessible, so executive staff know the mechanics and costs, around recall to duty call ups.

– Create a holding statement message to staff, telling them what has happened and next steps. It should be easily understood and signpost them to a central communication channel, for on-going updates.

Resilience activities generally fall to the bottom of the pile for many organisations. Make it easier to commence resilience activities, by adopting an agile based approach to tasks. It is a practice used in developing software, and is a great way to break down the task workload and spread it across multiple quarters.


Things never go to plan, but if you take the time to create start step resilience policies, frameworks and systems, your organisation will be well placed to respond. Basic preparation will reduce the financial and operational impacts.

If you can’t afford to plan now, can you afford to plan in a crisis?