After being pushed into uncharted territories in the current situation, businesses facing unprecedented challenges are, more often than not, pushed to make difficult choices: adapt and evolve or break away under stress. However, I believe it is time to stop looking at things in ‘black and white’. I, instead, encourage organizations to look at the future and embrace emerging opportunities to thrive. Read on to learn about my take on resilient behavior patterns that can help organizations stay afloat – and thrive – in these times of disruption.
As the world continues adjusting to the new normal in 2020, organizations across sectors are struggling to navigate operational and financial challenges. News reports are increasingly pointing toward a future of financial uncertainty, and several businesses are intensifying focus on their core offerings and reducing non-essential investments as short-term measures.
However, for the long term, they need to design a resilient strategy to stay relevant. My recently published master thesis, Defining Antifragility and the Application on Organisation Design, which delves deep into behavior patterns based on Professor Nassim Taleb’s concept of antifragility and Patrick Martin-Breen’s definition of resilience, can be a starting point to this exercise.
Decoding resilience and antifragility
Resilience involves a critical shift of organizational mindset and a strong recovery foundation that can ease the business into the post-COVID future. Organizations can be categorized into fragile (breaks under stress), robust (impertinent to stress), and antifragile (stronger as a result of stress), according to the triad defined by Taleb (as depicted in the first row of Figure 1).
Robust and antifragile organizations can be recognized by their ability to constantly evolve and visualize a roadmap that ensures relevancy in times of disruption.
Take artificial intelligence – the hottest buzzword in the tech industry – as an example. ‘The AI-powered enterprise: Unlocking the potential of AI at scale’, Capgemini Research Institute’s study based on 950 interviews with AI leaders across 11 nations, discusses how AI-at-scale leaders have developed and launched apps despite the pandemic and economic downturn, showcasing true resilience. When compared with peers, these leaders are adept at moving multiple AI pilots into production instead of struggling with them.
That is exactly what resilience and antifragile organizations do.
While applying the Resilience and Antifragility model and its types in the current scenario, the spotlight rests firmly on the efforts companies take to either absorb and get back to normal or adapt and improve.
Consider this: Major disruptions are big opportunities for cybersecurity attacks. An attack can have a significant impact on operations, so companies need to be vigilant. Simultaneously, it is vital to have an action plan in place to minimize damage and recover faster, with insights into how to prevent future attacks. Organizations optimized for complex adaptive system resilience follow this approach or choose a partner to help them do so, making an ideal case for innovation and entrepreneurship. This helps them sail through the uncertain times and emerge stronger.
The way forward
A crisis is a great motivation for a change in behavior patterns, laying the foundation for new operating models and opportunities. It is, perhaps, the best time to leverage your organization’s growth strategy and seek the right innovation partner to exploit emerging opportunities and ensure alignment.
I’ll leave you with lessons I learned from my experience with American football, which I believe can be applied to businesses too:
Learn your playbook.
Study the game.
Ensure your practice exceeds your games.
For more, feel free to read my research thesis on “Defining Antifragility and the Application on Organization Design” (available as open access).
If you wish to know more or discuss this topic in detail, I will be happy to connect with you over a call or email.
About Edzo Botjes
Edzo Botjes is an Enterprise Engineer with more than 15+ years experience. His believe is that Enterprise Engineering covers not only Enterprise Architecture but also the skills needed to realistically implement innovation, governance and architecture. This implies that Group Psychology, IT Security Architecture, Technology Innovation and Ethics are a few topics that should be included into the developing strategy and architecture. Edzo is currently working on the new version of DYA, the Enterprise Architecture vision of Sogeti and adding value for clients as an Enterprise Architect.
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