Building Resilience in a Black Swan World
The aftershocks of the pandemic have spurred the need for businesses to turn resilience into a source of competitive advantage. By taking cues from nature and optimizing the technology foundation, automating business processes and adopting an agile operating model, businesses can go beyond business continuity to excel in an ever-changing world.
By Brian Humphries, CEO, Cognizant
The public health, economic and societal damage wrought by COVID has elevated resilience to a governance issue.
Uncertainty, variability, the unknown — these are defining qualities of our interconnected world, which is prone to contagions of all kinds, not only pandemics. Even well-established enterprises are fragile, as evidenced by the regularly shrinking tenures of companies on the S&P 500 and Fortune 500 in recent decades. Resilience, the ability to rebound from shocks, has risen to a must-have capability for every organization that expects to thrive in the age of COVID-19 and whatever lies beyond.
Of course, businesses have long known of the need to be adaptive, flexible and resilient. But their experience with COVID-19 has turned a need into an imperative. Given how long the pandemic aftershocks could last and how much faster a competitor might regroup, it’s less an issue of returning to a former steady state than becoming continuously adaptable, agile and nimble. Doing so is really the best way to sustain growth amid uncertainty and turbulence.
For many corporations, the public health, economic and societal damage wrought by COVID has elevated resilience to a governance issue. CEOs and boards are reexamining their models of corporate governance, strategic planning, resource allocation and risk management. Future-fit organizations recognize the interdependence of businesses and the world’s social and environmental systems. In addition to their own resilience, for example, businesses need to contribute to the ongoing health of the communities in which they operate, understand how the nature of work is changing, and invest today in the talent pools they expect to draw from tomorrow.