Is your company as resilient as you’d like it to be?
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines “resilience” as “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.” What organization wouldn’t want that kind of ability?
In the real world, resilience is a spectrum. Some individuals and organizations are minimally resilient; others have seemingly unlimited reserves of resilience.
Fortunately, like so many other capabilities, resilience isn’t inherent. It’s more like a muscle, such that virtually any individual or organization can increase their reserves — move down the spectrum — with proper planning and practice.
Let’s see where the rubber meets the road. If you’re able to implement these five resilience-building strategies within your organization, you’ll be well on your way to constructing a leaner, meaner company that’s better equipped than ever to roll with the punches.
Don’t Cede Control to Activist Board Members or Toxic Employees
Contrary to stereotype, not all founders are control freaks. Some are all too willing to give ground to assertive board members and key employees.
Some delegation is inevitable, but be careful not to give too much, too early. Letting a toxic employee or self-interested board member run the show will sap your organization’s resilience and, over time, could lead to disaster.
Implement an Effective, Responsive Communications Strategy
Your company needs a responsive communications strategy, yesterday. While you’ll never be able to exert complete control over the news cycle, you’ll at least want to put your team in a position to control the narrative — whether that means carefully publicizing news of a dismissed lawsuit or getting out in front of news of a cybersecurity breach.
Transparent, responsive organizations are resilient organizations.
Assess Competitive Gaps and Hire Accordingly
As a founder, you’re probably really good at a few things. But the skills that earned you your first $1 million in annual revenue and grew your team to 10 employees won’t be the skills that get you to $100 million and 500 employees.
For the next leg up, you need to dispassionately assess your organization’s gaps and weaknesses, and recruit accordingly.
Focus on Employee Benefits and Perks That Your Team Actually Values (And That Actually Attract Talent)
Forget the free lunches and foosball tables. Focus on employee benefits that talented workers actually value: matching student loan repayments, continuing education grants, housing assistance, and so on.
Don’t think of benefits like these as giveaways; they’re investments in your workforce’s future, and insurance against poaching to boot. Plus, financially secure employees are less likely to bring their worries to work.
Set Expectations From the Get-Go
Lay out expectations in a detailed employee handbook that every team member signs on an annual basis. Think of this as a binding “conduct contract” — a document that ensures everyone knows where they stand.
Are You Resilient Enough?
If you have yet to implement any of these five resilience-building strategies, don’t despair. Instead, get moving. Building resilience is like building muscle: the more often you do it, the easier it gets, and the more empowered you’ll feel to stay the course.
Knock off one of the more straightforward items on this list (“straightforward” being in the eye of the beholder, of course) and gradually increase your difficulty level as the wins pile up.