While individual resilience is important, especially in turbulent times, organizational resilience is also crucial. According to BSI, organizational resilience is “the ability of an organization to anticipate, prepare for, respond and adapt to incremental change and sudden disruptions in order to survive and prosper.” This goes far beyond risk management and is in fact a key trait in an organization that not only survives but thrives in times of crisis.

Given that we seldom work alone, it matters how our team collectively handles stressors, difficulties or disruptive events. A resilient organization can identify emerging threats, meet organizational objectives, and adapt operations as needed. While individual resilience is built independently, organizational resilience is something that is carefully constructed and cultivated by leadership. While that work isn’t always easy, it is worth it to build an organization that will stand the test of time.

In 2019, Bradley Kirkman, Adam C. Stoverink, Sal Mistry and Benson Rosen wrote in Harvard Business Review that resilient teams have four things in common. They believe they can effectively complete tasks together, they share a common mental model of teamwork, they are able to improvise, and they trust one another. Their trust finding really hits home because building a culture of trust is essential – in good times and in bad. I have found that when you have trust, things move much more efficiently. You have the ability to take the risk because your team feels comfortable and supported. Trust is key, and risk, innovation, growth, and expansion can only happen when you have a solid foundation to build upon.

In order to build trust at every level, especially during tumultuous times, I’ve realized that ongoing communication is paramount. Team members need to be kept apprised of what’s happening, what changes are being made, and why those changes matter. It’s important to explain context and rationale and make sure that you take time to listen. After all, communication is a two-way street. 

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Author: Rand O'Leary

Rand O’Leary, FACHE most recently served as the PeaceHealth Chief Executive for the Oregon Network. Rand joined PeaceHealth in 2014 and had oversight for operations in Oregon at Sacred Heart Medical Center, RiverBend in Springfield, University District Medical Center in Eugene, Cottage Grove Community Medical Center in Cottage Grove and Peace Harbor Medical Center in Florence. Rand is an experienced healthcare executive and leader, seasoned by over 20 years of leadership in Surgical Services, Neurosciences, Cardiovascular, Ambulatory and Physician Practice Operations during tenures at Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan, a 425-bed tertiary referral and teaching hospital and member of Ascension Health and the 537-bed St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor Michigan, the flagship hospital of the St. Joseph Mercy Health System and a member of Trinity Health.