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019 - Corporate Resilience: Hype or Asset?
13th July 2021 • The Human Factor • Sonja Stirnimann
00:00:00 00:15:28

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Resilience is one of the terms we read and hear more often than ever before. If you would like to have a look behind the scenes of what it means for Corporate leaders and how you could make resilience work for you

This episode will give you food for thoughts.

And of course the possibility to start right afterwards. At the end it is all about implementing what makes you successful.


First, why should we as Board members and business leaders think about resilience when it comes to business? Individually and in our personal environment – the term is more common than in the Corporate World.

No matter what kind of system or organism the resilience – together with resistance – is crucial. An organisation – no matter what size – is a system.

What we see in my daily work with Non-Executive Board members, management teams or individuals outlines the importance.

Especially when it comes to incidents

• Incidents like

• Fraud cases

• Cyber attacks

• Blackmail

• Extortion

• Non-Compliance

...leading to forensic investigations

Lacking resilience will harm our organisms and systems

I would like to work with two different definitions to make the term more tangible and to prepare it for the implementation on different levels.


The first – which is more specific for corporates than the one I introduce later - is

Resilience is the ability to

  • adapt,
  • recover,
  • and thrive

in the face of shocks that are internal and external, as well as known and unanticipated. Taking a closer look to that definition we see that the key components lead us to further questions.

The ability to ADAPT in a manner that protects the assets and allows successful business in the future

Which immediately leads us to THRIVE. In parallel and after the ADAPTION it is important that an organism or organisation can RECOVER. The mistake of leaving out recovery will be paid with a very high price tag! Every shock impacts the actionability of individuals, teams and at the end also the organisation.

The drivers of the incidents can be

- internal or external

Internal could be:

- white-collar crime pattern which is recognized internally

- External investigation based on a whistle-blower

External incidents are

- Cyber attack with extortion

- CEO-fraud

And these shocks can either affect our organisations

- known or unanticipated

Depending on the maturity level of the risk identification process you will have more or less surprises. More about that can be found also in Episode 4

Of course there are always unforeseen and unanticipated shocks which need to be managed.

Why not spending a session in the board discussing the implemented processes regarding these unanticipated shocks?

Let us switch now

The second definition is much broader and will also put ourselves on spot when we reflect on it:

Resilience = digested experience

What does that mean? Why does experience influence resilience? And what is the part of digestion? That theory says that experience without digestion does not lead to resilience. Experience needs to be internalised to increase resilience.

That aspect can be analysed either from an individual or organisational standpoint and leads to the next question: How can I internalise a shock in the corporate environment?

What I see when such shock or incidents affect an organisation is, that at the beginning the necessary attention is given due to the fact.

When we take the example of an incident in the environment of white-collar crime. As we know, more than 90% of these cases are done by insiders.

After such an internal investigation we have a lot of insights what went wrong, and these loopholes must be corrected to protect the business.

That is the digestion part of an experience.

Following up on the incident, accepting what happened and strategically decide AND IMPLEMENT the measurements for the future.


Coming back to the initial question whether we talk about a hype or asset when it comes to corporate resilience.

Corporate resilience is an asset or can be an asset.

Using the term as buzzword is a hype I do not support at all.

Organisations which already have a high level of resilience do not talk about it at all. They just learn from and digest the daily experiences, incidents, and shocks.

Nevertheless, it is topic which belongs to the strategic and operational level of an organisation.

We as board members or managers have the duty to protect our organisations. In the long run. Resilience will support the vision.

And having said that: also our individual resilience is an asset we have to take care of.

The more resilient we are the better we can support our organisations.


- what is your organisations digestion strategy and process after a shock?

- How could you improve that digestions process to increase corporate resilience?


Adaption in Episode 14.

Maturity Level in Episode 4.


Thank you for joining me on this episode of THE HUMAN FACTOR – Corporate Integrity Matters.

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