How to Build a Resilient Organization

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As we’ve seen over the past few years with the decline of brick and mortar stores and the increase in innovative technologies, in order for organizations to remain competitive and grow market share they must be resilient to both internal and external factors.

But, how do organizations build resilience?

I recently attended a meeting with Sheryl Sandberg where she talked about her new book Option B, which she wrote with psychologist Adam Grant. The book focuses on how people can find strength and build resilience when Option A is not possible.

During her talk, Sandberg mentioned how organizations can develop resilience as well.

First, organizations must learn from failures.

Often times organizations (or teams within organizations) like to sweep problems under the rug in order to save face; however, this will create problems down the road.

Sandberg observed the importance of discussing failures when she took leaders from Facebook to observe the marines train at Quantico a few years ago. During the training, the marines completed tasks that seemed simple in theory like lifting heavy objects. After every training exercise, though, the marines did a full step-by-step debrief of what went wrong and right even if they thought they knew the problem. When Facebook implemented this strategy into their own culture, Sandberg said they became much more of a learning organization and were able to solve the problems from occurring again and improve strategies going forward.

Second, know areas where you can “move fast and break things” and know areas where you can’t make a mistake.

One of Facebook’s famous mottos in the past was “move fast and break things,” suggesting that in order to create and innovate one might have to make mistakes along the way. Sandberg clarified that statement saying there are areas of Facebook where they like to innovate rapidly and try different ideas such as product development, but there are areas where they are extremely careful not to make a mistake or break anything such as infrastructure and user security. And, it’s extremely important for organizations to be able to distinguish between the two areas otherwise severe issues might arise.

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What are some of your tips to build a resilient organization? Let me know in the comments!

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