The medium-sized companies sector is in permanent crisis mode. That is why the question is more urgent than ever for many medium-sized companies: How can we set up our organisation in such a way that it is immune to external disturbances and emerges from crises unscathed? How can the company grow and develop even in an unstable environment? This requires resilience.

Resilience as an elementary building block of corporate strategy

Resilience in organisations is a complex field and plays a role in all areas of a company. What characterises a resilient company? On the one hand, it is stable and resilient enough to endure and survive crises. On the other hand, it is flexible enough to react quickly to changes and adapt accordingly. If necessary, it carries out the necessary transformation processes to overcome the crisis or shock – without giving up its identity. A resilient company is able to recognise both risks and opportunities in latent and abrupt crises and dangers and, in the best case, emerge strengthened from the crisis. And of course, a company’s resilience also enables it to take advantage of opportunities in a targeted manner in “normal times”.

What does an individual resilience profile look like?

First of all, there is no one-size-fits-all resilience profile for SMEs. There are many different scientific approaches to developing a resilience profile. “Resilience” is also the subject of industry standards, such as ISO 22316.2017, which defines key components for identifying, implementing and monitoring resilience in an organisation and provides guidelines for improving resilience in companies. But everything is also always a question of time, personnel and costs. It depends on many individual factors of the company what it needs to become more resilient. Resilient companies are not only about warding off the crisis and holding their own in dynamic times. It is above all about adaptability and innovative strength. This requires future-proof processes and secure, transparent structures at various levels in the company. Basically, successful resilience management is characterised by a mix of stability and flexibility that is adapted to the company. While stability plays a prominent role in larger companies, smaller companies show their strengths in the crisis primarily through flat hierarchies, a high degree of agility, quick reactions and a high degree of adaptability and changeability.

Ensure stability in the company:

  • A reliable network of partners and suppliers and well-lived relationships make a company more robust.
  • A strong corporate management that acts confidently and effectively has a positive effect on the entire ecosystem and brings the necessary prerequisites to successfully lead the company through crises.
  • Transparency in all areas of the company is a basic prerequisite so that the company can see where it stands at all times and can react in time in the event of discrepancies, deviations or disruptions. Be it in liquidity, in the supply chains or in HR.
  • Focusing on the economic success of the company ensures earnings and liquidity. Both are essential elements of a resilient company, as they enable alternative courses of action.
  • A focused strategic orientation of the organisation and its business models.
  • In order to be able to correctly assess and know where one’s own company stands on the resilience scale, it requires a clear unfiltered reflection of its own strengths and weaknesses. It should be able to reflect on its ecosystem in order to identify potential opportunities and crises.
  • A positive corporate culture that communicates guiding principles and corporate goals in a comprehensible way creates trust, team spirit, commitment and engagement.
  • With sufficient financial and material resources, lean periods can be bridged.
  • Structures and processes should be adapted to bring calm to the organisation.
  • Professional compliance management with internal standards and the establishment of an internal control mechanism prevents unlawful behaviour in the company and ensures compliance with rules and regulations. This protects a company from avoidable risks and damage to its image.

Ensure flexibility in the company:

  • The digital transformation of the working world and the digitalisation of production and supply chains ensure speed, efficiency and transparency – important elements of resilient companies. Digitalisation promotes resilience at various levels, as the Corona crisis has also shown. Automated and future-proof processes, for example in HR or liquidity management, make developments transparent, processes faster, more efficient and more flexible and provide a daily overview. This enables companies to identify negative developments at an early stage and react to them in time.
  • Diversification makes a company more resilient. If it is more broadly positioned, does not only focus on one core business and has “several irons in the fire”, this can be a great advantage in disruptive developments. Here, a forward-looking corporate strategy helps to keep the focus on the company’s goals despite diversification.
  • Human resources development can specifically aim to promote important characteristics such as independence or agility. Decentralisation of decision-making processes and powers can also make a company more resilient. This is where forward-looking HR management helps, using important analytical tools such as personnel plans, age structure analyses or personnel development concepts.
  • Knowledge management ensures that knowledge and competences are promoted, deepened and networked.
  • The cognitive resources of employees are valuable for a company and strengthen its resilience. Knowledge and competences can be mobilised in times of crisis in order to quickly develop creative and innovative solutions that lead the company through the crisis.
  • Agility in the company is important to remain nimble. If new rules of the game arise, an agile company can adapt quickly, for example, to quickly develop new business models. Agile companies are characterised by error-friendliness, transformation efforts and a fundamental openness to new things. They are in a position to force changes in their own markets and to manage them successfully, to optimise them and to continuously develop management areas.

Setting up resilience management professionally with experts

THE MAK`ED TEAM accompanies medium-sized companies with an experienced, interdisciplinary team in the implementation of a customised resilience management concept. Which stabilising and flexible elements are focused on depends entirely on the individual starting conditions of the company. Whether liquidity management, compliance system or human resources development: we have the technical expertise to develop a customised resilience solution for small and medium-sized enterprises. Successfully implemented, resilience management not only provides the company with the basis for remaining resilient and mastering crises, but also the best prerequisites for carrying out its transformation processes in a targeted manner.

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