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Resilience that is out of this world

from  December 28, 2023 | 2 min read

One of the topics we are seeing business leaders laser-in on right now, and one which I too am exploring in detail, is that of organizational resilience.

Definition of organizational resilience

BCG offers a simple definition of organizational resilience: "Resilience is a company’s capacity to absorb stress, recover critical functionality, and thrive in altered circumstances."

Within the ERP world, organizational resilience similarly refers to an organization’s readiness to face an economic downturn with confidence in their systems.

Even large enterprises will struggle to shield themselves from economic downturn and decline but if you have mature digital systems you can return to normality more quickly and get ahead of those lagging with legacy systems.

Real-life organizational resilience examples

A fantastic recent example, in my view, which perfectly encapsulates organizational resilience, is SpaceX's Starship rocket launch - here’s why.

As the rocket – the most powerful ever built - soared into the sky for its inaugural test flight, the teams behind it gathered in anticipation before witnessing its explosion just four minutes into its journey. Of course, many were critical, citing this as a vanity project for Elon Musk and criticizing the environmental impact, as well as the ‘waste’ of billions of dollars.

Yet, back at SpaceX HQ, the officials, and teams behind the project cheered at the incredible feat of achieving a clean launch for the fully integrated Starship and booster rocket.

It was declared a successful test flight by all involved, and there were jubilant scenes pictured back at mission control - shortly after, the rocket headed towards its demise in the Pacific. Cheering at failure? Yes! And that is organizational resilience playing out before us.

Even before the launch, many experts stated that the flight wasn’t expected to run seamlessly yet, whilst the $3 billion Spaceship only made it four miles towards the outer cosmos and its debut was cut short, the exercise still offers SpaceX valuable data.

This is a clear demonstration of resilience, and a ‘fail fast’ mentality – testing, learning from mistakes, analyzing the data, and readying teams to start again.

Although the ‘rapid unscheduled disassembly before stage separation’ was a relative disappointment to all involved, it provided learnings and has been cited as the latest illustration of a ‘successful failure’ business formula that serves Elon Musk's company well. I think the quote from BBC science correspondent, Jonathan Amos, sums it up:

Testing early and testing often, and sometimes breaking things has been very successful for them. You know, their Falcon 9 rocket now is the dominant rocket out there, and nobody comes clear to them. It launches every four days, it puts up 80 percent of all satellites.

How to build organizational resilience

What we can learn from Musk and the SpaceX team is that testing and failing is key. When you have data that you are in control of, and can subsequently forecast, you can build confidence that no matter the risk, there is always something to learn from testing, forecasting, and implementing.

Confidence is not blind but requires robust operations and systems to lead to success and resilience. Any size organization can learn from this: having accurate and succinct data is the first step, but being able to analyze this data to forecast potential weaknesses is key to success.

Like Elon’s starship, going in dry without any tests or hypotheses of what may occur would certainly lead to disaster. Those organizations that can anticipate, not predict, market changes and economic events and remain confident that their systems can bounce back, no matter the event, will always find success in the long run.

How Unit4 can help you build organizational resilience

Unit4 is dedicated to putting people first in your organization and empowering them with the tools and productivity to focus on the necessary forecasting skills that help build organizational resilience.

Automating smaller manual tasks with AI, and similarly using AI for advanced reporting capabilities, can empower your teams to focus on future-proofing your organization, anticipating downturns, and building robust relationships and systems that can stand the test of time.

To hear more about our suite of ERP solutions, consult our other blogs and Cloud-based products, or book a demo to see how we can help you implement organizational resilience.

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Mike Ettling - Chief Executive Officer at Unit4

Mike Ettling

Unit4 Chief Executive Officer

I’m a CEO, Investor, builder of world class teams, champion of diversity and continuous learner, and I’m passionate about people. From my first leadership role in the Boy Scouts, to exec positions in the tech industry, my career has revolved around elevating, engaging and enabling people. I joined Unit4 to get the market as excited in our unique approach to enterprise tech as I am. We’re building systems that change how people experience work, and the impact will be huge.

Outside of work I’m a proud father, Liverpool supporter and South African.