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This is the yin to Efficiency’s yang. Over time, it seems that organisations tend to brittleness. I wonder whether this is the true cause of the fall of mighty corporations. Even well-managed, financially stable companies don’t last forever. 

The first question is – resilience to what? Broadly, an organisation needs to be resilient to unexpected shock. Most responsibly-run companies do plan for a range of crises and, when something expected happens, a response already exists. This is resilience of a type and usually exists in the form of “in emergency, break glass” action plans, rather than an a commitment to innate adaptability. 

The other thing that an organisation needs to be resilient to is unexpected change. For this, a certain fitness is required. A breadth of portfolio, a degree of complexity, a range of degeneracy (redundant or duplicated functions), and a practice of variety. 

To be plainer, when things get bad, you need options. If you only have one supplier of that critical item, you may not be resilient to their failure. If all your products serve the same market, what happens if it is disrupted? If your working rules are mandated from above, how can your staff adapt in real time when an emergency occurs? If you focus only on efficiency, how can your staff be creative when you need it?

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