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T e main benefi t of these changes is a more resilient organisation that is better prepared to respond to crises, to contain the human, physical and rep- utational damage, to restore business continuity quickly, and to make the systemic changes that will be needed to prevent or reduce the probability of a recurrence. One collateral benefi t is a more motivated, engaged, and resilient workforce, with leadership skills and capabilities at all levels. A second collateral benefi t concerns strengthen- ing the organisation’s overall agility and change readiness, to address new trends and developments, and to respond in a timely manner to signifi cant opportu- nities and challenges other than crises.


Most of the necessary steps involve changes to human resource management policies and practices: granting decision rights, swapping job descriptions for individual and team goals, revised hiring criteria and rewards systems to encourage change and agility, job design changes to create more externally-focused roles, using process and network structures and cross-functional teams, and shared leadership. Opening up leadership

development opportunities is the only item here with a budget line implication – and even that can often be covered in-house at low cost.

Actions for L&D  Consider reviewing with your senior management: are you built-to-change or built-to-last?

 What steps should you take to become ‘crisis ready?

 Examine what would have to change to improve your response to a critical incident in the manner of a High Reliability Organisation.


When imagining and planning for potential future crises – business, technological, commercial – chief executives will want to have their senior operations, IT and fi nance colleagues close at hand. However, given what we know and what we don’t know about the possible future shape of risks, and the nature of the crisis ready organisation, perhaps more chief executives should have their human resource management directors and L&D professionals on speed dial, too. Do all these steps sound like

common sense? In our experience, they make sense, but they are not common.

Can you imagine what risks your organisation could face in the next fi ve years? Is anyone currently exploring this?

T ese kinds of changes should be relatively easy to implement. T e most problematic changes concern adjusting the senior management mindset to allow all this to happen. So, when making the business case for crisis readiness, don’t forget to emphasise that most of this will be free or low cost to implement, which is a bargain when set against the probable cost of a disaster.

Steve Macaulay is an Associate of Cran�ield School of Management’s Centre for Customised Executive Development and can be contacted at s.macaulay@cran�

David Buchanan is Emeritus Professor of Organisational Behaviour at Cran�ield University and can be contacted at david. buchanan@cran�

| July 2017 | 9

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