Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Why Business should care about Resilience

I'm a firm believer that worrying is pointless.  If I'm worried about something, I need to ask myself what I can do about it, then do it and forget about it.  Worry is useful in so much as it points us to things that need our attention.  Beyond that worry is a waste of effort and thinking time.

So when I began looking into the heavily debated concept of Peak Oil, and many of the other serious challenges facing our planet today, I began to realize that I had a choice.  If in fact we're facing the end of cheap oil and prices are going to climb to crippling levels in the not too distant future, this was probably something worth worrying about.  The fact that our nations and the entire world consists of an intricately interconnected web of systems that all depend heavily on oil as an abundant and cheap resource, is something we need to pay attention to, do something about, so that we can ease up on the worrying.  The other option is to remain in denial that business as usual will continue for the rest of our lifetimes and beyond...Not really an option.

So as a business, what plans are being put in place for a  5-, 10-, or 20- year time frame to wean your organization off of fossil fuels?  What are we doing to ensure that our organization is sustainable?  Now before you say, "Oh, but I won't be here in 10 years!" let me remind you that we will be forced to transition from oil dependency in our lifetime.  ... on our watch.  If we don't start thinking about how we will transition now, there will be no businesses for our children to work in.

Resilience is the capacity to adapt, rebound and thrive in the face of unexpected threat or shock.  Building business resilience requires addressing all areas of business and creating or re-engineering new ways of operating as well as having contingency plans in place.  What will your business do if there is a blackout and machinery, lighting, and electronic financial transactions are inoperable?  What is your means of surviving through the next great recession?  How will your business function when oil reaches $200 / barrel?  What is the emotional preparedness of your leaders? your employees?  How cohesive will your organization be in the face of crisis?

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