What is resilience? When we use the term resilience we mean the following:

  1. Withstanding: Be able to maintain self-organization and continue operating in the face of disruption (or have an acceptable period where operations are suspended).
  2. Resolving: Be able to make the disruption end (or cease to be a disruption).
  3. Learning: Be able to adapt and adjust in order to avoid, mitigate, or improve coping with such a disruption in the future.
  4. Being strengthened: Using the disruption to increase capacity and ability to deal with future disruptions.
  5. Being Transformed: Using the disruption to grow and change (in a positive way) both on an individual level and an organizational level.


All organizations are comprised of three main components: People, Processes, and Places (technology and infrastructure). These three components interact with each other and both complement and compensate for each other when necessary. When all three are operating properly and in concert with each other an organization is resilient. 

Model of Organizational Resilience

The concept of mutual compensation is important: we need to assume that people will make mistakes (deliberate or accidental), processes will be inefficient or ineffective, and technology and infrastructure will fail. In order to be “resilient” an organization needs two of the three components to perform adequately. We see this on a daily basis: we use quality control processes to detect (and correct) people’s errors and we use common sense (or careful process analysis) to circumvent cumbersome and inefficient processes. Similarly we use technology to compensate for people’s abilities and fallibilities, and vice versa – we need people to maintain and repair the technology and infrastructure when it fails.

When we evaluate an organization’s resilience we examine each of these components and their respective ability to compensate for one another.  When a gap is identified, that means the organization is vulnerable in that area.

© Resilience Consulting, LLC 2012-2016