A company’s level of resilience may determine whether it succeeds or fails, how constructively it responds to change, setbacks and stress. A well developed culture is resilient.
A 400 person California manufacturing plant, one of 10 in the national corporate system, had during 30 months, doubled its productivity. No other plant in the company was even close. Along with this highly developed “we-are-the-best” company culture, came a positive attitude to stress and trauma.
Introducing new products into the production process was normally stressful. Most of the company’s other plants maneuvered to avoid taking on new products and making the necessarily disruptive changes to their production. It invariably meant a drop in their performance. Not so in this California plant. Employees there relished the challenge posed by the new products. It energized them. It was the one plant that actively solicited new products. The employees enjoyed devising new and creative ways to respond to the manufacturing and packaging challenges. The employees saw themselves as successful achievers, proud of their company-wide reputation as being the “do-anything-number-one-plant”. While every other plant saw new products as a negative, this plant saw them as a positive. That was their attitude toward everything — which was why they were number one.
Increasing Unpredictability Calls for New Ways
Many gurus of corporate life and the marketplace suggest we are moving further from predictability – more towards managing change and uncertainty. I agree. The appropriate response to an increasingly unpredictable world is not to try and develop more refined predictive models, but to develop systems and organizations that respond rapidly and appropriately to the expected but unknown new demands.
If what you predict is constant, accelerating but unknown change, the appropriate response is an engaged, healthy, stay-calm, resilient, positive, energized corporate culture. Resilient companies succeed because there is corporate wide trust and support, open and honest communications across divisions and between levels, and no resistance to change, because everybody is appropriately joined to their environment.
In a rapidly changing world we don’t know where we will be next year. But we do know that with the right corporate culture, with the right attitude, with engagement and resilience, we will arrive safe, sound, and successful.
cc 145 – © Barry Phegan, Ph.D.