The last few years have been full of disruption. As a leader, there were days when it felt like all I did was find ways to solve the latest unprecedented problem.

While things have certainly stabilized since the early days of the pandemic, business hardly feels “as usual.”

The recent global banking crisis feels like a poignant reminder of the ongoing disruptions organizations are facing. But, unfortunately, it’s not the only kind of upheaval executives and leaders need to navigate.

Ongoing war, changing consumer expectations, rapidly advancing technology changes to the workforce, and evolving legislation are all confronting business leaders today.

Unfortunately, there is no way to plan for every disruption you’ll need to navigate as a leader. However, you can create a culture prepared to weather them with resiliency.

The Resiliency Rules report

In my experience, most people agree about the value of resilience. A resilient organization is better prepared for disruption and innovation, growth, and talent retention.

While few dispute the value or resiliency, there’s less consensus on how to produce a resilient organization.

So, like the data lovers we are, SAS decided to get some data on organizational resilience worldwide.

We interviewed executives in Benelux, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States to determine what leaders think and what makes an organization resilient.

Our research found that 97% of executives feel resiliency is important, but only 47% believe their organization is resilient. 46% of executives also reported they don’t believe their organization is fully equipped to navigate disruptions. Our research team titled this phenomenon the “resiliency gap.”

Interestingly, 88% of executives indicated they could close the resiliency gap if they had the right guidance on where to focus their efforts. So, we created the Resiliency Rules: five rules for resilience to help executives and business leaders close the gap.

These rules are based on our research on resilient organizations. We indexed organizations from most to least resilient and compiled common threads to identify the five most impactful focus areas to increase your company’s resilience.

These have served us well as an organization that’s navigated over 40 years of disruptions, growth, innovation, and changes. I hope they are helpful to you as you lead and grow your organization!

Download the full report now with over 30 pages of research and tips to make your organization more resilient.

The Resiliency Rules

1. Speed and agility: Respond with quick shifts

Adapting quickly to market changes and remaining competitive is a key component of a resilient organization. Companies that prioritize and invest in their ability to be quick and agile ranked much higher in resilience. In the event of a disruption, often speed and agility will often be the most crucial ingredient for continued progress. Building this value into your organizational culture will also help prevent you from getting stymied in wanting to be perfect during disruption. Instead, it will allow you to be agile and quickly adjust to the circumstances around you.

2. Innovation: Create a better world

Innovation is the ability of organizations to unlock new business models, workflows, solutions, products, or services through technology. In our study, we found executives in high-resiliency organizations focus on innovation in areas across their organization, including technology, data, employee engagement, and more.

3. Equity and responsibility: Ensure fairness

Another common thread woven through the most resilient organizations we studied was a dedication to equity and responsibility. The most resilient organizations also scored highest in data quality, responsible data use, inclusive hiring and employment practices, and workforce diversity.

4. Data culture and literacy: Instill analytics everywhere

Another trend that emerged from high-resiliency organizations is a focus on data culture and literacy. More than having a tool for data management, resilient organizations create a culture of looking to data to help solve problems, answer questions and make decisions.

5. Curiosity: Encourage exploration

I was both pleased and unsurprised that our research revealed that the most resilient organizations were also the most curious. Our Curiosity@Work study showed that curiosity can be transformative personally, and the Resiliency Rules study confirmed it is also transformational at the organizational level. Curiosity fosters resilience by inviting us to relentlessly pursue new information, learning and possibilities.

The Batting Lab: an example of the rules at work

While these rules are essential for navigating disruption, they also pave the way for your organization's growth, innovation, and fun. In our recent project, The Batting Lab, I’ve seen the fruit of these rules at work.

The Batting Lab was born out of our cultural value on the importance of data culture and literacy. That principle is built into our core here at SAS, and we wanted to find a way to share it with the world. So, our teams imagined and built a project to help kids improve their data literacy skills by playing baseball.

Their curiosity encouraged them to ask important questions, leading them to quickly adapt our technology for new and innovative use. If you’re curious about the project's outcome, I encourage you to check out this video.

By implementing these five rules, they found a creative way to make data and analytics relevant to kids and created many other opportunities for SAS. So far, our teams have submitted two patents, won the 2023 Social Impact Award, been featured on the Today Show, created pride in our employee base and helped demonstrate the power of analytics to our customers in a new and exciting way.

This is simply one example of how these rules have helped us innovate and evolve, but I hope it gives you a glimpse into what’s possible (beyond crisis management) when you invest in resiliency.

Next steps: Take the Resiliency Assessment and read the report

Hopefully, this overview has been helpful as you consider how to make your organization more resilient. I encourage you to read the full report for a much deeper dive into these rules, more insight into the research, and tips on cultivating these rules in your business.

We’ve also created the resiliency assessment tool for leaders and executives. With this tool, we’ll ask you some questions about your organization’s resilience and then provide customized recommendations. It only takes about five minutes, and you can take the quiz now.

The need for resilience is not going anywhere anytime soon. As you continue to lead and grow your organization, I hope these Resiliency Rules help you feel more confident in your ability to lead well and create a thriving organization.


About Author

Jenn Chase

Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer

As CMO, Jenn Chase is responsible for leading Analyst Relations, Corporate Communications, Creative, Digital, Events, Customer Contact Centers and Go-to-Market teams around the world. Her 20-year journey at SAS, spanning R&D and marketing, has earned her a reputation of being data driven – often referred to as analytically curious! Along the way, Jenn has guided the modernization of marketing, aligned regional marketing efforts and strengthened collaboration between marketing and sales while cultivating a strong customer focus. Her belief is that great companies possess an intense desire to deliver experiences that far exceed their customers’ expectations every day. Leading by example, Jenn strives to integrate data and analytics to create experiences that are purposeful and lasting.

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