How resilient is your organization? Can you deal with crises? Can you weather impending storms? Can you proactively identify what’s going to cause that storm?
If you’ve ever watched a movie from years past, one of the pieces of technology that was talked about quite a bit because it was in many movies was the Blackberry. What’s a Blackberry? Not very long ago, Blackberries were ubiquitous, and they were the cool phone to have. When we talked about resiliency, I think this is a good example of a corporate strategy that put their eggs in a certain kind of technological basket that didn’t pan out. Somewhere around 2007, when the iPhone was released, Blackberries became antique technology virtually overnight. What happens to an organization when they commit to one particular technology and they don’t have anything else in the wings, leaving themselves wide open to competitors that offer something new that becomes the latest must-have technology; all of a sudden, a huge part of the organization’s income stream is rendered obsolete.
We at BlueDragon often talk about organizational resiliency and the ability of an organization to adapt to changing times or adapt after a major watershed or catastrophic event takes place, or a change in the organizational cultures over a period of time that causes productivity or results to go downhill. In this post we’ll discuss why organizations are not really as resilient as they think they are or need to be.
There are two ways to think about it as this sort of translates into BlueDragon and how we apply our problem-solving system in organizations.
- First, you’ve had a bad event and you want to quickly and accurately identify what the root cause is, and then return to normal operations. That’s one type of resiliency; how quickly you rebound after something goes wrong. However, waiting for bad things to happen is not the best approach.
- Secondly, and the one that we’re focusing a lot of attention on, is the characteristics and effectiveness of the line of defenses of your organization. A strong line of defense (i.e. administrative requirements, policies and procedures, along with physical and cyber barriers to protect humans and information) can proactively maximize the probability that your organization will not suffer a programmatic breakdown, significant event or crisis. In the spirit of continuous improvement, the stronger the defenses, the more resilient an organization becomes.
The BlueDragon Integrated Problem-solving System (IPS) is designed to help organizations in both situations, to make an organization much more resilient. Here’s one of the problems that we see over and over at our client sites. An organization has a problem, and they don’t do an in-depth analysis of the issue, problem or event, so they don’t identify the deepest-seated causes of the issue. Whether they recognize it or not, the organization is identifying and addressing (band-aiding) the symptoms and are doomed to have further consequential events down the road. That means they are not a very resilient organization as they are not fully learning from and recovering from the issue.
Without a sound methodology, organizations are going to continue to experience recurring problems, issues and events. And these recurring problems are very costly. In the United States alone, industries are experiencing recurring issues that are costing us trillions of dollars in losses per year.
- Recurring issues in the healthcare system average $760 to $935 million dollars per year, mostly caused by human-centric problems. (Source: Journal of the American Medical Association).
- And per the Consortium for IT Software Quality, the estimated annual cost of poor software quality is over $2 trillion dollars per year, on average. In 2018, the cost was actually $2.8 trillion dollars.
Could the proactive application of BlueDragon IPS have saved the BlackBerry? Probably not. But it’s a good lead-in to talk about this idea of organizational resiliency and whether a corporation or an organization has what it takes to weather the inevitable storms that are going to come along. Here are some suggestions:
- A good start is to proactively evaluate an organization’s line of defenses, the health or the organization and its programs, policies and procedures that are in place to prevent bad things from happening.
- A good way to conduct proactive analysis of defenses is to re-purpose resources from your current self-assessment efforts and programs, to conducting proactive threat assessments, vulnerability analyses, proactive program reviews, peer evaluations, and management evaluations. All of these can be conducted using BlueDragon IPS.
- In conjunction with the analysis of current defenses, analyze any personnel at-risk behaviors and situations where the organization may be setting up personnel to fail (error-likely situations). Again, BlueDragon IPS seamlessly incorporates behavioral analysis along with the analysis of defenses.
Organizations in complex operating environments such as the nuclear weapons complex, the national laboratories, defense, and aerospace facilities, have thousands of procedures and requirements. There also exist many latent weaknesses and deep-seated issues causing recurring problems. By replacing your antiquated self-assessment processes with Bluedragon IPS, you can get out in front of events by proactively identifying the latent weaknesses in your line of defenses and strengthening those defenses before they allow problems or events to take place.
It’s time to change the paradigm for organizational resiliency:
In our modern socio-technical work environment, it’s now more important than ever to proactively get out in front of issues by strengthening our defenses, rather than waiting for events to take place so we can test how resilient the organization is by how fast it bounces back.
> William Toth, PhD – BlueDragon VP of Research & Development
> Rob De La Espriella, BD3 – CEO and Founder, BlueDragon Integrated Problem-solving System