Review of Roads to Resilience: Building Dynamic Approaches to Risk, Cranfield School of Management

A report by Cranfield School of Management on behalf of Airmic and sponsored by Crawford, Lockton & PwC.

This brief report is an interesting read, although a lot of it is self-evident, as is the case with most guides and reports. The general thrust is resilient organisations are agile and have a culture that allows them to manage risk effectively.

Personally I think the emphasis on the soft squishy bit in companies can’t be over stated. It’s generally people that make things go right or wrong. Process and procedure are useful but  the human aspect of organisations is either overlooked or tends to play second fiddle to formal mechanisms in risk management.

Roads to Resilience puts people at the centre of risk management which I think can only be a good thing.

I like lists and diagrams, as many of you know, and here are the top five principles the report hangs it hat on.


1. Resilient companies have exceptional radar.
Recognising that no one individual, no one function, no one organisation is as smart as many thinking together. Radar helps an organisation consider risks in aggregate, collate different types of information and respond effectively in a controlled and considered manner.

2. Resilient companies value and build strong relationships internally and externally. By building strong internal and external relationships, and engendering trust and a desire to collaborate and share information means that when disruption hits the organisation, all stakeholders can communicate with each other to rapidly adapt to change. Resilient companies do not just manage risk within their organisational boundaries – they proactively manage risk throughout their networks of suppliers, contractors and franchisees.

3. Resilient companies have leaders that are respected and respectful. Resilience is ultimately rooted in trust, respect and inclusion, and needs to be nurtured. This requires leaders who can relate with suppliers, investors, business partners and others, pull them together, facilitate the sharing of information, and provide direction and guidance to their joint efforts. Such leaders demonstrate to the whole organisation the importance of risk management by their understanding and direct involvement.

4. Resilient companies have the ability to respond rapidly. They are able to respond swiftly to major incidents, ensuring that these do not escalate into crises, and to restore the organisation to (a new) normal as quickly as possible. Such companies use emergency response teams that can be rapidly mobilised so that senior leaders do not have to manage every aspect at once, while keeping an eye on the rest of the business.

5. Resilient companies have diversified resources. To avoid single points of failure, resilient organisations reduce their dependency on single critical ‘resources’: suppliers, markets, brands, products, investors, knowledge, etc. They identify these potential weaknesses through scenario analyses and stress-testing operations and strategic plans, and increase the diversity of resources. They develop the necessary skills for risk management throughout the organisation.

“This research illustrates an exciting role for risk professionals operating at the heart of the organisation and helping to bring together all critical stakeholders to create a resilient business”

John Hurrell Airmic CEO

To download a summary of the report click here.

Published: January 29, 2014. Categories: Book Reviews, News, Risk and Project Management and Robert's Blog.

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