Agility, Resiliency and Sustainability: Needed Now More than Ever


This pundit and his firm have long been proponents of building organizational cultures that provide firm the capability of adjusting to ‘events on the ground’ quickly with strong Situational Awareness.  Moreover, when adversity raises its ugly head, the response of a High Reliability Organization enables the resilience to adjust and go forward.  Finally, stakeholder value is destroyed if the organization does not have a viable economic future.

In the last few editions of this series, we addressed a number of high impact and potentially negative situations and the forces at work.  We continue to make the point, that organizations ignore these signals at their peril.

First Contact

The German field marshal, known as Moltke the Elder, believed in developing a series of options for battle instead of a single plan, saying “No plan of operations extends with certainty beyond the first encounter with the enemy’s main strength.”  Today, “no plan survives contact with the enemy” is the popular reconfiguration of this concept.”

In such an environment, P:lan B.,C, D et al. may not be fluid enough.  Having the ability to jump to Plan Z or no previous option, is what wins military and organizational battles.  In 1944, George Patton famously turned an entire army, in the middle of winter 90 degrees to relive defenders known as the Battle of the Bulge.  It was tis type of audacious decision making and effective action that won World War II.  This is a model for contemporary organizational behavior, and the basis of our Relationships, Behaviors, Conditions (RBC) approach to agility, resiliency and sustainability in today’s world.

Elite Athletics

In addition to military models, athletics is another allegory for business executives to follow.  In 2009 we released our White Paper, Rapid Response Management: Thriving in the New World Order.  In that document, we developed the Rapid Response Management Matrix.

In this model we compared organizational Fitness Maturity as a function of its ability to Recover (catch your breath and move on to the next play).  Value of course is highest for those that are in the best ‘shape.’

Preparation, Preparation, Preparation

We have discussed this issue before.  In our June 22, 2018 blog, we quoted race car driver Bobby Unser, “Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.”  Additionally, Louis Pasteur taught us.  “Chance favors the prepared mind.”

Sports teams, the military and dance troupes as well as others practice incessantly.  It is the only way to keep at the top of ‘your game.’  Businesses, not so much.


Much like a Broadway musical, organizations need to understand and assure all the moving pieces (and people) work together.  For example, a decade or so ago an energy services company sought to understand how NASCAR choreographed ‘pit stops.’  There goal was to see if best practices could be used by the field operations teams.

Into 2023

Years ago in the middle of yet another oil bust, a colleague paraphrased the old Chinese curse by saying, “May we live in less interesting times.”  Be that as it may we live in interesting times and must respond accordingly.

How are you and your organization preparing for the uncertainty of the near future?

For More Information

Please note, RRI does not endorse or advocate the links to any third-party materials herein.  They are provided for education and entertainment only.

The author’s credentials in this field are available on his LinkedIn page.

“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” (Martin Luther King speech at Cornell College, 1962).  For more information on Cross Cultural Engagement, check out our Cross Cultural Serious Game.  You can contact this author as well.

For more insight regarding the economics of Climate Change, check out our recent blog, Crippling Green.

For those start-up firms addressing energy (including renewables) challenges, the author is a member of Global Energy Mentors which provide no-cost mentoring services from energy experts.  If interested, check it out and give us a shout.

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