Thursday, February 4, 2010

Crisis Management and Resilience

I have been back reading a number of blogs by Ken Simpson and I came across his review of some work on economic resilience by Adam Rose a Research Professor at USC. (linked)

Ken Simpson makes some insightful observations of Rose's work but what interests me is that Ken identifies that (according to Rose) there are two types of resilience: inherent and adaptive resilience.

While Ken Simpson's blog identifies a number of interesting lines of thinking from Rose's work I am most intrigued by the concept of adaptive resilience. My initial view is that adaptive resilience that is a true measure of the deep resilience of an organization and that it will separate winners from losers in a major catastrophe.

This concept looks like an endorsement for crisis management as a key system to improve organizational agility and adaptive resilience. I will continue to research the idea of adaptive resilience as a key to survival in a catastrophe.

What are the parts that make up adaptive resilience?

What are the characteristics of organizations that demonstrated adaptive resilience during a disaster?

Are decision making processes different during a disaster? Are they different in organizations with adaptive resilience?


  1. Lee, thanks for reading, and the cross posting.

    The 'adaptive resilience' idea is certainly what most people will refer to as Crisis Management - just done from the position that it has to work properly rather than being simply for compliance purposes.

    There is a body of work around the concept of the "Adaptive Enterprise"

    The sense/respond aspect is perhaps one of the key issues to deal with, and this can be aligned to some extent with the concept of 'Situational Awareness'in the Crisis/Emergency Management areas.

    I have a post in development on this subject, so will take this as a stimulus to get it complete.

    Final thoughts, this whole question relates to some of the 'soft skills' of management. It will force us to explore what an ability is how it differs from a capability - and how you assess and measure these things.

    A big challenge, but worth exploring.

  2. Ken,

    Thanks for the comment. I hope I cited you sufficiently as I am new to blogging.

    I agree with your observations about situational awareness. Coming from a military background, to me this is an often overlooked component to crisis decision making. We will spend a year making a normal business decision after exhaustive research, yet we are unwilling to invest in crisis decision making tools and processes to help us make snap decisions in a crisis when information may be limited and scattered.

    The second component to this challenge is the fusion (assembly, filtering and presentation) of the information in timely manner and in a format that can be easily understood during the crisis.

    I think there is much from the military that could (and does) translate well into this particular challenge and I look forward to being part of the solution.

    Thanks again, and I look forward to your blog on this topic.


  3. No problem on the citing - the pingback from your blog did not work, but that seems to happen a lot.

    One of the add-ons I use picked up the reference on Twitter and auto posted that as a trackback.

    I first came across the concept of Situational Awareness in reading the US Marine Corp Doctrine. It seemed very relevant and have integrated it into the way I promote Incident/Crisis Management to Corporates.

    You are right about the need to have tools/means to value add and present information. I find this to be one of the greatest short comings of most Corporate CM capabilities. Not surprising really as the only people who can really be expected to master these skills are the BC Practitioners, and often they either shy away from an active role or Executive Management will not engage them in a real crisis.

    I posted some more thoughts on this issue in an older post -

  4. I think the concept of situational awareness is broad enough to warrant its own post(s) so I have cross posted some thoughts on SA and Sense/React to continue the discussion.