The Genesis of Resiliency – People Resiliency (Part 1 of 9)

This is the first part of a 9-part series on 9-key strategic business areas that are vital for the continuity of services and operations.


When it comes to People Resiliency, I am no expert. However, the current pandemic situation in which we find ourselves has given me some time to review the methodologies we have traditionally used to help organizations survive the toughest of times and I see room for improvement.

Specifically, I believe we can improve resiliency outcomes by moving beyond looking at just our own operations and incorporating a new focus on the perspectives of those who rely on us to continue their business. By doing so, we can expand the scope of our planning activities and create opportunities that support continuity for us and our communities.

Traditionally, when planning for business continuity, we include a consideration that our people (i.e. our employees) will carry out “as normal as possible” operations during un-normal times. However, do we consider the perspective of our people with respect to what they want from us during – and after – a disruption event? And what about other stakeholders, such as investors, local communities, and charities we support, who also rely on us and our people to stay in business? What is their perspective on the value of our people to them? Or, to put it another way, what benefit do our people offer to our stakeholders?

Let us consider our investors. What is the investor’s perspective on the value of our people to their own operations? What if the investor’s portfolio takes a 75% loss due market conditions and they need to depend on us for their own survival? We can see that ensuring our people continue working is a clear benefit to our investors.

Since it is difficult to ask our stakeholders for their perspectives (and indeed its unlikely that our investor noted above would offer it) how do we assess and include them in our planning activities to ensure we all succeed and continue operations?

I propose adding a method to our traditional tabletop activities that leverages the concept of user-based stories. These stories, developed by business leaders and subject matter experts, create new conversations that identify deficiencies in our continuity planning which put our operations – and the needs of our stakeholders – at risk.

For example, think about our unfortunate investor above, the one who lost 75% of their portfolio value. How do we improve our People Resiliency and keep our investor in business?

Conduct a tabletop with a scenario focused on People Resiliency

We are company that employs 200 people and we might fail in 6 months from now because we did not plan for a technology being developed by a competitor that either replaces the need for our people or renders their current skill set obsolete.

Consider the of perspective our investor

The expected benefit for the investor is that their equity stake will be of more value one year from now and they will stay in business.

Go through a process of user-based story writing

Identify blind spots in our continuity planning process and document corresponding strategies (or outputs) that mitigate the risk. These outputs may include:

  • Creating internal processes to assesses a competitor’s ability to innovate and the potential frequency of doing so.

  • Investing in our people to develop skills that support new technologies.

  • Developing innovation labs and processes that foster new ideas from our own people.

  • Identifying strategic partnerships that enable us to create new technologies that hedge against the risk of a competitor’s ability to capture market share.

This new method of user-based stories strengthens our People Resiliency. Additionally, through the conversations and resulting outputs (or strategies) it generates, we improve our value to investors, safeguarding their interests together with those of our local, regional & global communities.