Business Resilience

What rebound after the crisis?

On the occasion of SCOPS 2021 ceremony,the real barometer of business innovation produced by the Distribution and Customer Relations master’s degree program at Paris-Dauphine University, Guillaume Floquet, from Numberly, was pleased to decipher the notion of business resilience, the theme of the 14th SCOPS ceremony, and to explain its resonance with businesses throughout the year 2020.

Let’s go back over these few words…

Whilst addressing this theme, I first thought it was a heavy topic at a time where we need more casualness, and then I thought you certainly didn’t choose this topic by coincidence. So I asked myself what people know about resilience, which could be a word that was strayed from its original meaning.

Originally, resilience was a term used in agronomy to describe a soil which came back to life after a natural disaster, a flood or a fire : it isn’t the same flora or the same fauna as before but it’s a new form of life which knows how to develop itself.

This term was then used by neuropsychiatrists, in particular Boris Cyrulnik, to describe this ability to bounce back that humans have when facing trauma. It has been used for example after the horrors of concentration camps during the Second World War or after terrorist attacks. They found out that we were not all prepared the same way to face trauma, that we did not all react the same way when faced with an event which causes our brains to shut down because the pain is too intense, and therefore, that we won’t all have the same ability to redevelop ourselves.

Statistically in our lives, 100% of us will go through hardships, probably half of us will live these hardships as trauma where the brain “collapses” because it is too intense, difficult and painful for us. And only 30% will be equipped with resilience, meaning they will be able to start developing themselves again, different, but with interesting growth.

Therefore, resilience is not described
as a state but as a process.

There is a BEFORE, a DURING and an AFTER :

Neuropsychiatrists have shown that people who demonstrated resilience possessed the following characteristics :

  • BEFORE: they develop themselves with a “secured” attachment, they are able to project themselves, to imagine and socialize more easily.
  • DURING: they are able to distance themselves from horror, they keep their empathy which gives them the ability to create a space of freedom for themselves.
  • AFTER: they redevelop themselves more easily because they know how to find support from others and give meaning to what they have experienced.

Today we are talking about resilience for companies. I do not think it is a coincidence.

The crisis we are going through is indeed
a trauma for companies:

They first faced the UNTHINKABLE:

The loss of control and the loss of points of reference where it was difficult to distinguish reality and hypothesis. To know the difference between the crisis (nothing will come back to what it was before) and a disruption (something we can fix).

And then the unthinkable gave way to the IMPOSSIBLE:

We slowly became aware of the extent of the problem. It disrupts our certainties, even our values. The situation could have forced us to give up some of them: correctly dealing with our partners, taking care of our teams.

We saw behaviors that
we weren’t used to see before.

It seems to me that “secured” companies are the ones that entered the crisis with points of references: a solid identity, teams capable of creating relationships between themselves and partners, agile teams who can rely on a strong know-how and a financial solidity.

They were able or knew how to distance themselves during this crisis, to take a step back, to maintain empathic relationships with their partners, their clients and their teams. They knew how to explain without dramatizing and without avoidance. They knew how to focus their energy on what was necessary to prepare for the next steps.

Today, these companies are undoubtedly able to start again faster and stronger because they know how to find support from those they did not let down at the peak of uncertainty: partners and teams, and they also know how to give meaning to what they have experienced as a necessary and even useful transformation.

Innovation is at the heart of this rebound as an essential element of resilience to regenerate a different growth from before the crisis, a different growth but probably as promising …

… just like the fauna and flora of flooded and burnt lands.