Preface – Resilient Thinking: Protecting Organisations in the 21st Century


The world is a dangerous and difficult place to live in for most of us most of the time. We all want a peaceful and happy existence, but the path from cradle to grave is rarely smooth for many – for some it’s a downright struggle. As individuals, families and social groups we make single or collective decisions and choices that we hope will influence outcomes and ensure that what we get is what we feel we deserve, or at least that to which we aspire. Choices that we make can be instinctive or informed and often we make our decisions more in hope than in good judgement. Probably, when we look back on our lives before we check out, most of us will think that we could have done better with hindsight. For organisations that want to meet their business aims (usually involving optimising profitability), the correct decisions are important, and normally critically so. Even more important is the fact that, for businesses, hindsight is rarely an effective or desirable management tool and the more proactive and forward-thinking the organisation, the better chance it will have of remaining viable and competitive.

Resilient Thinking is not about the mechanics of writing plans. You can download templates from the Internet for that, or even keep on updating existing plans as the organisation develops and the environment changes and affects you. This book is about intelligent approaches and the ability to operate smartly, so that you and your organisation are prepared for the worst, or even the events and occurrences that appear to be insignificant at first and then become nightmares. You won’t find any checklists in this book either – they are for people who work within mental frameworks and, whilst they have their place, it would be useful if we could agree on the assumption right from the start that it’s not here. Hopefully, as we go along, it will become clear that there are functionalities and processes which need to be checked off. However, the more valuable processes in the heat of an incident or event and in the periods both preceding and following, it will be those which are flexible and responsive, carried out by a confident, mentally agile and knowledgeable resilience team.

Another thing that this book is not is a set text for resilience ‘teams’. You may have designated resilience professionals, semi-professionals or amateurs carrying out resilience tasks, but the truly resilient organisations are those that involve every single employee in the resilience process at some stage or another. So, if everyone has a responsibility, then Resilient Thinking is designed for them.

Reading this book will not allow you to change the world. It won’t make you an expert in the multiple nuances of resilience. Hopefully, it will allow you to step back, look at things a little more critically, and add a little more to your overall capability. Add to that some common sense and an understanding of processes and organisational requirements and objectives, and you can become very effective indeed.