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AFP 2021 Blog


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Recover, Rebuild, Reinvent: The ROI of Organizational Resilience

Aug 9, 2021

By Robin Johnson and David Fales

In the closing keynote address of AFP 2019 in Boston, AFP President Jim Kaitz stood on the stage with the words “soft skills” emblazoned behind him in four-foot-tall letters. Five months later, the coronavirus pandemic hit, and the world soon learned that those are not “soft” skills but rather “power” skills. Every organization that navigated the pandemic did so by using principles of resilience, whether they knew they were doing so or not. For those organizations that did not survive, the degree to which they used principles of resilience influenced how they went down, how long they stayed down and how they are getting back up.

Peter Drucker famously said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Every strategy proposed by finance and treasury departments will ultimately be implemented by human beings. As the on-going pandemic and political turmoil have only too clearly revealed, the human side of business must be addressed appropriately and effectively for there to be on-going success on the strategy and implementation side.

Organizational resilience is a core part of company culture. In our AFP 2021 session, “Recover, Rebuild, Reinvent: The ROI of Organizational Resilience,” one key take-away for attendees is that individual resilience is a learnable, buildable skill. Regardless of one’s current level of resilience, it can be increased through specific strategies. In this session, individuals can learn and build one such strategy — Real-time Resilience.

Organizations have many avenues for building resilience, such as discovering, learning about, and focusing primarily on the strengths of the organization, and then using those strengths to meet current and future challenges.

Those who need to create buy-in and willing participation by various stakeholders for bringing about organizational change and building organizational resilience can focus on individual and organizational strengths. A strengths-based perspective has been shown to increase creativity and flexibility, both of which are essential in meeting unexpected and on-going challenges.

Principles of resilience and organizational well-being have tangible results on the bottom line. For example, hospitals that implemented these concepts had lower rates of infection and mortality. In another example, David Fales, a presenter at this session, used these principles and strategies to help stop a precipitous slide in market share on a cash-cow product while working at JR Simplot Company, rebuild some of that market share, and increase the value and consequent margins on that product. He also used these principles and strategies for developing new, innovative products at Fresh Express. Robin Johnson, MBA, Master of Applied Positive Psychology and presenter at this session, will share additional examples of organizations that use principles of organizational resilience and well-being to turn around disastrous corporate situations and survive pandemic shutdowns.

Don’t miss Robin Johnson and David Fales’ AFP 2021 session, “Recover, Rebuild, Reinvent: The ROI of Organizational Resilience,” taking place Tuesday, November 9, at 8:30 a.m. ET in Room 146A. Check out all the sessions on the AFP 2021 SESSION EXPLORER and register for the conference HERE.