Organizational Resilience Intangible Assets

Michael D. Moberly   February 12, 2010

The need for company’s to have greater assurance of (their) operational continuity in an envirionment in which there are  (a.) increasing business interdependencies and alliances, (b.) lengthier and ‘just in time’ supply chains, interwoven with (c.) elevated vulnerability to – probability of disruptions with (d.) the capability of producing immediate adverse cascading impacts that ripple throughout an enterprise (internally and externally), is prompting management teams to look more objectively and critically at their standard, but seldom executed, ‘business continuity and contingency plan’.

In other words, putting a much needed and warranted 2010 ‘spin’ on the conventional business continuity and contingency plan by re-framing it as ‘organizational resilience’ is a good thing!

Determining (assessing) with some degree of precision, just how resilient a company really is to the growing array of asymetric risks and threats is challenging.  Many of those risks, if they materialize, their criticality can be relentless and immediate insofar as undermining and eroding a company’s value, standing, market share, and revenue streams, etc., in ways that cannot be readily mitigated or reversed without having well grounded, practical, and objective organizational resilience plans in place. 

A ‘virtual’ reality (exacerbating) making organizational resilience all the more challening for company management teams, is that most company’s consumers, clients, and suppliers, (a.) have a propensity to be skeptical, synical, and less-believing of a company’s (obviously) resiliency motivated communications following an incident (ala Toyota), and (b.) can readily find satisfactory alternatives to meet their needs, either in the interim, or for the long term. 

Perhaps the single greatest challenge to designing and executing an organizational resilience plan is objectively identifying, evaluating, and achieving internal consensus about those assets, services, and business processes (all of which are intangible assets) that are the most essential insofar as measuably elevating – contributing to a company’s overall resilience, i.e., returning to a state of reasonable operational normalcy following an adverse event or act.  

Management teams that inadvertently overlook or do not specifically include a company’s intangible assets in their organizational resilience planning are, in my judgment, not merely being near-sighted or neglectful of their fiduciary responsibilities, they’re actually taking their company down a much more riskier path because:

1. 65+% of most company’s value, primary sources of revenue, building blocks for future wealth creation and sustainability lie in or directly evolve from intangible assets including intellectual property, and

2. intangible assets are typically more fragile, volatile, transportable, and susceptible to adverse information whether real or ‘hyperized’  than physical/tangible assets.

(Some aspects of this post were modified by Michael D. Moberly from ASIS Internationals’ 2009 ‘Organizational Resilience’ standard.)

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