By Nikita Tomlinson

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…doesn’t it?

Resilience is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. Or toughness. The alternate definition is the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape.

In business, resilience is the ability to quickly adapt to disruptions while continuing business operations, safeguarding your people, your assets, and your brand equity.

The circumstances we are in are testing. They require toughness to come out the other side with a level of flexibility to bounce back into a shape that resembles what we were ‘before’. In short, it takes courage. Courage to face challenges head on, courage to adapt, to change, to pivot. Courage sometimes, to recognise that the ‘after’ may be materially different than the ‘before’.

There are amazing examples of this in our own backyard and abroad.

The fine dining restaurant in Melbourne (Kiwi owner and Head Chef I might add), who has adapted his business model and is selling an ‘At Home’ pack based off their classic menu. With matched wine and cocktails of course. They have had to employ more staff just to keep up with orders.

The manufacturers and distributors who supply to the construction industry who have expanded their product range to include disinfectant sprays for construction sites, capturing a market that has had vastly increased demand.

The house washing companies who stepped up quickly to offer playground disinfecting before lockdown commenced (for free!).

The gyms who adapted so quickly, that their members were training online with their gym family the day lockdown started - with a training and support offering that inspires the loyalty of their members and knits their community even tighter than before.

The breweries and distilleries who quickly converted to hand sanitiser production in order to supply our country with a product in short supply that had led to panic in many – a gesture that created a feeling of warmth and goodwill towards their brand that isn’t beverage inspired.

There are some key characteristics of businesses and leaders that have enabled the above organisations (and others) to stand up and face these challenging circumstances head on: agility, strategy and reputational resilience.

‘Agile’ business has been a buzz word for a long time. Circumstances like the current pandemic are where you see the outworking of agility. The ability to read the market, understand your circumstances, and make an agile decision to make the best of the situation. This agility is driven by another characteristic – that of planning and strategy.

This means that you understand the key risks to your business (before they come to fruition), and you have a strategy to respond to these that minimises the overall impact to the business, your staff and your customers. It means considering multiple scenarios, wide thinking, considering supply chains, considering funding arrangements, considering the strength of your customers, the strength of your staff…the list goes on. This strategic thinking means knowing what the vital signs are of your business and being able to read them. It means understanding what levers you can pull to improve these vital signs. It means knowing where your opportunities lie within disruption, and being able to thrive, not just survive.

The combination of agility and strategy enabled the businesses I mentioned earlier to get their heads together and devise a plan that took advantage of the opportunities they saw in an uncertain environment.

Finally, it is important to remember as we navigate challenging times, those around us will remember our reputational resilience – or the way in which we stepped up to face difficult circumstances.

Level 4 lockdown has brought out the best in some. For others, it brings out the opposite. You will be remembered for the way you have treated your staff, your customers, your suppliers. You will be remembered for whether you approached these circumstances with grace and courage or if you let your frustration and fear get the better of you.

You will have seen over the last few weeks the various tools that we have shared on our social media and through our Sudburys website. These are tools that are designed to support your business to be agile, to understand your business better, to outline your risks and opportunities, and equip you to make decisions, and to ultimately increase your resilience in these challenging circumstances.

If you’re not feeling particularly resilient at the moment, that’s okay! We’re here to help and we’d love to chat. Email me at or phone 027 287 4637 to start a conversation.