Wednesday 28 October, 2020

Businesses told: Building resilience key to COVID-19 recovery

Photo: Dr Todd Conklin at AMCHAM T&T's 23rd HSSE Conference, 2019. Image courtesy AMCHAM T&T.

Photo: Dr Todd Conklin at AMCHAM T&T's 23rd HSSE Conference, 2019. Image courtesy AMCHAM T&T.

Companies must address resilience in their current systems to bounce back from the ongoing economic pressure brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The advice came from Human Performance Expert, Dr Todd Conklin, who said companies must rethink the way they treat with safety.

He made the comment during a webinar: “Building Resilience – Bouncing Back from the Crisis” hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago (AMCHAM T&T) on Wednesday.

He said: “To do that we have to redefine the way we think about safety. We know safety is not the absence of failure, safety is not the absence of uncertainty, safety is not the absence of accidents, but safety for us is the presence of capacity and resilience.”

Dr Conklin said the current situation companies face is marked by significant increases in volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA).

He said this “VUCA” environment has led to companies making crucial operational decisions quickly to ongoing changes.

“This environment is dynamic and incredibly connected. There are many interdependencies but no one part of the system is really more important than any other part of the system,” Dr Conklin said.

In this regard, he said leaders must be prepared to do things differently.

“In a VUCA environment, we want to actually seek diverse opinions. We want to look for expertise in your operations that exists at every single level of your organisation. Diversity in every form, that is thought, experience, position, gives us a broader range of information by which we can make our decisions and make us more successful.”

He said strategies must be geared toward strengthening systems to anticipate changes in an already challenging period.

Dr Conklin suggested that more learning and adapting must take place to achieve this reality.

The difference between measuring and monitoring, he said, becomes an important part of understanding how companies anticipate the operational future.

“Counting on one another is an incredible valuable operational capacity. The ability to be agile, the ability to zig and zag, workers making sense out of their world and creating product, learning and adapting are fundamental to capacity.”

Bouncing back from the crisis, Dr Conklin said, will require companies to hold talks with their staff on policies, processes and procedures, and decisions taken on what changes are to be made.

Wednesday’s webinar is a series of Pre-Conference Webinars organised by AMCHAM T&T’s H.S.E. Committee. It’s one of several events leading up to AMCHAM T&T’s 24th Annual Health, Safety, Security and Environment Conference and Exhibition which is scheduled for October 19 – 23. The event will be hosted virtually.

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