“Why is a seven-hundred-year old company not well-known and celebrated as an exemplar of corporate resilience?”1
The company in question is called Stora Enso – and while they may have a case, the recent events with “News of the World” prove that age of an entity is not really an indicator of the current degree of resilience.
In fact, this is further evidence to support the primary role that culture plays in establishing and sustaining organisational resilience.
In the case of the ‘News’ it seems to be an unethical culture which diminshed their resilience, or perhaps just another case of arrogance and complacency from a market leader.
It has also been interesting to note that there appears to have been little value placed on the age of the ‘News of the World’ title by the News Limited Crisis Managers. When the fallout from the tabloid crisis threatened to derail their acquisition of the the BSkyB Television network then the 168 year-old newspaper became expendable.
With the emerging story about payments to the Police and the links into the government, this story still seems to have a long way to run. It will also be interesting to follow the story if only to see how far up the corporate ladder executives become expendable to the Crisis Managers.
I am looking forward to reading the reviews of this situation by various Crisis Management commentators to see how they rank the performance.
Too often we overlook the fact that habits, and culture, can work in both positive and negative ways. Consider my application of the ‘Six Habits’ I sourced from the article referenced below;
- Resilient organisations actively tend to their environment
- Success can make you overconfident, nobody can take you down
- The article actually suggests part of the problem “too little transperancy. No moral compass”
- Resilient organisations prepare themselves and their employees for disruptions
- Some organsiation do not prepare their employees, but they do have plans
- I have consulted to companies who have contingecy plans to shut down a business unit in the event of a disaster. I know there were not discussed internally with staff.
- Who knows, perhaps abandoning News of the World was a pre-arranged contingency if things got too hot
- Resilient organisation build in flexability
- again, dumping the newspaper to protect the Sky TV acquisition shows that News Ltd can be flexible
- the purpose is not the continuity of a single business unit, or publication, the the returns generated by the ultimate holding company.
- Resilient organizations strengthen and extend their communications networks – internally and externally
- Clearly they excelled in this category, links into Scotland Yard and Number 10.
- Resilient organizations encourage innovation and experimentation
- Get the story, the end justifies the means
- Phone hacking is innovative – we need to be clear on the ethics of our innovations
- Resilient organizations cultivate a culture with clearly shared purpose and values
- It seems that this was shared, but it was the value of arrogance and the purpose was to get the scoop’ at any cost.
Culture is about the way we do things here – it is driven by the tone from the top.
That is why the culture of resilience has to start from the top level and filter down, it cannot be established from the middle or bottom.