Time for some R&R: Realism and Resilience

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Not many organisations could have predicted the emergence of a global pandemic in their lifetime – some though, would have prepared.

The British Standards Institution defines organisational resilience as “the ability of an organisation to anticipate, prepare for, respond and adapt to incremental change and sudden disruptions in order to survive and prosper.”

In recent times, we have seen a demanding need for organisational resilience, and realistically, it is up to the board to execute this.

The postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, for example, has brought devastating effects and economic insecurities to national governing bodies, athletes, investors, tourism, local communities- the list goes on.

Hayley Foster, Governance Officer at the Alliance, highlights the areas you should consider against your own organisational needs and resources, if you haven’t done so already, and how the Alliance can help you along the way.


As a board, how strong do you feel your leadership skills are? Is there enough support coming from the top all the way down, and is this received well? Are you not only surviving but thriving? It is the executive’s responsibility to make the tough, but right decisions- it is for the rest of the organisation to keep them accountable.

Board performance evaluations, also known as Effectiveness Reviews, create an opportunity for boards to self-reflect on their performance and evaluate improvement areas.

The Alliance has been conducting evaluations of a wide range of sport organisations since 2018 and is now offering this service virtually.

Check out our Virtual Board Evaluation guide for more information and member testimonials.


How empowered do you feel in your role, and how empowered do you make others feel? Are you collectively working together to ensure that the best outcomes are reached? Especially now, boards should be communicating the right tone from the top and people should feel motivated and secure in their role, even if in the face of adversity.


How adaptable are you to change? Organisations must prove their adaptability and agility during this time, particularly through the power of technology. Gone are the days of four-hour board meetings, stacks of board papers and lengthy presentations; now, the focus shifts to providing streamlined and efficient information before “Zoom fatigue” sets in.

Members can join our latest Governance Bites webinar completely free of charge to learn more about governance best practice in the digital world. Our Governance Bites series is packed full of fantastic digital courses and webinars, supporting you every step of the way until the end of the year. Check out the full calendar of events here.


To be clear, preparation for sudden disruptions is not to be confused with risk management. Whilst practices such as risk registers and implementation of policies can help to tackle anticipated change, it is the defined processes to help manage change which will ensure success in the long term.     


When push comes to shove, your vision can not always be completely fixed. Yes, you must plan for change, but sometimes that change is unforeseen. Creative planning and seeking new opportunities, such as diversification can help make the necessary changes without too much alteration to your vision. Remember, change must always be communicated to the wider organisation.

Our partners, Howden recently delivered a webinar on how to build organisational resilience amid the coronavirus pandemic. You can re-watch the session below.

Building resilience is not another agenda item, fixed entity or one step process- it takes time. Boards must ensure that practices are continually reviewed and evolve in alignment with the changing environment. Now is the time to stop the firefighting, step out of crisis management mode, and venture into the “new normal.”