The one hire which has secured Lego's business legacy

Howard Kerr
Learn from Lego: an organisational resilience officer can take a holistic view of the business and its supply chain (Source: Getty)

What does it take for a company to be resilient? Not merely able to endure a setback, but bounce back stronger?

Having suffered a severe shock to its global reputation through the emissions rigging scandal, VW reported its market share is at a five-year low. Investors will be assessing whether the damage is permanent, and looking for signs of recovery.

My advice to any company under similar circumstances would be to appoint someone internally to look holistically across the business to assess weakness, strengthen infrastructure and set the foundations for growth. Sometimes it takes a shock to the system to spur action.

Early this century, Lego Group was in trouble. Sales had fallen by a third and it had made an enormous loss. So how did the firm pick up the pieces? Over the last decade, it has intelligently tapped into every piece of popular culture in its own distinct way, adapted to new markets in video games and theme parks, and even secured itself at the top of the global power brands list. It’s a shining example of how a company can spring back.

Did I mention that Lego has a dedicated organisational resilience officer?

Of course, there isn’t a particular need to hire someone with this specific title. But it is essential that someone within your organisation is looking after the responsibilities that an organisational resilience officer would to ensure your business is on track. So what would your appointed candidate have to look after?

Read more: Could Lego model builder be the best job in the world?

A desire to spring forward

At its very core, organisational resilience is the ability of a business to anticipate, prepare for, respond and adapt to incremental change and sudden disruptions in order to survive and prosper. An effective organisational resilience officer doesn’t wear a tin hat; they encourage others to embrace risk and opportunity in equal measure by harnessing experience.

Products, processes and people

The remit of an organisational resilience officer needs to be company-wide, working closely with HR, operations and IT. A resilient organisation should be one that is able to identify and make operational improvements across its products, processes and people to meet changing needs. This ranges from how a business treats and shows value in its people to the quality of IT infrastructure. After all, keeping your brightest talent happy and productive is critical to the creation of a sustainable business.

Champion of change outside the business

Supply chain resilience is crucial, not just at the first level, but across suppliers of suppliers. The organisational resilience officer can have greater visibility and control over the full chain, which is best business practice. By doing this, they minimise risk and help protect a business from suffering negative financial and reputational exposure.

Central intelligence

In today’s world, sensitive information needs to be both safeguarded and mined for insight. This requires the organisational resilience officer to work closely with both the chief investment and operating officers to gather, store, access and use information securely and effectively.

The appointment of an organisational resilience officer sends a clear message to the market. No company is immune to stumbling. Those which foster a holistic view of business health and success by making this appointment will help their business not merely survive, but also flourish and pass the test of time.