Looking Back: Strengthening Resilience through Taking Stock

Read Time: ~5 min.

Image by Tom Klaus using Be Funky

The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated to many groups and organizations the need for resilience in the face of sudden, unpredictable change.

This is the first in a series on strengthening group and organizational resilience using The Resilience Practice Mix.

In response, Tenacious Change has created The Resilience Practice Mix™ to help our organizational clients understand what is needed to prepare for the next disruption (whether incremental or sudden). The Mix also prepares them to productively manage the change resulting from the disruption once it is underway.

This week we begin a series that examines The Resilience Practice Mix more closely. Let’s start with Looking Back and the value of an Organizational Study.

Looking Back with the help of an Organizational Study supports resilience. It is an opportunity to glean useful lessons from the past and present which can inform future decisions and directions. When disruption occurs again (and it will) some lessons can offer a sense of hope that the organization can weather the challenges while others will be instructive about next steps to manage the changes. However, all lessons are lost when there is no intentional effort to learn them. For this reason, Looking Back is a great start to The Resilience Practice Mix.

An Organizational Study from Tenacious Change includes:

  • Environmental Scan of the remote, industry, and operating environments.
  • Internal Analysis of the organization’s financial, human, and physical resources.
  • Business Strategies Analysis to understand how the organization grows and competes effectively.
  • Implementation assessment to identify and recommend specific actions to help the organization achieve its long-term objectives.
  • Leadership, Structure, & Culture inquiry in order to create an infrastructure that strengthens the organization and moves it toward achieving its vision, mission, and strategic goals.

An Organizational Study can benefit either for-profit businesses or nonprofit organizations. When we do an Organizational Study, we provide findings and feedback in a report. The feedback includes kudos for things that are working well, suggestions on matters of low urgency, recommendations for issues with some urgency and which may be time sensitive, strong recommendations regarding matters of great urgency that are time sensitive, and warnings about issues of great urgency that could put the organization at risk if not addressed.

Whether an organization benefits from Looking Back depends on what they choose to do with the findings and feedback. One organization we worked with on an Organizational Study chose to go a different direction than the one we recommended, particularly with regard to its finances. Within 10 years it was out of business. Would it have made a difference if it had followed our recommendations? No one can know for sure. We do know, though, that its financial strategy didn’t change, and money was a significant factor in its closing.

Another client, however, considered the findings and feedback of its Organizational Study and followed the recommendations we offered. Today it remains a strong, innovative organization that is continuing to grow in national and global impact. Did our work with this organization make the difference? Again, we can’t know for sure, but we do know it grasped on a key recommendation and, to this day, nearly 10 years later, it continues to inform how it thinks about itself and the work it does.

For more information, visit our website and download a free four-page overview of what an Organizational Study includes, what it does, and why it is important if you are wanting to strengthen the resilience of your organization.


Denyer,D. (2017). Organizational Resilience: A summary of academic evidence, business insights and new thinking. BSI and Cranfield School of Management.

Creating a Change Movement is an introduction to the Tenacious Change Approach. It is designed to:

  • Shift key mindsets about community, organizational, and system change.
  • Introduce the principles and core tasks of creating an ownership-based change movement.
  • Improve and strengthen the current practice of people who are already engaged in community, organization, or system change work.
  • Establish a common language and understanding of key ideas and concepts for change makers who want to go deeper by enrolling in a team or organizational learning experience with Tenacious Change.

This is a 4-hour video-based course that includes 10 lessons and a downloadable, fillable journal to capture key ideas from the lessons. The reduced anniversary price is $160, a $235 savings over the original price.

On December 31 we’ll be closing our MailChimp account and distributing the Change It Up! with Tenacious Change newsletter exclusively on Substack. Through that date you’ll receive our newsletter both via MailChimp and Substack. If you wish to stop receiving the newsletter via MailChimp, just click on the “Unsubscribe” link at the end of this email.

Season 1, Episodes 4 & 5 will be live soon! Watch for them this week and next!

In each episode, Lamar and Tom carve out a Third Space where everything can be on the table for open, straightforward, honest, and, yet kind and respectful, inquiry. Getting to Third Space with Lamar & Tom is now available on four podcast platforms: Spotify, iHeartRadio, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, and YouTube Podcasts (if you want to see Lamar & Tom do the podcast).

We hope you’ll listen in or watch, offer comments and suggestions, share links with your friends and colleagues. Thank you in advance for doing that!

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