Reputation tops list of business priorities

Global survey finds that respondents rate supply chain as their least resilient element

Protecting reputation tops business leaders list of priorities, ahead of financial achievements and business leadership, according to the world’s first benchmark of Organizational Resilience published today by BSI.

The study found that reputation is seen as the most important element to the long term success of the business, even more than financial aspects, leadership and vision and purpose. Despite this, 43% of those interviewed as part of the global study, believed their organization was strongly susceptible to reputational risk. 

1,250 senior leaders of organizations across the globe participated in the study, which covered ten sectors across three regions: UK and Ireland, USA and Asia Pacific. 

The magnitude of reputational risk was found to vary by geography. Globally 62% rate their organization’s current reputation as excellent or very good, but this figure rises to 75% in the US and falls to 55% and 56% in the UK and Ireland and Asia Pacific respectively.

Out of the 16 elements that make up Organizational Resilience, the study found that the most and least important are:

Most important

  1. Reputational Risk
  2. Financial Aspects
  3. Leadership
  4. Vision and Purpose
  5. Information and Knowledge Management

Least important

  1. Horizon Scanning
  2. Alignment
  3. Community Engagement
  4. Culture
  5. Adaptive Capacity 

The study also investigated how these elements ranked in terms of perceived performance. It found:

Highest performing

  1. Financial Aspects
  2. Alignment
  3. Leadership
  4. Vision and Purpose
  5. Governance and Accountability

Worst performing

  1. Supply Chain
  2. Innovation
  3. Horizon Scanning
  4. Information and Knowledge Management
  5. Awareness, Training and Testing 

Howard Kerr, Chief Executive at BSI, commented: “In today’s volatile and uncertain world, understanding what it takes to survive and thrive is tougher than ever. It is encouraging that business leaders understand that success is measured by more than market share, with trust and reputation clearly seen as critical to long-term success.

“However, our culture of instant communication means that reputations can be destroyed in minutes. This makes it particularly concerning that only 62% of respondents rated themselves as very good or excellent when it came to proactively building their reputation.”

Supply Chain was perceived as the least resilient of the elements. The research found this to be largely as a result of senior business leaders feeling less in control of supply chain processes, as they reside outside of their organization. This places an onus on leaders to focus on maintaining the proper procedures to ensure their supply chains are as visible as possible, whilst using governance frameworks to maintain the highest ethics within their supply chain.

Horizon Scanning was identified as the least important aspect of resilience, with one third believing their organizations are average to poor at horizon scanning. This is the case for businesses of all ages, where a lack of processes and systems mean that organizations are unable to learn from past events, understand potential threats, and make the changes they need to.

Kerr concluded: “The challenges identified by our report cannot be addressed with quick and easy fixes, and Organizational Resilience has no finishing line. Instead, weaknesses should be tackled through a process of continual improvement. Past prosperity is no guarantee of future success, and it is only by embedding this kind of culture that organizations will be able to master resilience.

“We hope the BSI Organizational Resilience Index provides the inspiration for more firms to embark on this process and reassess whether they measure up to industry best practice across their operations.”

 In order to read the report and benchmark your organisation, click here.

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Notes to Editors:

Report methodology

The BSI Organizational Resilience Index surveyed 1,263 senior executives from organizations in 10 sectors (aerospace, automotive, the built environment, energy, finance, food, healthcare, manufacturing, professional services, telecoms/IT). The study was conducted across three regions (UK and Ireland, US and Asia Pacific: Australia, Japan, China and India).

Respondent profile by organization revenue

31% - $250 million or less

40% - Between $251 million and $750 million

15% - Between $751 million and $1 billion

15% - More than $1 billion

The survey was conducted in the first half of 2017.