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Is Chief Resiliency Officer the dream job of tomorrow?
Philip Monaghan, Sustainability Strategist And Author October 3, 2011
If in 2007 you were to tell someone that just four years later we would live in a world where banks are nationalized (to bail out a failed economic system), nature is privatized (to generate new wealth from ecosystem services), and the Middle East was the centre of the universe for democratic revolution (following the Arab Spring), at best you would have been laughed at.

A fast changing, complex world is nothing new. Think about the resurgence of the United States after the first Great Depression with its call to business to help make it so, through to the more recent Sino-African trade arrangements that will help fuel the ongoing rise of the Red Dragon.

Such volatility means anyone interested in sustainable development – business, public sector, or civil society alike – is challenged to ensure that their organization, community, or network is resilient to such changes. That is, having the capability to understand the complex systems you live in and to make smart interventions accordingly. So, when shocks occur – be it food riots or nuclear reactor meltdown threats – you are able to bounce back, learn, and transform.

So what? This means any organizational development strategy of any particular value show now factor in the need for a new set of skills and management frameworks. Offices led by people who thrive in such complex systems. People who are adept at overcoming silos (through charm and through challenge), to work across disciplines and sectors to create shared value. Vice Presidents of CSR, Directors of Environmental Campaigns, or Chief Information Officers at Toyota, Greenpeace, or the State of California may all still be necessary, but no longer sufficient. Thus arise the post of tomorrow – the Chief Resilience Officer – people who are as comfortable with strategizing or community engagement as they would be with a balance sheet or a scientific journal. Leading an office whose responsibilities would relate to ensuring that key leverage points in their organization’s complex system across a host of departments and disciplines are fully utilized in support of its strategy.

Another four years down the line, and who knows, by 2015 the post of Chief Resilience Officer may just be lots of people’s dream job.

About Philip Monaghan

Philip Monaghan is a writer and strategist in the fields of economic development and environmental sustainability. He is the acclaimed author of the books Hard to Make, Hard to Break (out February 2012) and Sustainability in Austerity (2010).



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