They may have reached the top of the corporate ladder through their own determination (and maybe some family connections), but most CEOs are skeptical that their own companies have the drive and persistence it takes to succeed.

A new survey commissioned by the British Standards Institution and conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit found that less than a third of company chiefs believe their firms have "fully embedded resilience practices," a set of business practices that BSI describes as ensuring that a company's systems, products and workers are constantly adapting to provide top-notch service to customers.

In BSI's words, the following are the key components of corporate resilience:

  • Proactive approach – a willingness to adapt before being forced to

  • Dynamic leadership – support from the top of organization to embed process, CEO down

  • Responsiveness to change – a willingness to listen to market needs

  • Strong corporate culture – holistic inclusion and recognition of everyone's responsibility and contribution to the business

  • Keeping focused – possessing a clear vision, purpose and identity

  • Long-term view – avoiding responding solely to short-term financial goals

It's not that the surveyed businesses didn't buy into BSI's formula for success. Eighty-eight percent said that resilience is a priority for their firms, while 80 percent said it was indispensable for long-term growth. And 61 percent said it was a significant competitive advantage.

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