tricordant team


Nick Richmond


Resilience is critically important not only for people but for organisations too. But how can you build resilience into a slim structure? In 2002 Diane Coutu wrote an HBR article titled, “How Resilience Works.” In the article she talks about 3 characteristics which her research has highlighted as important:

  • Facing Down Reality
  • The Search for Meaning
  • Ritualized Ingenuity

When designing a slim structure your aim isn’t just to cut costs but rather to create a healthier and fitter organisation that is focussed on it’s razor sharp strategy. In my prior blog, titled “Metaphor and the art of designing slim structures” I explored developing a razor sharp strategy which relates to Facing Down Reality. Today I will talk about the 2nd bullet, the search for meaning.

Throughout my career one of my underlying goals is to search out meaning for myself and help others find meaning for themselves. In some of my darkest moments it is this search for meaning in my life which has carried me through. As Viktor E. Frankl, a Holocaust survivor said, “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”

The beating heart within the network of the organisation is the team, this is where the work gets done to deliver the strategy. However to do this we need to understand why the team exists in the first place including its value-add to the organisation’s razor sharp strategy. If a team has an unclear purpose or has a significantly overlapping purpose with other teams then it’s likely that your slim structure could become more resilient.

A simple tool I use to help people design resilient teams, is the Team Design Canvas.

The canvas describes the core set of questions which every team needs to explore, to ensure the team will become resilient, healthy and high performing. Not answering these questions will lead to increased uncertainty, fear, unhealthy competition, politics, confusion over who’s accountable, apathy, scepticism, dependence and resistance.

Do you focus on why or jump straight to what and how when designing? I’ve developed an E-book titled, “The 5 keys to designing slim structures” so if you’re thinking of downsizing, realigning after a cost cutting exercise or maybe refocussing on your more profitable areas then check it out here.

Download E-Book