In today’s complex business landscape, organizations may require multiple leaders to build and strengthen resilience. The Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) role is rapidly emerging as a critical strategic position within enterprises. This article provides an overview of the CRO role, the inherent responsibilities, and the value that CROs deliver in terms of bolstering cyber resilience.

What is a Chief Resilience Officer?

The Chief Resilience Officer operates as a senior-level executive. This person is responsible for the development and implementation of strategies that enhance an organization’s capacity to ‘bounce back’ from adverse events. Such adverse events could pertain to cyber security, may relate to environmental catastrophes or could even stem from challenging political circumstances.

The CRO is not only a crisis manager, but also proactive in designing agile, innovative and sustainable means through which organizations can adapt to changes. A Chief Resilience Officer’s primary objective is to prepare for and help an organization navigate through tumult while thriving and continuing to deliver value to stakeholders.

Chief Resilience Officer, key responsibilities

The Chief Resilience Officer has a multi-dimensional role, with responsibilities that are not confined to a single domain. As the first step in a new role, CROs need to conduct comprehensive risk assessments in order to identify possible threats and vulnerabilities that, if pursued by adversaries, could reasonably lead to business continuity problems. Such risk assessments can serve as the foundation for developing risk mitigation and response plans.

In addition, the Chief Resilience Officer works across departments to design resilience strategies and frameworks. Importantly, a Chief Resilience Officer must work with high-level stakeholders to embed resilience thinking into an organization’s culture and to create an ecosystem where people are ready to adapt to whatever’s next.

Further, the Chief Resilience Officer typically monitors and reports on the effectiveness of resilience measures, fine-tuning plans and procedures in a way that maximizes adaptive capabilities.

Chief Resilience Officer, skills and qualifications

In order to be successful, CROs must have a specific set of skills and qualifications. They must be knowledgeable about the industry in which they work and how organizations in said industry typically operate. To identify risk accurately, Chief Resilience Officers need to have strong analytical abilities. Professional communication skills and high EQ interpersonal skills can help CROs engage with colleagues, build partnerships and drive change. Beyond that, the CRO needs to be a strategic thinker, able to innovate, and should be well-versed in emerging trends and technologies that could impact the organization’s resilience. Finally, this person should show a certain degree of resilience themselves; they should be calm under pressure and able to operate in ambiguous, changing circumstances.

Chief Resilience Officer, why it matters

As organizations contend with increasing volatility, the role of the Chief Resilience Officer may prove indispensable. The Chief Resilience Officer functions as a bridge between risk management, strategic planning and operational execution, ensuring that resilience is embedded into projects, processes, frameworks and mindsets.

By fostering a culture of resilience, a Chief Resilience Officer assists an organization in remaining competitive, agile and responsive to emerging issues. The CRO helps ensure the integrity of an organization’s reputation, and in turn increases financial stability and long-term business growth prospects.

Further thoughts

In our rapidly evolving physical and digital worlds, the Chief Resilience Officer can serve as a key asset for an organization. This individual integrates resilience into an organization’s DNA. As a result, everyone is better able to navigate through uncertainty, embrace opportunities, thrive and collaboratively attain new heights of business success.

For more cyber security leadership insights, please see CyberTalk.org’s past coverage. Lastly, subscribe to the CyberTalk.org newsletter for executive-level interviews, analyses, reports and more each week. Subscribe here.