In a blog posted on 1 October 2007, A Fuel Gauge for Resilience, Dr. Maurice A. Ramirez provides the following definition of resilience:
The concept of avoiding disaster and catastrophe relates directly to the ability to maintain sufficient resilience that needs never exceed resources and that needs never exceed the ability to respond. Physical, emotional, relationship and spiritual resilience are well known as the four categories in which resources are mapped to ensure survival through adversity in business and in life.
I find the notion of resilience being the state in which needs never exceeds resources and that needs never exceed the ability to respond to be an interesting one. It certainly could be an end state that individuals and organizations strive to achieve.
The first part of that statement seems to be the easiest (but not easy) to achieve: balancing needs and resources. Businesses and individuals are constantly faced with either increasing resources to meet their needs or reducing the needs to live within the available resources. The challenge comes when either the needs are not fully known or are underestimated, or if the resources expected to be there are not or are overestimated. Thus operating in a balanced state of resource needs/availability would logically seem to indicate a level of resilience.
The second part seems to be a bit more of a challenge: ensuring needs never exceed the ability to respond [to a disaster or crisis]. The underlying assumption is that the individual or business truly understands what is needed to respond to anticipated and unanticipated eventualities. This is true in normal daily bumps and problems, but disaster and catastrophic events are another story. But achieving this state of balance between needs and the ability to respond to those needs also logically seems to indicate a level of resilience.
I interpret Dr. Ramirez's definition of resilience to encompass a consideration of balance. If my interpretation is consistent with what he intended, I agree with that notion. The next step then is to assess and measure the needs, resources, and ability to respond. Then one can determine how in or out of balance they are, and thus how resilient the individual or organization is at that point in time.