This paper provides a critical analysis and synthesis of insights from the fields of Resilience Thinking, Critical Systems Thinking, Community Operational Research and Development Studies; and presents an operational framework for ‘systemic resilience’. The framework is grounded in strength-based multi-stakeholder processes that explore the framing of ‘resilience of what, to what, for whom, over what time frame’. Insights from Critical Systems Theory and Systemic Intervention demonstrate that rigorous framing of resilience necessarily involves participatory systemic boundary critique and both theoretical and methodological pluralism. This framework has implications for Community Operational Research activities aimed at building community resilience, and a suite of general principles is provided to this end. The Systemic Integrated Adaptation program in Nepal is provided to highlight applications in Community Operational Research, and also to highlight the flexible nature of the framework through the use of novel participatory techniques. Finally, the paper provides a discussion aimed to promote dialogue between the Resilience, Systems Thinking, Community Operational Research and Development communities.