Resilience – both personal and organizational – is becoming a hot business topic. Time magazine published a fascinating article recently titled “The Science of Bouncing Back” about personal resilience. The article discussed the idea that people are continuously battered by so many pressures these days that their ability to bounce back from stress and negative experiences has become increasingly important. The article goes on to discuss the research on resilience and the things that someone can do to build personal resilience. Coincidentally, in the last few months, we have developed several change and transformational leadership programs in which the star leaders included sections on building “change resilience” in their organizations (some actually use the word resilience). What the leaders mean by this is that organizations are getting bombarded by so much change (a huge stressor) that becoming more resilient really helps the organization prosper in the long run. By combining the Time article and our work with star leaders, we begin to see a pattern. Here are the 10 things the Time article said build personal resilience and how we align with them: 1. Develop a core set of beliefs that nothing can shake. Cerebyte: This is our purpose statement and what our work is all about. 2. Try to find meaning in whatever stressful or traumatic thing has happened. Cerebyte: This is our drive for consciously making people uncomfortable (increasing stress levels) and then teaching them how to use reflection to process that feeling into meaningful positive learnings. 3. Maintain a positive outlook. Cerebyte: Everything we do is about finding a purpose and doing things right, which is why we don’t like assessments. 4. Take cues from someone who is especially resilient. Cerebyte: Our star leaders provide these. In our own programs we actually have tasks that teach people how to identify and emulate someone who is particularly resilient. 5. Don’t run from things that scare you. Face your fears head on. Cerebyte: The entire Cerebyte Experience practices this. 6. Be quick to reach out for support when things go haywire. Don’t wait for things to go wrong before you build support. Cerebyte: This is a standard part of our action learning groups. 7. Learn new things as often as you can. Learn how to be a proactive self-directed learner. Cerebyte: This is a big part of what we do. 8. Find an exercise regimen that you can actually stick to. Cerebyte: We don’t include this in the Cerebyte Experience, but we probably should include it. 9. Don’t beat yourself up or dwell on the past. Look to the future. Cerebyte: We also encourage our participants to look to the future. 10. Recognize what makes you uniquely strong and own it. Cerebyte: People always tell us they feel strong and empowered after participating in our programs. They also say it’s a transformational experience in which they recognize their vast capabilities. It’s very exciting for us when we see how much our program naturally produces individual resilience. Now let’s take this newfound knowledge one step further and apply it to all organizations. At the simplest level, if you have many people building individual resilience, you will build organizational resilience. We have seen this in organizations where many of that company’s employees have gone through one of our programs. Each of these ideas can be applied at an organizational level:
- – Purpose can be collectively defined for the organization
- – Thinking and being positive – cued by resilient leadership – can easily become part of a culture
- – Self-directed learning can be taught and can also be part of a culture
- – Social support mechanisms can be consciously developed – though it does need to be taught
- – Using reflection to process information is a question of allocating time and knowing how to do it.