Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Resiliency ~ We need it more than ever today!

Are you resilient?  Are you able to bounce back from adversity?  Do you thrive on challenges?  Do you act Positive?  Is the glass half-full or half empty?  Today more than any time in the business world, the workplace is full of stressful situations.  Is the company restructuring?  Is my position safe?  Have we kept up with technology?  Will our new product be a success?  The role for management today is to help our employees survive adversity.  We need people today who are resilient, people who can quickly change direction, bounce back and adapt.

Resiliency by definition is the capability to recover or change.  It is much more than getting by.  It is the ability to rise above and perform at the next level.  People who exhibit strong resiliency are the first responders.  They are able to satisfy unhappy clients and act quickly in times of chaos.  Leaders emerge from situations that bring adversity to organizations.  Adversity is also the time when non-leaders are clearly identified!  It is a learned trait, based on life experiences.  The more global one is, the greater the opportunity to learn from adversity.  If you are able to break down the big problem into tiny bites, you will begin to “learn” resiliency.

Consider the following example of a young gymnast.  How does she learn to be a competitive gymnast perhaps an Olympic champion?  Obviously it takes years of practice, years of learning, and years of becoming more “global”.  The “balance beam” exercise is frightening to watch but the gymnasts seem so confident in performing their routines.  They are confident due to the resiliency they have gained from  years of training. The competitive gymnast is performing on a 4 inch plank that is 4 feet above ground.  The length of the board is 16 feet and the routine is timed at no more than 90 seconds.  During that time, that are doing tumbling exercises, leaps and dance skills all on a 4" platform!  The young gymnast does not start at 4 feet in the air...Her skills have been learned by starting out on the ground.  A four inch wide paint line was the first “plank” that they mastered.  Gradually the board was raised over an extended period of time to the final height of 4.07 feet above the floor.  This is how young Olympic gymnastic champions are trained to be resilient.  “Gaining confidence, thriving on challenges, overcoming adversity”.  The same things we can do to learn resiliency in the business world!

I offer the following to help “train” yourself in becoming more resilient.

  • Break down the big problem to smaller parts where you can gain “wins”.  Although the “big problem” may seem out of your immediate control, control those things that you have immediate control over. Often times the small wins enable you to solve the bigger problem facing your business. It also will help you build your confidence. 
  • Review your resources ~ Be observant of those people who are positive, those who do not “cave-in” to adversity. Who do you want to be with when you face adversity?  This is a great time to evaluate your key staff members. 
  • Take ownership & exhibit humility ~ No blaming, take responsibility and work on being accountable!
  • Become Opportunistic ~ One of my blog readers gave me feedback on a recent post on optimism…she responded “I'm an opportunist. While the pessimist and optimist argue about how much water is in the glass, I drank it. :). I teach a concept called confirmation bias that demonstrates your point well.  [This was posted by Nicole Forward in my recent blog]
  • Become a First Responder ~ Take the bull by the horn and do not let circumstances dictate the outcome.  Where there is smoke, there is fire.  Take immediate action and minimize any potentially larger disaster.
  • Look to the future, be a visionary ~ Don’t let setbacks take you down but rather allow them to help you face the future in a stronger manner.  As an example, the gymnast more than likely has suffered many fractures along the way to her champions status.  What if she had given up?  It is through adversity that one’s true character emerges!
  • Keep learning! ~ Always be learning and looking for ways to develop your skill sets.  It is often in troubling times that we learn the most.  The ability to learn from our mistakes, our failures will help us all become more successful.

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