Among the interesting sessions at last week’s fantastic Discovery Day was one from Ann Pemberton on the topic of resilience, which gave us a brief overview of this fascinating topic from the perspective of nine specific areas, including Determination, Vision, Time, Mind and Body.
At the end of her session, Ann gave us a questionnaire, which we were able to use to assess and reflect on our own behaviours and, dutifully, I completed the questions on my return to work.
I’ve always considered myself extremely resilient, so the results, which showed my areas of strength weren’t as strong as I expected, surprised me. I thought I’d be ‘off the chart’ in areas such as Vision and Determination – I wasn’t.
Armed with my results, I reflected on the questions again and, in particular those where I’d given myself relatively low scores. It was an interesting exercise because I could see that, in some areas, my scores had been impacted by wider events in the country over which I feel I have little control or influence.
Whilst nothing has changed professionally, on a personal level I’m less clear about what the future holds and the direction I want to take than I was a few years ago. And it’s difficult to be determined to get somewhere, when you’re not certain where ‘somewhere’ is!
What was really interesting was how this uncertainty had even impacted on areas like energy and my enjoyment of uncertainty. It seems I only like uncertainty when I’ve initiated it!
I think there are two important lessons for me to take away from this exercise:
Lesson 1: It’s important to be aware of the impact change can have on the people around us. It’s more difficult for our teams to maintain resilience if they are in a permanent state of flux, with no clear goal. People will feel more able to handle change resiliently if they understand and believe in a shared goal, and if they feel empowered and have some control over the journey.
Lesson 2: Judging by the requests we’ve had through Design Coach, Resilience is a really hot topic at the moment. At a time when, in the UK, we’re facing political upheaval and major change - and even re-evaluating our position in the world and our core values – that’s perhaps not surprising.
For me, the exercise was an important reminder that our workplaces are not cocoons and that people’s resilience to change isn’t just impacted by what we do, but what’s happening beyond the office walls too. The small change that we introduce, when coupled with things happening in our people’s lives beyond work, might just be the straw that moves them from ‘pressure’ to ‘stress’, so we should never overlook the need to help equip our people with the skills to be resilient.
Until next time...
p.s., As you'd expect, there are some great materials on resilience in Trainers’ Library. Do get in touch if you'd like to know more about those.