‘Resilience is an individual’s ability to go through constant change, high impact change, using the change experience as an opportunity to grow’.
Early 2017 I was captivated by the topic of resilience. I participated in a global conference and learned how enhancing resilience amongst employees had supported organizations going through change. Truly an AHA moment! Why? Because I had been experiencing the impact of change amongst my peers, group, function and organization. Could enhancing employees resilience support them navigating more swiftly today’s VUCA environment?
I was determined to bringing this discovery to my workplace, the aim would be to train and coach employees to enhance their resilience and thereby thrive in an agile and ever changing working environment.
At the time I was reading ‘The Power of Intention’ from Wayne Dyer, and he explained the importance of being clear on the ‘ why’ . Why did I want to invest my time and energy on this topic? what was my intention?.
Motivated by the essence of this book I wrote my intention in a blank piece a paper.
By mid 2017 I co-created a program that piloted to 350 employees with great results measured with qualitative and quantitative data. This pilot would shift later to an initiative across Basel of more than 1500 employees and still going.
That same year I started coaching on the topic of resilience, kicked-off my studies as co-active coach, and accumulated more than 200 hours in individual and group coaching.
This 2 year journey reached its climax when I collaborated with the Agency of Migration in Costa Rica for the United Nations, the main site for Latinoamerica, tailoring a program on how best to navigate VUCA and enhance inner strength for their employees.
Today, that white piece of paper with my intention has been framed and hanged up in my home office, it reminds me of the power of a clear intention.
Are you clear of your intention prior initiating a project or initiative?
What do you really care about?
What is your intention?
Safety, Trust and Being Agile
An unforeseen discovery when coaching individuals and groups was that at the workplace addressing resilience takes corague and is hindered by shame, therefore its foundational to create safe environments where hard, challenging and candid conversation can happen.
A term that Amy Edmondson defines as psychological safety.
Also teams trust plays a core role in overcoming constant change and challenges within today’s environment.
And finally, there was an inevitable link between resilience and being agile, which is a mindset, a way of being, that is flexible, fast and in-flow. An interdependence, a co-existence was evident
Can you imagine someone being flexible, and fast but not able to cope with change?
All areas open doors to new worlds of leadership development, I wanted to measure it, and explore how to create and/or enhance.
- How could a leader create safety?
- How can leaders see agile, speak agile and behave agile?
- How could a team become high performing by accelerating the speed of trust?
We all experience VUCA
The surprising reality is that the organization I work for is one of many living in times of VUCA, every person I talk to feels the increasing waves of change that digitalization, disruption, economy and many other factors have played in today’s working environment.
Personally, if someone would ask me, what environment do you thrive most?, or get more energy from?, is exactly the VUCA environment.
Why do I get energized working with teams in high complexity and ambiguity? Because this environment is very familiar to me. Growing up exposed to constant change, my parents would move every year or 2 to different locations.Also, early in my childhood my father was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Every day felt like living a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world. I learned intuitively to focus my energy on what I could influence and accept my reality, both traits are foundational to resilience.
It made sense when reading Harvard Business Review Emotional Intelligence Collection, described ‘Academic research into resilience started 40 years ago with pioneering studies by Norman Garmezy, now a professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. After studying why many children of schizophrenic parents did not suffer psychological illness as a result of growing up with them, he concluded that a certain quality of resilience played a greater role in mental health than anyone had suspected’.
Therefore, if you or your team is challenged by constant change or/and the demands of the VUCA environment, you are not alone. Start by understanding your current reality or/and the teams main concerns and feelings, to later shift to what are the opportunities?, and how best to move from feelings of helpless or/and overwhelmed to choosing consciously?
Regain the authorship of your journey!