Resilience is a virtue essential to growth and key to happiness and success. More than education, more than experience, more than training, resilience determines who succeeds and who fails. It’s true whether you are a political figure, in the cancer ward, chairman of the board, a “C” level executive, an athlete, or a front line worker facing demands and pressures of an unrelenting workplace. (Adapted from a quote in Harvard Business Review by Dean Becker.)
We’ve all had experiences that called on us to be resilient. Perhaps you have been challenged with illness, loss, change or a life threatening situation. How did you respond? Were you able to maintain a calm focus or did you lose control? How quickly did you recover or bounce back from the disruption? Were you stronger and wiser as a result of the experience?
Resilience is the ability to stay calmly focused and optimistic. Rather than get swept up in reactive behavior when we are faced with adversity, we remain consistent with who we are committed to being and how we’re committed to being known. Resilient people and organizations have an innate strength and perseverance that enables them to prevail in any circumstance.
Take for example how the city of New Orleans recovered from the disastrous effects of hurricane Katrina. With over 50 levee failures and numerous levee breaches causing severe flooding in 80% of the city, the death toll and structural damage caused widespread devastation. In 2015, the 10 year anniversary of Katrina, the city of New Orleans unveiled a Resilience Strategy to confront its most urgent threats. The strategy proposes actions to adapt to the changing natural environment, create flexible and reliable systems, and prepare for future shocks.
Just like cities and countries are vulnerable to external circumstances, so are organizations.
Does your organization have a resilience strategy? How will you respond to disruption, change or adversity?