Uncertainty and Resilience

Updated: Nov 1, 2019

We often only think of Resilience as the ability to bounce back, it's more than that, it's about navigating uncertainty. Now that's something we could all use in this ever-changing world we live in.


“Because sometimes things happen to people and they are not equipped to deal with them” ~ The Hunger Games


What is Resilience and why is it so important?


Here is how W. Hammond described resilience: "Resiliency is the capability of individuals to understand and creatively draw upon their internal and external strengths, resulting in effective coping with challenges and significant adversity in ways that promote health, wellness and an increased ability to respond constructively to future adversity."


The key take away for me in this quote:

- Internal AND External STRENGTHS

- Increased ability to respond CONSTRUCTIVELY to FUTURE adversity

The greatest enemy of resilience and transformation it would seem, is people’s relationship to the past/betrayal and hence the four most common barriers to resilience are:

- Projecting the past into to present

- Forgetting about personal responsibility

- Avoiding current reality

- Holding on to bitterness


These barriers take effort to overcome on an individual level, in an organisation it takes much more. In addition to this there are likely some skill building that can be done as well.


How do you build resilience skills in yourself and others?


Part of the way forward is to do a 'reset', yes like with your phone or computer only it takes more effort and commitment. Some things to remember about resetting are that it's not about minimising or justifying actions nor does it mean a peaceful resolution. It's about discarding all previous continuity and starting anew - letting go, taking responsibility, accepting the current reality and looking at things in the current context.


How exactly do you 'reset' an organisation?

- Make sure you have a really compelling 'vision' of what you want to change and why

- Communicate it in a variety of ways - stories, data etc. and tell it from multiple viewpoints (company, team, individual etc.) to evoke emotion and commitment

- Reframe the current reality, we don't all see things the same way

- Find the new territory in the present situation to break the hold of the past

- Accept that not everyone will be ready to 'reset' at the same time

- Move people toward action

- Help people identify their strengths and show them how they can use them in new situations


Skills that are important to resilience are:

- Communication: listening, empathy, articulating thoughts, conveying emotion in a constructive way, asking good questions

- Problem Solving

- Networking and Relationship building

- Coping skills like handling stress, managing time, setting goals and planning, decision making


Optimism is a key characteristic of resilient people. They don't believe things are permanent, pervasive or personal. How can you use this knowledge in communications? You could just 'say it' but that wont make it so in the mind of pessimists. Being able to ask questions that challenge (in a supportive way) or test the hypothesis and/or reframing are useful ways to help people think differently.


“Success is achieved by developing our strengths, not by eliminating our weaknesses” ~ Marilyn vos Savant


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