Resilience in practice: Eight traits
Resilience has become one of the buzz words of the last year. Its not a new concept, but it’s been given additional attention by the government consultation designed to restore trust in corporate governance and the forthcoming requirement for larger companies to report on their resilience.
What does resilience really mean? We believe there are eight characteristics or traits of individuals that demonstrate personal resilience (and it’s easy to see that these also resonate for organisations):
- Recognition and acceptance of reality – whilst some would believe natural optimists are more resilient, research indicates that individuals who consider all consequences and plan for a range of outcomes have more staying power. As we outline below, positivity is a good thing, but it needs to be balanced.
- Sense of purpose – creates a north star when there is doubt or uncertainty. It allows us to dig deep and retain that sense of why we exist that allows us to alter course when its necessary.
- Ritualised ingenuity – not our phrase but one that really sums up the sense of inventiveness and creativity that enables individuals and organisations to be flexible and agile.
- Consciously aware of available options – most CEOs in the US are in post no more than two years, but often reappear soon after in other roles. They do this because they have already considered their options should the worst-case outcomes emerge – and often these outcomes are not so bad.
- Reserves of positivity – like having a strong reputation or building trust, positivity can be built over time through recognising success, however small, and being grateful for the small things. When times get tough you can call on this.
- Connections – provide security when fate turns against you. The stronger your network and partnerships or collaborations, the greater the pool of people who will step in to support you and share the challenges.
- Feedback is a gift – enabling you to continuously improve and address weaknesses before they become catastrophic. Consciously reject the idea that feedback is a personal attack, even when this is your first instinct.
- Know your narrative – be clear on your story, adapt it where necessary, but have the confidence to repeat it and be proud. Your story is the reason for your success and will be the foundation for the future, even where obstacles may be placed in your way.
A phrase that resonates with me is that resilience is “about how you recharge, not how you endure”. Preparing for a wide range of uncertainties and outcomes will leave you with a sense that you can find a way through. The end point may not be where you expected, but that doesn’t mean you are not thriving.