The Importance of Resilience

Our need for resilience

We’ve spent a lot of time over the last couple of years talking to our clients and our network about resilience and it's not hard to understand why.

A recent study on reactions to the current global economic crisis highlighted the range of reactions and depth of emotions that are stirred up by the uncertainty we all currently face.  At the same time, the study, by the American Psychological Association, suggested that people have the ability to "bounce back" in even the most challenging situations.  But the quality that enables this to happen is not a simple one to define, or develop.

Our level of resilience appears to be the result of a combination of our genetic make up, our upbringing and experiences, and our own desire to improve.

Whilst looking into this area we came across a number of interesting thoughts and ideas.

  • A piece of research on the impact of  "licking" on rats http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/epigenetics/rats/ which supports what many will instinctively feel, that our level of anxiety is related to the treatment we receive as children

  • The work of Andrew Shatté, and the 7 factors for developing individual resilience.  Some of his thoughts can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iUs3ZEBDjo

  • The enduring value of Stephen Covey's work, and in particular his ideas on focusing on what we can control, rather than becoming preoccupied with what we can't control.

  • The work of Bruce Robertson and Cary Cooper, on the opportunities organisations have to create environments which allow employees to cope more effectively with the changes that take place at work

What to work on

Our view on resilience is that we do have the power to increase our ability to bounce back.  It can take time and effort, but there are specific aspects we can work on:

  • Our mindset

  • Our energy levels

  • Our communication

  • Our focus

In working on these areas, in creating a positive mindset, in ensuring we have sufficient energy, in communicating with the right people in the right way, and in focusing on what's important, and what we have control over, we can increase our resilience.

It's not easy, but it's a hugely satisfying challenge, and one we relish taking on with the people with whom we work.