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March 2009

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Hello,

The global financial meltdown is creating upheaval all around. Significant impacts are being felt both in the business domain and in our personal lives. Businesses are laying off long-serving workers, finding it hard getting payment from customers and obtaining credit to keep the business afloat. In the personal realm, you may be facing job loss, your bank may be threatening foreclosure, your children may be on rations, and all of this is probably putting enormous pressure on your relationships. To survive these difficult times, we first need to be able to bounce back from such setbacks. We need resilience. Our article this month explores what resilience is and how we can nurture it in ourselves and the people we lead and manage. We trust that reading it will make a difference to how you and the people around you weather the current economic storm.

Developing Resilience – The Most Important Soft Skill for Hard Times

It’s one of the most important qualities for leaders and managers to have in these turbulent times in which we live and work today. We are living with uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity, paradox and unpredictability. These are the norms. But what is this thing called “resilience” and how do you become a resilient person?

Some would say that it’s just a new buzz word. It is true it is a word that has been used more and more frequently in recent years. It certainly came into its own after 9/11. When it is Googled, 9,060,000 entries come up.

Yet while the word may be “new”, the quality of character embedded in it is far from new. We saw enormous resilience in the people who settled our land, the men who fought our wars, the women who lived, worked and gave birth to their children in the bush.

Resilience is usually associated with the ability to bounce back up after being knocked down, with responding positively and proactively to any adversity.

It is, however, much more than that. Resilience is one of those intangible soft skills that is actually quite a hard skill to develop and sustain. It is easy to list the behaviors that a person needs to engage in to respond resiliently to situations. They usually make perfect sense, but to actually behave that way in the face of challenge and adversity is quite another thing.

That’s because resilience calls for a psychological, inner strength in people. That’s what they draw on to respond. Whether they have that or not, and in what quantity, depends on what their life experience has been up to that time and how they have responded – or been helped to respond.

Some people seem to face constant challenge and adversity and yet meet every situation head on with a proactive determination that sees them move through to new answers and solutions, new ways of being and doing. Other people go through similar situations and become overwhelmed, stressed, even clinically depressed sometimes, and may never recover to lead the lives they want to live. Once again the old nature/nurture debate enters the arena as we ask why.

Resilient people have often endured considerable pain and grown through it. It may be psychological pain that’s seen them wrestle with the inner demons of their personality and become a much better person. It might be the pain of loss and grief that they move through to new beginnings. It might be physical pain or a life-threatening experience that sees them reassess their lives and move in new directions. It may have been a business or professional challenge that threatened their entire future and livelihood, but which they worked through to develop something much more sustainable and productive. They found the way through, found inspiration and motivation, discovered a force, a strength within themselves to rise above it all, dust themselves down and move on with determination and focus.

Life is full of difficulties and challenges. Failure is a given. It is impossible to get through life without being knocked down or have dirt heaped on us sometimes. What determines who will survive and thrive is resilience.

Most who have reached positions of leadership today have considerable resilience. What they often don’t have is an understanding of how they developed it. They are therefore limited in being able to develop it in others. For organizations to survive and thrive in this present economic climate they need to be resilient. Resilient organizations are made up of resilient people who proactively and dynamically respond to challenge and adversity. Leaders need to be able to constantly encourage and support the development of resilience in their people.

So what follows is for those who feel they need to be more resilient. It is also for those leaders and managers who need to coach their people in how to develop resilience.

Click here to read the full article and find out the keys to developing resilience.

About the Author

Maree Harris PhotoMaree Harris PhD has more than 30 years experience helping people grow and develop their professional lives so that they can manage the challenges they and their organizations face. As a leadership development coach and facilitator of professional development training, she is committed to making a difference in people’s lives. Maree achieves this by working with the strengths and resources leaders and managers already possess, taking a proactive approach that is empowering for them. She works from a philosophy that if leaders and managers look after their people, their people will look after their organizations. She therefore works to help them find ways to do that and to develop the people skills they need to both inspire and empower their people in these challenging times. If you feel that you could benefit from Maree’s approach, contact us at office@businessperform.com to arrange a preliminary discussion.

Leading Change in Challenging Times

Change Program Health CheckTo meet the current crisis, your organization –and the people within it– will need to change in many ways. How are the needed changes progressing? Use our complimentary Change Program Health Checklist to assess your progress. This eighteen-point checklist will give you a quick and easy snapshot of where your change program is at and what you need to do to get in back on the rails if it has drifted off course.

Skills Gap WorksheetOnce you have identified the areas requiring improvement in your change program, you will need to assess the skill levels of the people involved. Your change initiative can only get back on track if the people leading, implementing and enabling the change possess the needed skills. For this task, you can use our complimentary Change Role Skills Gap Worksheet. The worksheet helps you identify skill gaps and record action plans for closing those gaps.

Managing Change in the WorkplaceFor more comprehensive help in managing change, we are pleased to offer our valuable newsletter subscribers our popular Managing Change in the Workplace eBook for free. This guide covers every aspect of managing change, including essential principles, managing stakeholders, dealing with resisters, the role of project management, building effective change teams and more. As you work through the guide, you will complete a series of practical exercises that will help you plan and manage your change for maximum impact. Most importantly, the guide is packaged with a bonus separate reusable workbook that you can use time and time again. To obtain your free copy, simply purchase products to the value of US $120 or more from our product catalogue during this month of March and we will send it to you completely free.

If you need assistance with planning or implementing your change initiative, contact us at office@businessperform.com. Experienced consultants are ready to help you make the most of your change program.

Be sure to pass this newsletter on to friends and colleagues who want to stay up with what’s on. From all of us here on the Business Performance team, we wish you a productive month and look forward to communicating with you again soon.


In This Issue
Developing Resilience

About the Author

Leading Change in Challenging Times
 
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