THURSDAY THOUGHTS! - Can resilience be developed?

Posted by | June 13, 2013 | Thursday Thoughts | 2 Comments

resilienceInteresting question this week.  Building more resilient individuals and teams rests at the heart of an organisation development programme so it seemed timely to look at it in more detail.  The paradox of resilience is that at our worst times we can become our very best.  It is forged through adversity and not despite it.

So investing in the ability to overcome setbacks and absorbing any learning offered by those setbacks quickly, and with minimum personal cost is of vital importance. We need to develop an inner state of readiness, the capacity to bend and absorb shocks and stresses, to counter those stresses by transitioning back and then to reform our new state of readiness which has absorbed the learning from that shock.

It therefore follows that there are increasing levels of resilience from that which offers a change of approach or working, to that where a person transforms an extreme challenge into an opportunity and thereby achieves good outcomes from the setback even in the face of extreme loss.

So whether we know it or not, rest assured that we all possess an internal resilience engine.  The challenge is to keep it healthy AND to learn from it’s various deployments into one or another setback.  Our very own engines all have a simple 2+7+1 menu of:

  • 2 beliefs:  a belief in our purpose in life at that given time, plus a belief in our own judgement;
  • 7 attitudes: the combination of these is critical for the highest level of resilience;
  1. takes full responsibility for self, own actions and reactions;
  2. doesn’t dwell, forgives when necessary, moves on;
  3. doesn’t take oneself too seriously.  Humanity and self deprecating humour;
  4. Is optimistic;
  5. Is grounded and pragmatic;
  6. Has high levels of independence and independent judgement;
  7. values others and their opinions.
  • 1 element of self acceptance: we need to know ourselves deeply, and accept our strengths, gremlins and blind spots.

Self development is possible across all these components and any great OD Plan will incorporate them in one way or another.  We can help of course, so if you are interested, ring us on 01550 720902 or 07932 641313 to discuss further.

In the meantime, as a leader, consider this: How can you build strong relationships that forge resilient organisations?


Stephen M.R. Covey, says, “Relationship trust is all about behaviour … consistent behaviour.” (From: “The Speed of Trust.” Today, seven years after publishing, it’s still #2 in Business-Life, Ethics, on Amazon.)

Covey explains 13 behaviors common to high-trust leaders:

  1. Talk straight. Let people know where you stand. Use simple language.
  2. Demonstrate respect. Genuinely care and show it.
  3. Create transparency. Tell the truth in a way that can be verified. Err on the side of disclosure.
  4. Right Wrongs. Apologise quickly. Make restitution where possible.
  5. Show loyalty. Give credit freely. Speak about people as if they were present.
  6. Deliver results. Don’t overpromise and underdeliver. Don’t make excuses.
  7. Get better. Thank and act on feedback.
  8. Confront reality. Take issues head on, even the “undiscussibles.”
  9. Clarify expectations. Disclose, reveal, discuss, validate, renegotiate if needed, don’t violate, expectations.
  10. Practice accountability. Take responsibility for results. Be clear on how you’ll communicate.
  11. Listen first. Don’t assume you know what matters most to others.
  12. Keep commitments. Make commitments carefully. Don’t break confidences.
  13. Extend trust. Extend trust abundantly to those who have earned it. Extend trust conditionally to those who are earning it.

How many of these would someone else put your name against right now?  Collectively, these behaviours will help your organisation absorb shocks, bounce back and be stronger and more resilient in the future.  These behaviours should be the cornerstones of your management team.  They take time to develop so take the first step in helping them become “the way you do things” by ringing us on 01550 720902 or 07932 641313

Sharon Davidson on EmailSharon Davidson on FacebookSharon Davidson on LinkedinSharon Davidson on TwitterSharon Davidson on Wordpress
Sharon Davidson
Organisational development professional specialising in personal, team and whole organisation improvement. Full range of OD tools and techniques available including: Belbin team role analysis; learning style inventories; 360 degree feedback; cultural assessments; personality psychometrics; strategic planning and workshop facilitation. (This list is not exhaustive!)

Improvement is everyone's concern: +44 1550 720902 will start that process today.


  • Peggy Edwards says:

    I see myself in most of those 7 attitudes, but not all (too much red in me i guess), so another area to concentrate upon. I see my mentor in all the areas of high trust leaders and that is something I would aspire to.

  • Aresko says:

    That’s great! So you are agreeing that resilience can indeed be developed over time then?

Leave a Reply