Resilience, a Skill for 2000

William Bridges, a leading workplace futurist and authority on change, identifies RESILIENCE as one of the characteristics essential for success in today’s workplace. In his book Job-Shift he defines it as the ability to:

  • Bend, Not Break
  • Learn / Release Old Patterns
  • Bounce Back Quickly
  • Live with High Levels of Uncertainty
  • Find Security Within

I add –

  • Work With Fine-tuned Awareness
  • Take Action with Courage
  • Demonstrate High Responsiveness
  • Find and Focus on What Works

All of these characteristics are vital in the face of change, and most effective when operating in fast-paced, learn-as- you-go or “continuous improvement” environments. Who doesn’t work in some version of such an environment today? Technology and Bio-Pharmaceutical companies must compete with and incorporate leading-edge innovations on a daily basis. Start-up companies must do the same while making up systems and adjusting to the discovery of “best practices,” moment-to-moment. Many traditional companies must discover and match characteristics of new web-based pioneers to hold their place in the market and retain key employees. Myriads of others face the effects of mergers, restructuring, right sizing, and downsizing. The demand of change is fast, furious, and pervasive.

So how do you train associates to instill the qualities of RESILIENCE? This is something I believe Expressively Speaking programs consistently address. Here are some of the things I believe work:

1) Make RESILIENCE a company value. Put it in the values statement, keep it in conversation, catch people doing it effectively and reward it.

2) Through training and dialogue teach principles that yield RESILIENCE. (i.e. Courage, Speaking the Truth, Openness, Focus on Potential, etc.) Root all communication, leadership coaching and training in these principles.

3) Value and teach Awareness and Listening.

4) Value and teach skills for Constructive Conflict.

5) Tie all training into some form of physical practice and discipline. For instance, when you are interrupted with a request, a simple conscious physical shift can significantly increase listening. Movement intensifies learning.

Physical practices may include:

Awareness and use of “Postural Echo,” – (how you use your body signals others AND affects how you perform), also perhaps Applied Kineseology (proven to promote brain efficiency and learning), certainly a strong awareness of the use of BREATHING for centering and increased awareness, and finally, encouraging individuals to find and use an exercise metaphor for transforming energy. Many people already use running, roller-blading, rock-climbing, lifting weights, with a generative focus.

6) Value Openness and keep it fun.

Tie all of the above respectfully, into individual values and personal goals. If you truly honor learning you will naturally demonstrate respect.

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