We’re living in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world that continues to change at an unprecedented rate. Take a look around you, the world looks nothing like it did ten years ago. And if you had been asked to predict the socio – political upheavals of the last 12 months, well, I’ll bet that you couldn’t have (and if you had? we would have sat and laughed). The world is changing rapidly and we need to find a way to change with it. Whilst we know much about the importance of individual resilience and it’s impact upon performance, we often miss the uncomfortable truth that even resilient individuals will struggle to thrive in organisations that are designed to stifle rather than support.
Resilience isn’t about grinning & bearing it
Resilience isn’t about gritting your teeth en mass, regularly attempting to power through or large scale organisational suffering. An organisation with that kind of attitude to resilience is heading for a fall. Organisational resilience relies upon systems, procedures and habits that support renewal. It depends upon a culture that recognises renewal walks side by side with sacrifice, that a cycle of sacrifice alone will break rather than build people. If you’re looking for an organisation that manages to work around the clock, is constantly connected and views exhausting hours as a sign of commitment whilst claiming to be resilient, you might as well start looking for a unicorn. Let us know if you find it, the unicorn or the burned out organisation (we think we know which you’ll discover first and it doesn’t have four legs).
Does this mean that you can’t have all hands on deck every now and again? No. The secret of a resilient organisation is to recognise that as well as those tough periods that require extra effort, there needs to be a period of recovery.
Building in recovery:
- Taking regular breaks
- Shifting from high focus to less demanding tasks
- Ensure downtime really is downtime and don’t encourage working late at night
- Consider a tech switch off time (think VW) is it possible to limit or restrict email server use after an agreed time?
- Don’t allow technology to rule your teams. Is it possible to have tech free periods to ensure real downtime?
- Are you able to build cognitive breaks into your working day?
- Reflect on the work life balance of your staff, if it’s all work and no play, seek to address it.
- Encourage managers and teams to create business free times into their lives.
- Remember optimum performance depends upon your organisation’s ability to manage workload, and levels of stress. When the balance is right, your teams will experience flow and perform at their highest level. When it’s out of kilter, they’ll slow down. Remember happy, healthy people are more productive and building resilience into your structures makes sense on every level, including the bottom line.
If you’d like to know more about building a resilient culture or designing a more resilient workplace contact us to find out how at firstname.lastname@example.org Check out our forthcoming events and course brochure. Looking for something more bespoke? We’d love to talk to you about getting the most out of your team by using positive psychology, contact us to find out more.