We first noticed an increased interest in the topic of resilience among Peoplemax clients about three years ago. Since then, it’s continued to grow, to the point where 18 months ago we rolled out a tailored resilience workshop offering.
But, why have we seen this rapid increased interest in the topic of resilience? And what does it mean?
I think it definitely has something to do with the environment in which we all operate - many of today's workplaces are Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA). Of course, this is not always a bad thing! But it does mean that we need a slightly different set of skills to thrive in today’s workplace than we did ten or even five years ago. And it does prompt a couple of important questions about the responsibility of organisations - how well equipped are organisations to deal with this changing environment and how can they best support their people to not only handle it but also excel?
In the VUCA environment, where boundaries are often ill defined, leaders in particular need to be able to deal with the volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity that exists, both inside and outside the business. Leaders drive culture, and culture drives performance.
But resilience isn’t a trait that people either have or don’t have. Rather, building resilience is an ongoing process that requires both time and effort. Someone who is particularly resilient today may not be in the future and the reverse is also true. It’s also not a binary quality, rather it’s best to think about resilience on a continuum - an evolving continuum.
We are fortunate here at Peoplemax that Kath McEwen, who has been a Peoplemax coach for many years, has researched and written extensively on resilience. She has also co-developed the R@W (Resilience at Work) model - a validated psychometric instrument and highly visual model. There are seven different dimensions to the R@W model, which together provide an effective framework to have rich conversations that explore behaviours necessary to build resilience in the workplace.
In most of our resilience workshops we use the R@W model and I find that the value of this approach is that it allows participants to focus on behaviours that they are able to influence themselves – rather than on personality characteristics which are less able to be changed.
I have been fortunate to have run a number of resilience workshops myself over the last few months and I’d like to give you a concrete example to illustrate. One of the seven dimensions in the R@W is “Staying Healthy”. I like to encourage workshop participants to come up with creative ways of how to foster an environment that encourages and supports a more active and healthy workforce. Below are a few suggestions that recent workshop participants have come up with:
- Supply pedometers to employees, enabling them to track and monitor their daily steps
- Encourage employees to take part in fitness challenges, creating healthy internal competition around the physical component of resilience
- Have a weekly supply of fresh fruit in the lunch room to promote healthy eating
- Consider standing in internal meetings, where possible, rather than sitting around a table
- Provide an area where workbenches can be adjusted to a height of the employees’ own choosing
If you would like to hear more about our resilience offerings or the R@W model - please get in touch. We would also love to hear from you in the comments below - why do you think resilience has been growing in importance? What practical suggestions do you have or have already been implemented where you work?
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