Resilience Part 1: What do we mean?

Do you like “Resilience” as a term? And recognise the need to “build resilience” in yourself and in your team? Some people don’t like the word…

The traditional definition is usually something like this:

Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.

The trouble is, this has a tendency to set us in a “victim” mindset. The implication is that work and life are full of setbacks and nastiness, that we need to be ready for. It primes our subconscious thinking that things will be tough. Thus making it more likely they will be.

So lets look at it another way.

Slightly reframed definition:

Resilience is the capacity to recognise the majority of difficulties as normal, and the possession of a mindset and collection of approaches to handle complexity and challenge positively and pro-actively.

So for me…

Building resilience is about setting your mindset away from “victim” (by recognising that complexity and challenge are normal) and towards a “responsibility” to deploy best effort to sort things out as they arise.

Building resilience is about recognising where you are on a sickness-wellness-fitness continuum in terms of your underlying mental health, your physical wellbeing, and your capacity for engaging with complicated issues. And taking steps to move yourself towards, or keep yourself in, the “fitness” end of the spectrum.

Building resilience is about prioritising your efforts, ensuring you have time and space to handle trouble when it arises and that you make time for the things that make you you.

Building resilience in your team is about noticing where people are in terms of all of the above, supporting them while they think about themselves in these terms and providing whatever help you can as they implement strategies to improve.

These are the things I’m going to write about in this series.

Part 2 coming soon…

Where is your power zone?

In a conversation with a colleague last week, I touched on an idea from Jim Collins’ Good to Great. A brilliant book about what effective leadership really looks and feels like.

Collins talks about identifying your organisation’s “hedgehog concept” – the one thing that your business can be the best in the world at, which is defined by the intersection of three things. Your passions, your expertise and the driver of your economic engine.

I think this idea is really helpful for individuals too, in identifying where you can make the most impact. I just change the words just a little bit.

power-zone

What are you passionate about? What do you love about your work?

Where does your expertise lie? What can you be REALLY good at?

What does the market want? Where “market” is defined by your role and might be no more complicated than “your employer” or “your organisation”, but could also be real stakeholders or customers. So… What is it about your unique skills, understanding and insight that is truly valuable to your “market”?

For me, the intersection of the answers to these questions is your Power Zone. It is where you can really make a difference, whatever your role.

We can sometimes let ourselves take on things that we’re passionate about and expert in, but that aren’t at the core of what our markets need. This can be good for the soul, but if we do it too much we are missing the chance to make a real tangible difference. And our bosses will wonder why they’re paying us for having our own fun at the expense of their priorities.

We all get drawn into doing things that the market wants and we are expert in, but if we’re not truly passionate about them we will struggle to sustain meaningful effort and eventually grow weary.

This way of thinking is really useful when you’re trying to develop vision and mission statements, for yourself or your team. And for helping set your priorities.

Lots of stuff in the “urgent but not important” quadrant in the Eisenhower Matrix is stuff that the market wants that you’re expert in.

If you can make time to pull yourself towards the power zone, by delegating the stuff that you’re less passionate about, you’ll enjoy your work more, and make more of an impact.

Moments to review and reset

My job is in higher education. Lots of things are tied to an academic year schedule. There’s a rhythm to it that’s helpful. 

Because it gives natural opportunities to assess and reset. 

Whatever your role, wherever you are in the hierarchy, it’s really important to regularly look at your priorities, your plans and your progress. To review the internal and external context. And ask yourself…  

What’s changed? 

What’s finished? 

What’s started?

Do your priorities still make sense? Or has the world moved on?

Are your plans delivering what you thought they would? And is what you thought then still relevant?

So… When is your next opportunity to review and reset? 

Take a moment to identify one to four slots in the year that makes sense with your organisation’s flow of activity and block out a little time to make sure you, and your colleagues, are on the right track.