Resilience is Key in Times of Rapid Change

Resilience is Key in Times of Rapid Change

Rapid change is becoming the norm.  Just when we think things are about to settle down, regimes change, the Dow drops 350 points, a breakthrough technology is unveiled and/or a key executive becomes ill and steps down.  For some this change is overwhelming.  For others, it is just part of game, and they become energized by the new challenges now before them.

The difference between the two groups lies in their levels of resilience. Those who are more resilient choose to view the change as an opportunity. They spend their time and energy trying to figure out how to exploit the change, rather than fight it. They adapt by trying new moves so they can recover quickly and spring back into action. 

Daryl Conner, in Managing at the Speed of Change, suggests that there are five basic characteristics of resilient people.  They:

  1. Display a sense of security and self-assurance that is based on their view of life as complex, but filled with opportunity (Positive).
  2. Have a clear vision of what they want to achieve (Focused).
  3. Demonstrate a special pliability when responding to uncertainty (Flexible).
  4. Develop structured approaches to managing ambiguity (Organized).
  5. Engage change rather than defend against it (Proactive).
(Daryl R. Conner, Managing at the Speed of Change – p.238.)
 
Although some of these characteristics speak to our outlook on life, most reflect a concerted, proactive attempt to see opportunity in change. 
 
So what can we do? We can work on becoming more resilient. Just as we do stretching or Pilates to keep our bodies limber, we can do a number of things to keep our attitudes limber thereby become more resilient when dealing with change. To begin we can: 
  1. Take some deep breaths. Get more exercise and more sleep. Eat healthier. Get our bodies in better working condition.
  2. Start to view change as a process, not an either-or-situation.
  3. Avoid “catastrophizing”.  That is, don’t automatically assume that the worst will happen. Consider that change that may bring benefits we had never considered.
  4. If the change starts to feel overwhelming, focus on seizing the minute or the day and let things begin to play out. Tomorrow we can deal with tomorrow.
  5. Spend some time each day doing something you enjoy and can control such as cooking, reading, running or creating something new.
  6. Embrace change as a new way to learn and grow.
Given that rapid change is becoming the norm, we can all benefit by systematically working at becoming more resilient. 
Sallie Sherman is the CEO of S4 Consulting. She is an expert in helping organizational leaders transform the way they approach critical B2B relationships and implement the complex changes needed to manage those relationships as strategic assets. Sallie has written two books.