Developing Resilience - Putting it into practice.

Initially posted on Net E-Learning on 15 October

Yesterday's CIPD Resilience Conference was followed up by a workshop today, called 'Building Resilience During Constant Change to Sustain Organisational Performance'. They could both stand independently, but today was a natural follow on, facilitated by Lynne Donaldson (@lindonaldson). I think that whilst yesterday covered the evidence and business case followed by lots of examples of well-being initiatives, today, we did get into the practicality of how resilience can be developed for individuals and for organisations, where VUCA is the new normal, and for occasions where organisations face sudden, unexpected turbulence.

There were about 16 of us there from a really diverse range of organisations, from large, traditional public sector, to commercial household names and medium sized third sector. One of the great things about the day was (as is every facilitator's dream) people's willingness to share experiences and learning in a respectful way. Despite the differences in our backgrounds and organisations, there were many more similarities in what we thought was important to support and develop individual and organisational resilience.

Skilled, effective management and leadership was a recurring theme along with authentic, honest and transparent communication.

To pretty much every  change scenario we examined, leadership and appropriate communication were top of the list when action planning. Common changes we discussed were changes to government policy - some quite sudden, such as the new National Minimum Wage, others concerned changes affecting service users such as housing association tenants and Universal Credit. Pretty much all of us had experienced CEO or leadership changes, bringing new styles or changes in priorities and the uncertainty this can bring for the workforce.

We worked through Lynne's Building Resilience through Capability Model. This is a very useful model, easy to apply, with a checklist for measuring your organisational resilience and another for measuring the gaps. Importantly, this is not new stuff, covering strategy, alignment, agility, planning and foreseeing, governance, metrics, talent development etc. But what I think is a great take away is that these have all been put together here as the essential components of a resilient organisation. It's all stuff we are or should be doing anyway and thus should be 'easy' to work through with colleagues/the leadership team...

In the afternoon, we worked in groups through a developing scenario. Initially, we identified the short and long term people issues for an organisation that has gone through a lot of change and has to deliver in a challenging environment. Our top, broad themes were trust, engagement strategy and brand. The group I was in focussed on trust. Our brief was communication from the perspective of an individual in the organisation when something has gone wrong. I was struck, though I really shouldn't be, again by the similarities of our approaches despite such different organisational backgrounds. Authenticity, honesty, no 'bullshit', consistency, no dodging difficult questions, involving people were all discussed and much more...

Anyway, I won't divulge any more, except to say that the way the scenarios developed felt real and relevant and this sustained a high level of contribution throughout the day.


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