Adaptability is one of the key foundation stones for engaging with and managing change. Resilient individuals can embrace ambiguity and change whether the change is disruptive, strategic or slow-burn. They also anticipate the need for change early, and so can align resources as appropriate proactively.
To execute change well takes learning new ways of thinking and being, to see things from different perspectives and to be able to focus on what is important – ‘to see the wood for the trees’. You need to have capacity for all of that, so you need to be resilient.
If your resilience is low in the situation at the time, you won’t have the resources required to learn, adapt or anticipate change. The knock-on effect of the inability to step back and take stock can then result in feelings of ‘Overwhelm‘ and deplete your resilience further. It becomes a downward spiral which can lead to presenteeism.
Presenteeism is when people come to work but they are too stressed or not well enough to function effectively. Professor Sir Cary Cooper (University of Manchester & National Forum for Health & Wellbeing At Work) speaking at the HSE Stress Summit 2017, said:
Change often comes about because it’s necessary for future success. But there is a puzzle about change. There is a maxim: ‘no-one likes change‘. This is often said for example, in organisations who then spend a huge effort in helping managers and leaders ‘Manage Change’. Yet in those same workplaces, people want things to be different.
With high resilience there will be more connection to meaning and balancing the meaning in any change with meaning in other areas of life. Energy is managed well and combined with the resourcefulness that comes with resilience, this gives the adaptability to respond positively and constructively to the demands of change.
And then there are those with the highest Resilience. They embrace change as entirely natural, normal, and without stress. And they ‘do’ change really well!