Principles 1-3 of Leading The Resilient Organisation

By Jenny Campbell|April 22, 2018|Leading the Resilient Organisation|

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Organisational resilience is your capacity for change.

The Resilience Engine approach is based on our ten years of leading research and practice in the field. It is real-world, practical, inspiring and scalable. We have ten principles for enabling resilience, the capacity for change, in your organisation. This article gives a summary of the first three principles:

Principle 1: From tricky to straightforward.
Principle 2: Build resilience habits
Principle 3: Balance privacy and socialisation

If you are frustrated by the pace of change in your organisation, have you considered resilience in relation to your culture? Does the organisation enable adaptability at all levels? Or do you have folk in the organisation with their heads stuck in the day-to-day and you are therefore not getting a clear perspective?

Organisational resilience is your capacity for change.  Without a resilience culture, you will not adapt well. Principles 1-3 of the Resilience Engine are all about enabling this resilience culture. Talk about it. Make it transparent. Make it the norm. Make it your habit.


Principle 1: From tricky to straightforward.

Make resilience a part of day to day conversations. Best practice shows that resilience is fostered in teams so ensure it’s part of every team’s standing agenda.

To do that you need to make it ok to talk about. But in many organisations, resilience is an icky subject. People, especially managers, assume that if people aren’t coping it must all be personal and difficult.

The Resilience Engine research shows that one of the most common ways in which people drain their resilience and therefore fall back from high resilience to coping, is they take on too much, get overwhelmed and then end up on the hamster wheel. The reasons aren’t about deep emotional issues at all; they are about pacing, energy and perspective. All addressable in practical and easy ways.

The next most common reason is that people lose the connection to the ‘why’ of the organisation. Meaning. That’s a leadership issue – not complex to help people connect to, but taken for granted in the hustle and bustle of routine. Meaning : talk it, walk it, share it, inspire it.

Reflective Questions
    1. What can you change to lift people’s head out of their day to day and address the issues of pacing, energy and perspective?
    2. What are you doing to make alive the ‘why’ of the organisation?


Principle 2: Build Resilience Habits

Resilience is a practice. It doesn’t increase on the basis of a single event or intervention. Instead, a steady, bite-sized way of connecting with the ideas and concepts of resilience builds real resilience habits that stick.

Being resourceful like this needs investment in your resilience day to day. The first set of resilience habits, and the most fundamental, rely on core enablers. These are like muscles – you’ve got to spot and connect with them, you have to learn to activate them, then develop them, and to keep their elasticity and strength, keep it up. Otherwise they can go flabby pretty quickly.

All of that means habits, not one tick in the box.

Reflective Questions
   3. What are you doing to build resilience habits in your organisation?


Principle 3: Balance Privacy and Socialisation

The organisation needs to address both in any resilience support and development. You need to hold people to account for them taking responsibility for themselves. And you need to normalise resilience.

People need the privacy to get the time and space to see for real what is really going on for themselves. Online learning is useful for this:  people get to choose where and when they look at resilience ideas and how they connect to it, giving them the space to honestly respond. And that builds understanding and change.

People also need to know that others are in the same boat – it’s a relief, it’s a help, they get ideas of what others have found useful.

And the organisation needs to foster resilience assets – people, teams yes – but also organisational processes and values. This happens in teams. So teams become the home for resilience, and it needs to be normal to talk about it.

Getting the right balance for resilience between privacy and socialisation is critical for supporting and extending the resilience of your organisation. You need resilience for change. And that’s one of the real imperatives of performance.

Reflective Questions
    4. Are teams in your organisation encouraged to foster resilience?
    5. Are you in your team talking about your team’s resilience? Your organisation’s resilience?
    6. Are you giving people time and space to consider what they can do for their resilience day to day?



To find out more about how the Resilience Engine can help you create a resilience culture, email


Author: Jenny Campbell, CEO of The Resilience Engine


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