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On the Brink with Andi Simon

Apr 6, 2018

Listen now to my podcast about how resilience turns bad situations into great opportunities!

As you know, at SAMC we are anthropologists and we work with organizations that need or want to change. I do these Ask Andi sessions because I think the questions people ask are so valuable to others and well worth sharing. I love your questions, keep sending them! This one is about resilience. How do you become resilient?, someone wants to know. Tune in and I'll tell you.

Changes—and problems—are coming fast and furious.

You're supposed to be working on your business, not in your business, but does it seem lately that things keep running off the rails? What are the problems? Well, take your pick. A recent client of ours lost a bid that he thought would start the year off with a profit. Another lost a key employee who went to a competitor. A third saw last year's sales come in much lower than he'd expected. And a fourth is mad that people are using new delivery channels to get their solutions and he's not ready to adjust to the new reality. And I won't even go into the e-commerce issues, where retailers are struggling to figure out how to bring more folks into their stores.

Without a doubt, business is going through fast-changing times. What are you going to do? Moan, become depressed, stop doing business? Your staff is probably walking around feeling angry and frustrated. How are you going to respond? How can you feel the situation differently? How can you keep your staff feeling upbeat and more positive? In short, how can you and everyone in your company become more resilient?

You need to build resilience.

The question is, how do you do it? My recommendation is not to wait until you need to. You can become resilient at the moment that you need it the most. Here are some ideas.

I bet you have regular meetings—sales meetings, strategy meetings, project management meetings, team-building meetings—to talk about what's going on, what's working well, what's not, what you need to work on. But do you ever talk about how you'll handle something really bad? Maybe this is a good time to think about adding resilience to the agenda of those meetings.

You probably have some kind of ritual when things go well. What's the ritual when they don't? Maybe you turn every meeting into a discussion about how you and your organization are going to deal with a challenge, and how you are going to value resilience...use it to build positive support for those who are having difficulties. Maybe this is a great time for mentoring and coaching. 

Remember, you can't fake it.

You cannot pretend everything's going to be okay. This comes through really fast, and your folks will just lose trust in you. They won't believe that what you say is what you believe. When something is painful, you need to address it. And when you talk about it in team sessions and analyze what you'll do to address it, you turn lemons into lemonade. 

Resilience is the mark of a good leader, maybe even a great one.

What is it that makes a great leader? The ability to build resilience in a team when things are not happening the way they should, inspiring them to reach higher. To think about what could be, not what was. This is the strength and the positive attitudes that leaders bring to the situation. A manager will just manage the problem, but a leader will create that inspirational feeling. 

If you can be resilient and lead by example, your folks will follow as well. And what you'll find is that the small problem never becomes a big one. And the big one turns into an opportunity. And all those lemons become lemonade.

So I hope you become more resilient. And I hope you send me your notes about how a little preparation and thinking about resilience as a pathway might turn those bad situations that seem to be falling apart into good opportunities that could really thrive. You're on a path somewhere. Go enjoy it. 

In this Ask Andi episode, I talk about:

  • Responding to business problems with strength and resilience
  • Building resilience into your business’s culture
  • Creating a ritual for times when things don’t go as planned
  • How resilience in leaders creates a stronger team
  • Turning problems into opportunities

Resources mentioned in this episode: