Why Resilience Matters?
The World Today: VUCA
These are “VUCA times”: an era typified by Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. VUCA is more than a popular buzz word. It’s a significant part of reality in today’s corporate world and our daily lives. Vuca also happens to mean “to wake up” in Zulu and our current reality makes it vital for us “to wake up” to learning, strategies, tools, and wisdom in addition to innovative approaches. It pushes us to be resilient as individuals, organizations, and communities. The only way to thrive under such circumstances is to build and bolster our proficiency to sail the rapid waves of change and to transform challenges into opportunities. And resilience is a powerful key in all this and is also the catalyst to better work, success, and lives.
Resilience in VUCA Times
Instead of VUCA elements leading to issues and losses, they can inform decision-making and responsiveness. But this only happens with a mind-set defined by resilience. Resilience has roots in the Latin resilio – to bounce. Pliny the Elder and other brilliant minds in the ancient world used it to mean rebounding, leaping, or jumping. Today resilience is used in many fields from science to psychology and many definitions abound. Researchers Togage and Fredrickson define it as the capability to recover from negative emotional experiences and flexibly adapting to ever-changing stresses. Dr. Seligman, the father of positive psychology, defines it as “the ability to bounce back from adversity and to grow from challenges.” Ecologist C. S. “Buzz” Holling considers resilience linked to the ability to absorb change and continue developing in the face of disturbances and changing conditions. All these definitions imply that resilience also involves anticipating, innovating, learning, and moving ahead. It signifies being open to different paths, tools, and techniques for development. And this is why resilience entails transformability, persistence, and adaptability.
'RESPOND TO MARKET CHANGES WHILE inspiring innovative market approaches and a thriving corporate culture.'
When leaders at your company know how to use resilience to transform the challenges inherent in VUCA times, your organization can better create agile processes and systems that effectively respond to market changes while inspiring innovative market approaches and a thriving corporate culture.
When you, as a professional, know how to tap into resilience amidst the pressures of VUCA times, you can remain calm and look at the situation as a challenge rather than a crisis or problem. This hardwires your brain to identify viable options for action and keeps you focused on achieving your goals and more. You will feel energized rather than depleted during VUCA times.
This all means that success today is ultimately sparked by people. In Talent Wins, a book by Dominic Barton (global managing partner of McKinsey & Co), Ram Charan (business author), and Dennis Carey (vice chairman of Korn Ferry), it is stressed that companies should identify, hire, and nurture talent to thrive. In an interview for Quartz At Work, Barton stated that “There’s a lot of capital looking for ideas and opportunity, and it’s talent that’s the scare part, and that’s a phenomenon of our times right now. […] organizations that are able to identify the critical 2% of the organization, the people that generate most of the value, are the ones that are going to see extraordinary returns. […] The 2% can’t do extraordinary things without the 98%. That’s why the engagement of the 98% of the organization has to be high.” But finding that vital 2% requires more than standard selection criteria according to Barton: “hard skills, like, can someone do a financial plan, can they develop a marketing plan, do they know how to take costs out of an organization; you can see that pretty clearly. It’s harder when you start to test things like resilience, purpose, drive, and what one CEO I was talking to recently called ‘the tenacity quotient.’” And yet it is resilience that is a key component across this game-changing 2%.
"THE 2% CAN’T DO EXTRAORDINARY THINGS WITHOUT THE 98%. THAT’S WHY THE ENGAGEMENT OF THE 98% OF THE ORGANIZATION HAS TO BE HIGH.”
The Neuroscience Link to Resilience
With the right professional executive coaching and consulting support, resilience can be built and its power heightened. Neuroscience shows us that our brains have a network of around 100 billion neurons and that the connections between these neurons get stronger or weaker based on stimulation. This phenomenon is neuroplasticity and it means that any talent or skill can thrive through techniques that hone them. Rudiger Gamm is living proof of this. By implementing strategies and real perseverance, he transformed himself from someone who failed basic maths into a famous “human calculator”. Resilience is no different and the neural connections can be strengthened.
About the Author
As Executive Director of Resilience & Co FZE, Nada El Marji is responsible for setting the company’s overall strategic directions, including planning and defining the strategy, development, and evolution of R&CO’s portfolio of services and programs.
She has more than 20 years of global experience in various industries and technologies.
Given her life and professional experience, she’s particularly passionate about building the resilience of individuals, organizations and communities, enabling them to thrive and not just to survive during VUCA times.
Ms El Marji holds an MBA degree from Leicester University in the UK, she's also a Certified Leadership Coach, Certified Systemic Team Coach and Associate Certified Coach (ACC) by the International Coach Federation (ICF).