Beyond tomorrow!

We want to talk to you about Resilience. But not right now.

Right now you are getting your head round this rapidly unfolding virus situation. You are fast discovering how resilient your organisation, teams, colleagues, and yourself are. You are discovering the resilient qualities of your families, communities, and wider society.

Soon you will need to think beyond tomorrow. Increasingly so as the situation begins to turn and head towards some sort of “new normal”. Because this moment WILL pass.

"And it is not just acute shock you will need to build resilience for but also the chronic, engagement-sapping ways of working you may have increasingly allowed to take root in your organisation over many years. This hiatus is an opportunity!"

How will you build better resilience into your world going forward?

First, let’s agree a definition of Resilience. For us it is “bounce-back-ability” rather than some notion of heroic, unbending, toughness.

Here are some simple models and high level commentary to prod your thinking. Not in anyway comprehensive. Just a prod. Think of these as lenses through which to look at interlocking organisational, team, and individual levels. We are not including family, community, and society here, massively important as they are.


We all have blind spots and preferences, and a simple model such as the McKinsey 7S invites you to pay attention to the interconnected elements that make up an organisational system. Where are you strong, where are you weak, what have you forgotten about?

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Most of these “S” are self explanatory, except perhaps for Style. Think of this as including behaviours, leadership, and brand. Note that when the system is out of balance or alignment that the pressure is often felt by the Staff at the “bottom” of the model. Staff “issues” can therefore be symptoms that need wider investigation. The answer isn’t always leadership or a bit of transactional HR.

Incidentally this is why loads of blogs, books, and apps about personal resilience won’t give you a resilient organisation, resilient teams, or even resilient individuals! If, as a leader, you don’t take a systems view of Resilience you are on a hiding to nothing!

For more on McKinsey 7S see here


Two models here.

First is a 2 x 2 derived from the IOD’s Governance Model. Many leaders we consult and coach discover they are spending too much of their time over-managing in the bottom left quadrant, and not enough time imagining a future, shaping it, engaging stakeholders, and building the capability to make it real. They are mostly managing and not really leading.

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The second model is derived from Patrick Lencioni’s “Five Dysfunctions of a Team”. You need to read the model from the bottom upwards. If there isn’t enough trust in the room your team won’t be able to get to grips with tough topics, be challengingly creative, and commit to difficult decisions. A disengaged, topic-dodging team is no good, particularly when facing chronic situations.

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Three models here.

Karen Reivich highlights 7 learnable skills and attributes that will help build individual resilience. Development in just a few of these will make a difference. The task is not necessarily to be skilled in all seven areas, but why not go for as many as you can!?

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Carol Dweck’s “Growth Mindset” echoes a number of Karen Reivich’s 7 Learnable Resilience skills/attributes. Coaching can help people with “fixed mindsets” develop more of a growth outlook and cope with acute and chronic challenges more effectively.

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Finally, this simple “PAD” model is derived from the struggles and ultimate Olympic achievements of Ben Hunt-Davis and the GB rowing 8s. It is a self-explanatory way of turning shit into gold!

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So what? Now what?

There you are. A quick thinking prod using some quite well known models. You will have your favourites that work well for you. Share them.

"To reiterate what we said at the start, individual resilience is super-important but it is a leadership cop-out if you aren’t designing resilience into your organisational system and how your teams work together."
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Get in touch when things are turning round for you. We will help you make sense of your recent experience and help you build better Resilience into your business.

Dave Stewart

Founder & Managing Director

The Fresh Air Leadership Company

+44 7776 153428

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