“A good half of the art of living is resilience.” ~ Alain de Botton.
As companies embark on another tough year ahead in 2013, and a climate of ongoing uncertainty, they are increasingly placing ‘resilience’ as one of the most important qualities they are looking for in their people. But, how do you recognise resilience in people, and how do you help people develop it further?
GlaxoSmithKline have defined ‘resilience’ as: “the ability to succeed personally and professionally in the midst of a high pressured, fast moving and continuously changing environment”.
Traditional views are reflected in the language often used to describe resilient behaviour:
“Bouncing back after being knocked down”
“Taking the blows and coming back for more”
“Living to fight another day”
These expressions are adversarial and have their roots in war-like and conflict-driven situations. It is arguable that a mind-set of resilience, steeped in this language, is likely to generate more friction than collaboration.
What would it feel like to be resilient ’in the moment’? Not walk away to ‘re-group’ and then come back re-charged and ready for the fight. Not retreat in order to re-think your strategy and make sure you win the argument the next time.
But instead, there and then, you were to demonstrate emotional resilience, to really hear what was being said?
What if you could ‘flip’ the situation, get behind what was being said, and assess the dynamics objectively and not react?
What if you could show genuine curiosity in what’s happening, to hang around long enough to ask questions, to listen deeply, and to hear people out?
What might happen once they have been heard? What different level of engagement might then be possible?
As a leader, would you ever tell your people they are “Already enough”? What would stop you saying that? Have you ever said to yourself, “I am enough”?
with thanks to: Hugh at gapingvoid.com
Doesn’t it amount to an admission of defeat? Isn’t it saying I can’t get any better? Where is the ambition in the word “enough”? It is surely the antithesis of everything we aspire to. To keep improving, to become more effective, to control, to perfect. To be perfect.
But, think again. We are a society riddled with uncertainty. As a result we battle against that uncertainty and it comes out as anger, as fear, and with bitterness. The more scared we get, the more certain we become in our beliefs. The angrier we get, because others just don’t get it, the more it results in increased frustration and fear. A vicious cycle of fear, anger and increasing uncertainty.The struggle to attain is driven by ever rising expectations. Expectations from where? From parents, from peers, from ourselves? The pressure to be the best you can be, to maximise your potential. They are well-meaning expressions, I find myself using them as self-motivators, what harm can they do? The trouble is, they don’t come with an instruction manual. No-one ever knows Continue reading →
Pablo Sarasate (violin virtuoso) stated “A genius! For 37 years I’ve practiced 14 hours a day, and now they call me a genius” (cited in Simonton, 1999) *.
Last week I wrote a post called ‘Stroke of Genius’ and it attracted a pretty high level of interest. Clearly a popular topic. And many comments I received were along similar lines, mentioning that identifying talent in the first place is often the most difficult challenge faced. I figured that I owed it to myself and readers to address this area in today’s post.
Well, right up front, we need to think about recruitment.
Do you know what you are looking for in the first place?
This is not as simple a question as it might first appear. For example, if you are a company, can you answer the following questions?
What does the company look like today, and what will it look like in two, three, or four years time?
What is the company’s medium to long term strategy?
What sort of people will it need to succeed in that strategy? Same as today or very different talent?
What sort of roles will be most critical in the future? And how much market demand will there be for those people?
What aptitudes will it take to operate in these future positions?
Are the people who are making recruitment decisions and identifying talent sufficiently aware of the future strategic plans for the business? Or are they blindly cultivating talent based on a model of today’s business? Continue reading →
I was intrigued by an article I read this week on 5 Reasons Your Top Employee Isn’t Happy. It got me thinking about how we manage talent. And maybe there lies the problem – in that very word ‘manage’. Talent is a precious thing, but should it be given ‘maverick status’ or does it need to be controlled? Well, I guess the answer might well vary depending on the culture of the company, what period in the company’s development you are at, or what sort of leader you are?
I immediately thought about the football team analogy. I have played and watched football over more years than I care to remember, and the recurring debate about how teams should accommodate rare talent just never goes away. What I have seen, is that teams who are riding on the crest of a wave, winning everything in sight, and blowing the opposition away, can often afford the ‘luxury’ of the occasional ‘maverick’ or ‘outlier’. Often described as a genius, these players entertain the crowds and keep the sports (and sometimes front-page) writers happy.
But, when the going gets tough, everyone is expected to put in a shift. Sulking on the wings with your hands on hips, complaining about not getting good service, doesn’t go down well – not with the crowd (or shareholders), team mates (or work colleagues) or coach (boss).
It’s a big issue for companies too. When someone is bestowed the title talent (or genius) – what is expected of them and of others? Continue reading →