By Jim Hornickel, Director, Training & Development, Bold New Directions
Every human being and, therefore, every company team member from CEO to line staff has personal strengths and weaknesses. Each individual’s multi-leveled contributions are directly impacted positively or negatively by the degree to which they are thriving (resilient) or not. And that individual and collective state of thriving results in higher or lower morale, increased or decreased productivity, and a healthier or unhealthy fiscal bottom line. Therefore… Resilience = Morale = Productivity = Profitability.
Resilience is at the very foundation of an organization’s success. So what is resilience? Merriam Webster defines it as “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.” The critical word here is “easily.” The “why” behind training people to greater resilience is to increase the ease (and speed) with which team members at all levels deal with and move beyond stress factors.
In a moment, we’ll discover how greater resilience helps one bounce back more quickly and easily from the demands of professional and personal life. But as a former manager-leader of more than 500 people for 25 years, and as a professional trainer and coach, I also need to make an additional argument in support of resilience training. Most of the hundreds of organizations I’ve been privileged to work within or in support of place the greatest training focus first on hard and then, perhaps, soft skills. What I wish I knew more clearly back in my management years is that if the team members are not strong in all ways… mind, body, and spirit, their hard skills will not be fully fueled; their performance will suffer.
The challenge is to change the business training model. In this era, ever more scientific evidence supports the fact that to be fully effective, employees need greater soft skills to complement and enhance their hard skills. Again, becoming more resilient is the soft skill at the very foundation of all other work activity.
Before we discover some specific areas that can be used in training to produce greater resilience, a last point of clarification needs to be made. We agree that work life and personal life need to have some separation. It is not an organization’s responsibility to manage a team member’s life outside the work place. But it is true that an employee’s personal life impacts how he or she performs at work. The benefit of training employees on how to be more resilient is that it addresses the person’s mental, emotional, physical, and even spiritual state. An individual who is unhealthy in any of these life realms surely will bring that unhealthiness to work. The saying, “What we do anywhere, we do everywhere,” informs us that taking the entire person into training consideration will produce a more whole, healthy, and, therefore, productive employee.
While growing resilience is a complex subject, at Bold New Directions in Learning, we have partnered over the years with Harvard Medical School’s Mind-Body Institute to find the most powerful gateways for training. After using a preprogram assessment, the following seven pillars encompassed in the acronym S.U.P.P.O.R.T. serve well to introduce and grow key areas contributing to the ability to thrive: Stress Hardiness, Understanding, Purpose & Meaning, Perseverance, Optimism, Resourcefulness, and Team. The post-program assessment confirms the learning achieved.
Let’s see how each of the seven pillars work.
In summary, in order for an organization to significantly surpass its current level of success, every individual at every level within the organization must be able to focus more of their entire self into the effort. Hard skills, therefore, must be deeply supported by soft skills. And the foundational set of soft skills to fuel every organizational activity, task, and goal is embodied in engaging, interactive, and transformational resilience training.
Resilience specialist Jim Hornickel is the director of Training & Development at Bold New Directions. Along with Bold New Directions in Learning Co-Founder Suzanne Guthrie, he has partnered with Harvard Business School’s Mind-Body Institute to strengthen their Resilience At Work and Thriving in Times of Change transformational training workshops delivered worldwide. Hornickel’s professional experience includes 25 years as a manager-leader in several industries; life, leadership, and relationship coaching; and authoring “Managing From The Inside Out (16 Insights For Building Positive Relationships With Staff)”; www.managingfromtheinsideout.com and www.Amazon.com. For more information, visit www.resiliencetraininginstitute.com/home/ and http://www.boldnewdirections.com