Commentary & Analysis
Resilience and Perseverance in this Time of Change
Resilience and perseverance are crucial behavioral competencies when individuals and organizations must overcome significant obstacles. The capacity to be flexible as well as demonstrate the range of responses to adversity will dramatically impact our level of future success. One of senior management’s responsibilities is to ensure that during these transitional times we surround ourselves with the people that approach these challenges with the most appropriate behavioral competencies.
By Jerry Scher
Published: August 30, 2013
During this extreme transitional period within the graphic communication industry we have been observing a multitude of strategies and approaches employed by companies of all sizes. While some are embracing the technological advances and their impact, others are hoping that their businesses will return to the “old” normal. And whether you redefine your business model or attempt to get better at what you have always done, you can be certain that you will have to face significant challenges in the months and years ahead.
In a recent article by Rosabeth Moss Kanter (Surprises Are the New Normal; Resilience Is the New Skill – Harvard Business Review) the author discusses the importance of resilience on the part of business leaders in these challenging times. She goes on to emphasize the importance of learning from your errors, taking initiative and responsibility for your future and collaborating with those around you. I think we can agree that how you respond and handle setbacks and challenges will certainly be a determining factor in how your business will survive and thrive. And considering all the changes taking place, the following quotes address these challenges:
“It’s not the strongest of the species that survive, not the most intelligent but the one most responsive to change” – Darwin
“Sometimes we stare so long at a door that is closing that we see too late the one that is opening” – Alexander Graham Bell
Resilience is defined as “An ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change” and Perseverance is defined as “The continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition.”
Think back to when you first started your business; my guess is that while those entrepreneurial juices were really flowing, you certainly had to overcome significant obstacles. You not only took risks but you really believed in your mission and undoubtedly had that “fire in the belly” attitude. Do you still have the passion? Do you and your associates have the ability and desire to bounce back and re-create your future? Your capacity to leverage your knowledge and past experience along with the hunger for continuous learning is certainly being tested.
As business executives we are responsible for developing an appropriate strategy, providing the much needed human capital, making available the financial resources and ensuring that our team executes effectively. This requires that you and your current and future team members have the knowledge, skill and behavioral competencies required to execute your plan. And that includes the resilience and perseverance essential to managing and executing change.
Validated research has identified numerous traits that enable us to predict an individual’s resilience and perseverance as well as identifying areas where they require coaching and development. Considering that a great strategy requires great execution, it is crucial that you surround yourself with the most talented employees. And if you agree that resilience and perseverance are essential traits for your managers, allow us to share some of the research in that area.
Harrison Assessments™ technology, a world renowned and highly validated assessment tool, enables us to measure a wide range of traits and work preferences. It can predict future performance as it relates to resilience and perseverance. Traits included are:
Wants Challenge – Willingness to attempt difficult task and goals
Persistent – Tendency to be tenacious despite encountering significant obstacles
Self-Improvement – Tendency to attempt to develop or better oneself
Optimistic – Tendency to believe the future will be positive
Authoritative – Desire for decision-making authority and the willingness to accept decision-making responsibility
Pressure Tolerance – Level of comfort related to working under deadlines and busy schedules
Frank – Tendency to be straightforward, direct, to the point and forthright
Tempo – Enjoyment of work that needs to be done quickly
Assertive – Tendency to put forward personal wants and needs
Flexible – Tendency to adapt to change
Open-Reflective – Tendency to reflect on many different viewpoints
So how do you think you and/or your management team would measure up against these criteria? Would this information be of value as you determine your business plan and who should play what role in its execution? Consider the challenges you are currently confronting and how you decide who to assign to those business development projects. Do you have a validated process in place when selecting the people you can count on to execute your new projects? And what if you have to recruit from outside to find the best talent; are you confident that your selection process enables you to identify the most suitable candidates.