Resilience Development Company Blog

Ideas, thoughts and opinions on team energy, management, leadership, change and resilience.

We are a consultancy specialising in building resilient people and engaged teams.

All of our programmes are designed to give people the ability to keep moving forward towards their goals despite the adversity they will face.

We believe that with the right coaching, training and support every team has the capability to be engaged, resilient, brilliant and a great place to work.

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If you would like to learn how, please get in touch.

If you would like to learn how, please get in touch.

It’s strange that we focus on our weaknesses and find looking to our strengths a little awkward. With modern life we only have a small amount of energy and time to devote to developing ourselves so why not focus on our strengths. When you focus on your strengths rather than your weaknesses it’s an entirely different conversation.

We all ruminate. What do you ruminate about and how do you stop? We’d love to hear from you!

Everyone has a resilience story to tell and here is one we think you should watch. IF you have a resilience story to tell we would love to here it.

Writer Andrew Solomon has spent his career telling stories of the hardships of others. Now he turns inward, bringing us into a childhood of adversity, while also spinning tales of the courageous people he’s met in the years since. In a moving, heartfelt and at times downright funny talk, Solomon gives a powerful call to action to forge meaning from our biggest struggles.

We meet a lot of people in organisations who are financially invested but not emotionally invested. We spend so much time at work we say something has to change. #resiliencematters

To me resilience means the ability to keep moving towards our goals in spite of the inevitable adversity that we all face in life. And here’s one thing I love about resilience - because it is an ability, you can learn it and practice it - just like any other skill.

Do you know anyone who was hugely successful who got there at the first attempt and lived happily ever after?

I’m willing to bet the answer is no. If I’m honest with myself, throughout my life I’ve faced rejection, failure, disappointment and setbacks. Many times I’ve taken one step forward and three steps back. That’s true whether I think back to growing up in a tough environment, learning to play an instrument, being a parent, building a career in finance or then becoming an entrepreneur.

Somehow, I managed to move forward, achieve my goals and develop in spite of adversity. I now know that I learned the hard way:

  • to regulate my emotions so they didn’t get the better of me.
  • learn from my mistakes,
  • develop the energy and ideas to move forward,
  • improve my ability to connect and work with others and;
  • persist until I succeeded.

Put simply, without realising it, I developed the core skills of resilience. I have mental toughness, mental agility, emotional intelligence and a core set of change and relationship building skills that are far from soft and fluffy. I know whatever life throws at me I have the resources to think accurately, keep moving towards my goals and that gives me confidence. If you dig down deep and I really mean really dig down, can you say that? I hope you can but many people I meet open up and tell me they can’t and it’s something I wouldn’t have been able to say 24 months ago.

There’s another key reason why I think we should focus on developing resilience in our communities, leaders and workplace and here it is. In a single generation we’ve upgraded our technology, changed the way we live, the way we work and the way we interact but our brains haven’t changed.

Consider that statement just at an individual level. My father doesn’t need resilience training. He’s lived in the same house pretty much all of his life, confidently performed the same job since leaving school, has a large social network consisting of people that he’s known for years and gets his news from the newspaper.

In comparison I have worked in different time zones, moved house and location several times, changed roles frequently as part of my career development and get my news 24/7 through whatever media I choose. I’ve also held multiple roles at the same times such as leader, subordinate, team member, committee member, board member, project lead, subject matter expert, husband, father etc etc….you get the picture. Importantly, mention a 2 hour commute either way to my father and he’d say you were bonkers!

Now let’s look at it from a system level.

Job stretch

Only one generation ago it used to be that you would work your way up from the bottom through the various layers of management. Many of those layers have disappeared as organisations have flattened structures and removed layers. The jump from one level to the next is now greater than it’s ever been and when you arrive there it’s pretty much sink or swim. Your peers are too busy to help you find your feet and are focusing on hitting the numbers, unable to baby-sit the new kid on the block.

Time stretch & Time shrink

“Working 9 til 5” by Dolly Parton was released in 1980 and that’s about where it belongs these days. The 35-hour week may be a reality in some areas but the norm is much more and it doesn’t end on Friday’s either. Though our working weeks are longer, leaders are expected to produce more with less and it’s now acceptable for work to impede on both holidays and family time. Research by the Institute of leadership & Management shows that 41% of managers lose up to a week of their paid holiday, while others continue to work from their laptops and devices during leave days.

The world is getting smaller.

Modern leaders work in organisations that trade all over the world. We say to ourselves that the world is getting smaller but in fact it is much harder managing or being managed across multiple time zones, geography and culture by people who you don’t actually physically see.

The world may be getting smaller but it’s also getting lonelier.

Familiar with the saying it’s lonely at the top? With fragmented support structures and more people living alone than ever before it’s now even lonelier. Few of the people I worked with in the City of London actually lived or were born there. The commute home was long and their extended family, school and university friends all lived miles away once they’d got home.

New Pressures

A modern world brings very modern challenges. New levels of governance, regulation, political correctness, corporate social responsibility in the work place. A sense of entitlement, “you can have it all and you can have it now “culture on our TVs and magazines where we watch celebrities and move with the next trend in our personal lives.

So here’s the point and it’s a very simple one.

We are now, more than ever, expected to cognitively process more than ever before and there is no going back. We’ve upgraded our technology, changed the way we live, the way we work and the way we interact but our brains haven’t changed.

Resilience Training tackles the demand on our brains.

Resilience training from The Resilience Development Company focuses on two parts that work together for resilience.

  1. Psychological Wellbeing - A basic understanding of how your brain works so that you have all the knowledge and skills to remain psychologically healthy in the world described above. It’s about ensuring that you are able to think accurately in all situations regardless of the pressures you face.
  2. Behaviours to move forward. – Tools and techniques that enable you to create multiple pathways to move forward, solve problems and create new ideas by yourself and with others. To develop the personal energy to move forward, whilst remaining psychologically healthy.

I’ll end where I started.

To me resilience means the ability to keep moving towards our goals in spite of the inevitable adversity that we all face in life. Because it’s ability it can be developed like any other skill. It’s my view that everyone should be taught resilience skills in schools. It’s my view that the workplace would be much more engaging if everyone from leader to team member had skills to be resilient. It’s my view that it’s a solution to a problem that is only going to get worse if we don’t do something today. It’s my view that if you want to improve your game you should train your brain or it might just be GAME OVER.

5 SIGNS OF A WORKPLACE CULTURE OF FEAR

Working in a learning and development company I get to work with all-sorts of organisations and people. It’s one of the aspects of the job I really enjoy and although the work that organisations do may differ, in the end the people challenges tend to be very similar. 

If there is one stand out theme that I’ve noticed it’s this – there’s lot of fear in organisations. Fear of the next re-structure, fear of suggesting a new idea, fear of performance ratings, fear of looking foolish in front of your peers or team, fear of getting it wrong – the list goes on.

Here are 5 signs that might indicate a culture of fear in your organisation.

  1. E-mails are used to cover people’s back. For example, e-mails that don’t need to be sent in the first place or are sent copying in their own line manager or other senior people.
  2. Performance management focuses on the “what” rather than the how. The sole focus is on results rather than balancing that with how they are achieved. Values and behaviours on the wall and screen-savers are just that – on the wall. Hitting the numbers is everything.
  3. Information is power and is held until the last minute or within the team. It’s not openly shared within the organisation and wastes both valuable time and resource.
  4. Pre-meetings about meetings are rife. Presentations, business cases and updates are so carefully managed by line management that when the message does eventually arrive at the top it’s a version of what the senior leader wants to hear rather than what they should hear.
  5. Negotiations are based on position rather interest. The parties each commit to a position early in the process and think only of their own wants and needs. It is an adversarial method of bargaining and pits the parties against one another. There is little focus on future relationships.

THE HIGH PRICE OF A FEAR BASED CULTURE

At an individual level, working in a culture of fear is not good for the team. It creates stress and that impacts attendance if left unattended.

At an organisational level, fear in your environment will mean your people will avoid risk. Instead they will look to repeat what’s worked for them in the past, take the safe option and not rock the boat. As Ed Catmull of Pixar said, “ their work will be derivative, not innovative”.

Here’s the paradox. Most organisations would like to see innovation and/or growth through change yet allow fear to exist within their culture.

 Bottom line - If you really are looking for change and innovation to take your business forward, you have to create a positive culture that is accepting of failure. As a leader, you need to be alert to the five signs I’ve highlighted and take action to remove it from your team. It will take time and effort although the reward for your effort could be a real game changer for you and the people around you.

fastcompany:

From a zen garden to a pet rabbit, at first, no silly luxury was spared for a co-working space set up by two Dutch designers. But soon, things started suspiciously changing, until the office was something out of 1984.

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We’re putting all of these to work in our next client meeting! 

Number 3, Carrot, Triangle, Blue, Number 7

If you are a regular reader of my posts (and I hope you are) you will know that I help people improve relationships with each other to get better results. This often requires 1:1 sessions with the team leader to help them think through what contribution they are making to the team dynamics. I’ve found asking the leader of the team 4 key questions brings light-bulb moments, inspiration and direction and I’d like to share them with you. Let’s begin with:

1.   What do you think a great leader looks like?

I find most leaders can answer this pretty quickly. I generally hear something like decision maker, problem solver, motivator, keen, savvy, leads by example or words to that effect and I’m ok with that. I’ve led many teams of different shapes and sizes and that’s part of the challenge that leaders face – there’s no one definition of it. Second question:

 2.  What do you think your team thinks a great leader looks like?

Again most leaders begin answering this question pretty quickly and use the words above and then they stop. Many realise they don’t know the answer. The leader is so caught up with what they think they ought to be that they are not asking their people what they should be. This is so important I’ll say it again. The leader is so caught up with what they think they ought to be that they are not asking their people what they should be.

 I really feel for them as they visibly slump when they realise this. These are people who really want to be the best leader they can be and they’ve just forgotten what that means. It’s common and easy to do so, we need another question to take it back up again and remind them what they stand for. Here it is:

3.  WHAT do you want to be remembered for around here and what would you NOT want to be remembered for?

This question encourages them as leaders to think about what really matters to them. What do they stand for? What would their lasting legacy as a leader be? Again, people tend to be able to answer these questions pretty quickly and clearly and they should be able to. In essence, I’m asking them what their values are. Next question.

4.  So we know what you want to be remembered for, WHO do you really want to be remembered by?

Pause. Cogs whirring. Light-bulb moment. Answer – “the team.” Then it hits them. They’ve been spending the majority of time getting bogged down by management and tasks rather than leadership. They realise that a key to being an authentic leader is in the eyes of the team they are leading not in managing upwards, administration and management tasks.

 So let’s put this all together using me as an example:

My name is David Ogilvie and my real strengths as a leader are that I am curious, creative, forgiving, have perspective and give time and energy to everyone on the team. My team thinks the same and I know this because they tell me so when I create opportunities to ask.  I want to be remembered for bringing the best out in people and helping them move forward in their careers and life rather than being technically smart or commercially savvy. I can be and I know that’s required of me in my position, but I’m proud to say that I know the challenges and hopes that every individual in my immediate team face. This is what I stand for.

Here’s where the fifth question, the four coins and shank’s pony comes in.

Insight combined with action is a game changer so I ask the leader to put 4 coins in their right pocket every morning.  I then challenge them to make a small amount of time every day to chat to at least four of their team and ask them the fifth question, “Do you have everything you need to be fulfilled in this job?” I warn them to be prepared for the answer and just listen. This is a very powerful question and if you’ve not been asking it you may be shocked by the answers you get. Every time they do this they should move a coin to the other pocket and the aim is to move all of those coins from one pocket to the other by the end of the day.  It’s that simple.

Couple of final points:

  • You can ask the fifth question anytime but the real power & motivation to do it lies in asking yourself the first 4 questions.
  • You are probably wondering what the Shanks’s pony has got to do with it? That’s slang for walking under your own steam i.e. your legs. Getting up from your desk and talking to your team is the simplest and most powerful thing you can do as a leader. The trick for many leaders is having something to talk about.

 So there you have it, 5 questions, 4 coins and Shanks’s pony can make you a better leader today. Try it and let me know how you got on.

 Thanks for taking the time out to read this post and I hope it resonated with you in some way. I would love to hear from you if you’d like to share your insights and lessons with me.

You are also welcome to connect with me on LinkedIn, Twitter @Resiliencedevco or find me at www.resdev.je.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Ogilvie is an experienced coach and consultant specialising in helping leaders, teams and organisations unlock the power of their people. With a 20-year career managing large teams he knows what makes people tick. He’s a Fellow of The Chartered Management Institute, holds the highest academic qualification of the Institute of Directors and was a shortlisted finalist for the IOD Director of The Year Awards in 2014 in recognition of his ability to transform teams. His personal mantra is people deliver results, period.

We Need To Reframe Our Thinking Traps For Peak Performance

Our minds set up many traps for us. Unless we are aware of them, these traps can seriously hinder our ability to think rationally, leading us to bad decisions and ultimately sub optimal outcomes.

For example, we all jump to conclusions, over generalise, assume we know what the other person is thinking, or engage in “all or nothing thinking.” If we had enough time together I could show you up to 17 of these thinking traps but given that your time is precious I’ll just highlight three in a bit more detail so you really get where I’m coming from:

1. Mind reading: You assume you know what the other person is thinking without having sufficient evidence of their thoughts. For example: “I’m giving this presentation and everyone isn’t listening. They should be nodding their heads.”

2. Over generalising: You see a larger pattern of negatives based on a single instance. For example: “ The meeting this morning was awful. It’s going to be a terrible day today.”

3. Catastrophising: You believe that what has happened or is going to happen will be so unbearable that you won’t be able to stand it. For example “ that’s my career over if I don’t get this presentation right.”

Any of these sound familiar? The trick with all of these thinking traps is to recognise them in your thinking and then analyse the patterns. Do you generally fall into one or more? Is it with certain people? You get the idea.

A 3 Step Strategy To Counteract Them

I’ll share with you a simple strategy to help you create another way of looking at things that in turn helps you be at your best as a leader. It takes practice to do it in real time but it is well worth the effort.

Step 1: Examine your thoughts and conclusions (being mindful and stopping).

Step 2: Question whether your conclusions are realistic (what evidence is there to support my current thinking?).

Step 3: Work on altering your thinking for a more positive outcome through changing negatives into positives, countering, and problem solving.

Now if you are a regular reader of my posts (and I hope you are) you’ll know that I always like to turn theory into practical reality. I may be over stepping the mark here but I thought I’d publish an extract from my wife’s diary as well as mine for the same day to illustrate the point. Here goes:

Her diary:

Tonight I thought my husband was acting weird. We had made plans to eat at a nice restaurant for dinner. I’d been out shopping with my friends all day long so I thought he was a little bit upset at the fact that I was a bit late but he made no comment on it. Conversation wasn’t flowing, so I suggested that we go somewhere quiet so we could talk and although he agreed he didn’t say much. I asked him what was wrong and he said “Nothing” so I asked him if it was my fault that he was upset? He said he wasn’t upset, that it had nothing to do with me and not to worry about it. On the way home I told him I loved him. He smiled a little and kept driving. I can’t explain this behaviour and I don’t know why he didn’t say, “I love you too”. When we got home, I felt as if I had lost him completely, as if he wanted nothing to do with me anymore. He just sat there quietly watching TV. He continued to seem distant and absent. Finally with silence all around us, I decided to go to bed. About 15 minutes later, he came to bed. But I still felt that he was distracted and his thoughts were somewhere else. He fell asleep – I cried. I don’t know what to do. I’m almost sure that his thoughts are with some else. My life is a disaster.

My diary:

Land Rover won’t start…can’t figure out why.

Thanks for taking the time out to read this post and I hope it resonated with you in some way. The diary example above was borrowed from a comedy post I saw elsewhere and no relationships were hurt in the making of this post. I would love to hear from you if you’d like to share your insights and lessons with me.

You are also welcome to connect with me on LinkedIn, Twitter @Resiliencedevco or find me at www.resdev.je.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Ogilvie is an experienced coach and consultant specialising in helping leaders, teams and organisations unlock the power of their people. With a 20-year career managing large teams he knows what makes people tick. He’s a Fellow of The Chartered Management Institute, holds the highest academic qualification of the Institute of Directors and was a shortlisted finalist for the IOD Director of The Year Awards in 2014 in recognition of his ability to transform teams. His personal mantra is people deliver results, period.